Alaris inVoice: functionality
Customer and Provider Database
Single database on customers and traffic providers contains all the required information for establishing interaction with partners and carrying out a number of automated procedures.
Single database content:
- Basic data on contracts with partners, including terms of new rates introduction and invoicing.
- List of service packages provided to a partner. Packages may be individually tailored and may differ in route price threshold values or route quality levels.
- List of VoIP and TDM switches employed in call routing, with their parameters.
- Status and balance of partner accounts with the option of currency selection.
- Contact data on all the partners and their individual settings for alerts on rate changes and invoice dispatch.
Customer access to the system. Contact people within partner companies receive access to the solution web-interface and ability to carry out a number of general operations, for example reviewing their own rate plans, traffic statistics, generated and paid invoices.
A number of vital aspects are addressed in the context of rate management. Those including: processing speed, convenience of data importing from different formats, automatic error check and contract conformance inspection. Rate management operations include rate import, third party targets and offers analysis, rate plan generation.
Rate import. Import process is completely visualized. Data may be uploaded from xls and csv formats, moreover, in cases when excel files contain several sheets the programme permits working with all of them in a batch. During the import process an operator may set different rates for one route depending on the day of the week or time of the day. Data import template may be saved to speed up onward operations. Import of 100 thousand rates takes about 2−3 minutes.
Targets and offers analysis. Ability to compare rates of current and potential providers is an extremely valuable tool for traffic-selling companies which allows spotting advantageous positions offered by new partners. The system provides a possibility to produce reports specifying the amount of traffic that could have been hosted by the prospective partner and the possible additional profit to have been generated by its user in case if certain rates were effective over the recent period of time. These reports are based on factual statistics on traffic profiles and current route costs.
Rate plan generation. Rate offers are developed by adding a fixed or relative margin to the cost of current routes. System operator may define a list of providers to compile a base for calculating the net cost. The solution also presents an option to compare rate expectations of a new client to currently effective rates with the objective to detect potentially profitable routes.
Billing features incorporated within the solution cover the whole range of operations associated with generating and sending out invoices. Moreover, most of the tasks are executed automatically without any involvement of the system operator.
Prepaid and postpaid structures. RADIUS protocol utilized in the solution enables real-time customer balance monitoring, as well as blocking any of the new calls or disconnecting the current ones at reaching the zero balance. In cases when carrier softswitches do not interoperate with RADIUS protocol CDRs can be uploaded remotely with data processing and balance checking taking place post factum. The solution allows uploading various CDR formats from different types of switches.
Payment calculation. Payment calculation procedure presupposes application of various billing structures (increments) and takes into account customer discounts*. The system operates with different currencies. In case of delayed input of rate changes into the system (after they have actually become effective) the already executed calls may be rerated accordingly.
Invoicing. Invoices are generated automatically in accordance with billing periods stipulated in partner agreements. Invoices may incorporate detailed information on routes, employed by the client. Invoices are sent out automatically, their delivery control option is embedded in the system. The system performs tracking of all incoming and outgoing payments. Payments received are compared against invoices generated, thus providing the financial service with an all time access to information on accounts settlement.
Our distinguishing routing feature is the ability to manage calls from different VoIP and TDM switches centrally. Templates and generic attributes facilitate setting of the routing rules considerably, eventually it may be performed only once and afterwards easily applied to any new providers, clients, or routes.
General routing criteria:
- least cost routing, LCR;
- margin-based routing, defined by the difference between the route cost for the client and the termination cost;
- quality-based routing, defined by ASR, ACD, NER, etc. statistic parameters;
- traffic distribution between providers, route-wise or client-wise;
- static routing, specific route to be used for calls from specific clients.
Blended routing.The module calculates the optimal traffic distribution between several vendors offering the destination, so that the quality metrics requested by the client will be ensured while generating highest margins possible. Typically the client traffic will be shared between vendors offering stable quality at high prices and suppliers with more attractive rates but non-guaranteed quality. (See more details about the module.)
Profitability control. The solution permits to automatically monitor call profitability and block any calls with margin below threshold value. Desirable profitability level may be set for any client, provider, equipment, or any combination of the above.
Supporting customer SLA. Quality based routing enables automatic differentiation of service levels rendered to customers. For example, traffic generated by the Premium package clients will be solely routed to the providers, offering the appropriate quality.
VoIP traffic Monitoring and Analysis
The system equips technical service of the carrier with a number of highly convenient tools for traffic structure analysis and troubleshooting. Explicit visual presentation of the data facilitates spotting most profitable clients and popular routes.
Inbuilt reports. The system generates instantaneous real time reports on various profiles and parameters. Statistical breakdown by traffic providers, call termination countries, service packages, etc. is available for every separate customer. Statistic and financial indices are calculated for each profile, including: number of calls, their aggregate duration, ASR, ACD, costs, margin, etc. Information compiled is displayed in spreadsheet and graphical formats, and may be exported in a separate file.
Report builder. Besides instantaneous reports the system can also generate a selection on any spreadsheets within it: CDRs, traffic processing statistics, financial indices, system logs, etc. For example, a report on most profitable customers or vendors may be compiled. Since present feature is a resource intensive one such reports are background generated and may be planed in advance.
Monitoring and notification. Monitoring module provides real time tracking and displaying of the resultant traffic processing parameters (active calls, CPS, margin fluctuations, etc.) and reflects changes in the system resources engagement (CPU, RAM, HDD). If a threshold value on any of the parameters is reached the system administrator receives a problem alert. Notification algorithm also functions for separate routes and responds in such cases as, for example, ASR drops below the defined level.
CDR reconciliation. In case of disputes with a partner the system provides a possibility to identify discrepancies between internal and external data. Reconciliation takes place on the CDR level and allows detecting absent call records as well as whole groups of calls with duration differences surpassing the set values. Additional CDR reconciliation parameters include call starting and completion time, and call rate.
One of the key objectives standing before a company management is increasing revenue generation, to target that the inVoice solution provides its users with an option to set a required profitability level and explicitly visualise current financial results.
Profit maximization. Call routing mechanism sets a required return rate for each call by incorporating the desirable margin level into the calculation formula of the optimal route. At the same time the balance control tool (in prepaid structures) prevents any profit loss and possible delays in customer payments.
Major financial reports:
- profit and loss statement – data on company income and expenditure over the chosen period;
- accounts statement – snapshot of all the customer balances in the system;
- cashflow statement – detailed information on incoming and outgoing flows differentiated by counterparties.
Aggregate business profit profile*. The system aggregates information on the company financial situation in general. In addition to displaying revenue movements, it also provides a breakdown of any time period by profit-generating factors: number of simultaneous calls, occupied switch channels, call transmission success rate, etc.
* the functionality is planned to be implement in the future versions of the product