Many businesses offer a range of products and services and because of this, they need to deploy different commercial policies and strategies for their different clients. It's here that the pre-billing process takes a central role.
Pre-billing starts with the definition and setting of the business logic that's used when dealing with customer contracts and processing of all the data. Determining the business logic or the formalization of all financial conditions agreed with the client is one of the most complicated phases due to its dynamic and complex nature.
The absence of tools, logic and processes that make it possible to manage and monitor the acquired and processed data will have an impact on the billing process. To be able to manage the complexity it's necessary to adopt a solid pre-billing system that's integrated with the functional areas of the company. Doing this would simplify the billing process, improve monitoring and provide advanced statistical data.
Four Key Elements of a Good Pre-Billing System
Integrated functional areas
User-friendly business rules editing interface
Improving operational efficiency
Integrated Functional Areas
To speed-up the process of pre-billing, the system can be integrated with internal and external functional areas of the business (master data, services, products, invoicing, etc.) from where the data must be processed from. Introducing integration using an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) allows the centralization in a single point of input/output of data between business and billing systems allowing you to create a flexible, scalable, robust and reliable infrastructure.
Introducing an ESB, aside from integrating heterogenous functional areas that have different communication protocols, facilitates the improvement and development of messaging flows.
The pre-billing system should be designed for both IT users who need to monitor the semantic and syntactic accuracy of the acquired data, and for business users that deal with defining the business rules.
Therefore it's important to have a user-friendly interface that allows business users to create and modify business rules, process and monitor the data, and display the results, if necessary.
Since complex logic is important for the pre-billing process, you need to use a rule engine which will allow you to set the parameters of your algorithms, and quickly update the business rules in response to changing market conditions. Introducing a rule engine within the system architecture allows you to improve your organization's agility, shorten development cycles of logics and manage complex data processing.
Improving Operational Efficiency
In order to correctly process data, all rules from your contracts should be set up and configured. Since the pre-billing system is based on complex logic, the system should be capable of allowing users to simulate and make rule configuration tests to examine what will happen if you apply them. This would allow you to apply, visualize and and set business rules for the data.
This way, you will have a chance to test the proposed business rules associated with a new contract or commercial policy before finally applying them. The system's ability to apply to new rules quickly and perform tests on the data are valuable capabilities to have in a system characterized by high dynamics and complexity.
After processing the data, the user should have immediate visibility of the results produced and highlight both the data that satisfied the configuration rules and those that, due to some abnormality, didn't meet the defined conditions.
Only full user control of the processes while using advanced analytical tools will allow you to quickly intervene to fix issues or discrepancies. The identification of the problem allows the user to correct the configured business rules and do re-processing to prevent forwarding incorrect information to your company's billing system.