Qwest Communications International serving the South West corridor of United States, took upon a major initiative to revamp their Business Billing application. Supra was involved with this initiative right from conducting JAD (Joint Application Development) sessions with the end-users to understand the requirements, to implementing the developed application system and later providing post implementation support. The key features of the developed application included Consolidated Customer Accounts, Customizable Billing, Customer Self Service, Flexible Rate Tables, Ability to accommodate post- paid and pre-paid customers, Provisioning, Billing & Invoicing.
The technology used in the whole project included Agile methodology throughout the project, .Net environment for the User Interface & several Objects, and C & Forte for the middle tier that required certain algorithms to be developed. Both DB2 and MS SQL Server were the databases used for the backend. All the reporting capabilities were developed using Crystal Reports.
The major challenge was to consolidate the existing data from various mainframe environments that was also using both database and indexed sequential files.
Ease of use.
Create an application where the existing clients get the data in the same format they are used to getting; An application system that can be used by their business clients, as well as the support personnel of this major telephone company.
Ability to view and compare usage and charges across months or across years. Minimal impact to the existing feeder applications.
The platform needs the ability to expand on its core features and also be able to interface with certain external applications
A clear and concise interface avoids ambiguity by making everything clear through language, flow, hierarchy and metaphors for visual elements.
Administrators have the authority to restrict the use of several functions within the system, including Add / Change / Delete at a screen / field level. Ability to Print reports was also controlled via User access.
The development was done using a 3-tier architecture, separating the user interface from process logic and both from the database interface. This approach makes it easy to add additional screens if required or to add new modules or even to change the back-end database if required.
The application provided a common location for both the Business clients and Company staff to access and validate data. It also minimized the overall data collection, validation and process time substantially.
Optimization at all levels
Duplicate efforts and repeated tasks in all areas that include, Sales, administration, customer support, back office work, statement production are minimized and processes are made more efficient.
Ability for customers to view, compare and validate their usage and charges across months or across years increased customer satisfaction leading to greater overall value.
Quantifiable benefits achieved include:
- Greatly Improved Data Consistency through automated provisioning and limited manual data entry01
- Going “Green” – saving paper by eliminating paper bills02
- Provides Improved Interface at all levels03
- Secure, reliable (vendor supported), future growth path04
- All reports generated via the web05
- Futher added Self-Service capabilities (e.g. ability for individual staff or departments to access the system to review their portion of bill)06