DCA, MCSI Give Customers New Visibility
By Chris Garifo
A pair of exhibitors at the ASCENT 2001 Spring Conference and Exhibition, DCA Services Inc. (www.dcaservices.com), and Murphy Soft-ware Consulting Inc. (www.localaccess.com), are providing their respective customers with a greater sense of visibility.
DCA Services, a provider of out-sourced billing and customer-care software, has launched DCA Remote Manager, which allows its telecommunications reseller and carrier customers to manage their billing and back-office accounts via a secure Internet connection by using a wireless personal digital assistant or laptop computer.
DCA clients who use Remote Manager can access their billing and back-office data in real time, giving them a level of control “greater than what they would have if they were running it themselves,” says Rick Nagel, president of DCA Services.
Remote Manager frees reseller and carrier executives who want to keep an eye on what’s happening with their billing and back-office accounts from being chained to their desks.
“In today’s business climate, many executives don’t have the luxury of sitting in front of their PC all day,” Nagel says.
Remote Manager is designed to, at a flash, provide a quick pulse of what is going on with the processes surrounding the four basic functions of their business–sales, provisioning, billing and collections–and to signal if any problems crop up.
“It’s really about making sure companies have all the decision-making criteria available to them upfront before things become a crisis,” Nagel says. “And if you’re able to manage things before they become a crisis, they’re much more manageable.”
Patricia Murphy, president of MCSI, says she wants to improve her customers’ visibility into their invoices. MSCI, which Murphy launched in 1999, showcased its Local Audit Software, which is designed to let resellers and CLECs look deeply into the electronic invoices they receive from the ILECs with which they do business. Those invoices are provided on CD-ROMs or through some form of data interchange.
Most resellers and CLECs don’t have a method for reading the detailed electronic portion of the invoice, says John Murphy, MSCI marketing director.
“For most of them, it’s sitting on a stack somewhere,” he says. “They haven’t been able to do anything with it.”
Having recognized this problem, some resellers and CLECs have developed their own internal tools. MCSI offers another solution.
MCSI’s Local Audit Software provides cost analysis and revenue assurance by making sure the bill a reseller or a CLEC receives from an ILEC is correct. That means ensuring that MCSI’s customers aren’t being charged for phone numbers that aren’t their own customers, and looking for services that are unable to be resold. For example, certain Universal Service Order Codes (USOCs), such as those for wire maintenance, may be charged to resellers because they get moved over accidentally during the provisioning process.
“Those kinds of things can end up being very costly to the reseller because he can’t bill them to his customers, even though he’s being billed by the incumbent,” John Murphy says.
LAS also lets the reseller see what it’s being charged for the individual USOCs to determine whether what is being charged fits with the tariff rates that are being charged. In some cases, resellers also have learned that they’re being charged for services they didn’t know existed. In those cases, the ILEC was charging the reseller for the service but the reseller wasn’t billing its customers for it.
Revenue assurance is improved because LAS puts invoice information into a database that can be linked to the billing system to provide information on real revenue and real costs.
The product also provides profitability analysis, at the high level and at a more granular level, as far down as the individual billing telephone number (BTN) level.
“So, it gives them a lot of flexibility once they’ve got their data in a format that they can use it,” John Murphy says.
Customers who use LAS can achieve a quick return on investment, says Patricia Murphy: “I don’t think anybody has taken more than six months on their ROI, and most around three months or less.”