Billing the cloud

In this interview Simon Adams, CEO of Intelligent Technologies (PRD), spoke to Comms Business about the cloud consumption landscape and how his business is helping partners process and bill in a new era.

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Can you give us an update on the business and how you have coped with lockdown?

Simon Adams (SA): We can see the call data coming through from our customers, obviously some of them have gone down quite a lot. Th ose are mostly in the hospitality sector, but we are hoping some of that starts to come back now. For a few customers we have given them a payment holiday where they can use the system and we will help support it. So, I feel like we have helped where we can and hopefully those customers will get back on their feet and stay with us in the long-term. I think this is a time we all need to change a little bit more and support customers where we can.

CBM: Have you seen projects put on hold?

SA: We have had a few, but mostly the bigger ones where they need project managers onboard and people to manage the migration projects. Those can be quite complex. We might have to add more interfaces and APIs into third party systems, and although we have the resources to do the work the companies we are working for don’t want to start until the project managers are back, it’s essentially a logistics issue. We are expecting things to get started over the next few months as normality creeps back in.

CBM: How has your R&D been impacted?

SA: We have actually been able to accelerate our development in some areas over this time. We are a month away from being able to integrate our solution into the Microsoft Partner Centre application programming interface for Azure and other MS services. This will allow Microsoft Gold Partners and distributors to provision MS services through our platform.

We are seeing more Microsoft Gold Partners now and they all have to meet certain requirements. One of these is to have a provisioning system into Microsoft. I think this is a huge opportunity for us.

More telecoms resellers are now reselling Microsoft services. We have a new platform for CSPs (Cloud Solution Providers) as well as a converged platform for resellers covering both sectors. For one distie alone, we process approximately £70 million per annum in Microsoft. We can do the same with AWS and Google Cloud.

We have also been working on more automations and API integrations. Our objective is to make telecoms billing as simple and automated as possible, reducing resources needed to manage the billing processes and to maximise use of data for reporting and analytics. We now process approximately 4.5 billion transaction per month.  We process every landline call in the Netherlands via the incumbent there KPN (Essentially the BT for the Netherlands).

CBM: Are your services 100% in the cloud now?

SA: All our customers are now on our fully cloud based platform. Th e “Billing Bureau Service” option is nearly at an end, because the billing platform is so automated that it does everything the billing bureau services used to do, including near real-time access to billing data and reports, auto-collection of data etc. Th e platform simply does everything for you.  

We gained a new customer in September 2019 and converged 3 billing platforms into a single platform. The client didn’t think this was possible, but it resulted in them redeploying billing staff as they no longer needed a big team to handle billing because we automated and converged the process.  It saved this client a fortune.

CBM: How is this new level of automation impacting your customer satisfaction scores?

SA: Every year we conduct an independent client survey to ensure we listen to the customers. Our customer satisfaction results are equal to Netflix and Amazon using the same methodology they do. However, we are not resting on our laurels. Our next target is to match the same score as Apple and I am pleased to say we are not far off achieving that.