2017 was a busy and very significant year for BillRun, during which the team transformed from a young software startup to a dynamic, product-driven company focused on addressing the needs of leading providers in the telecom arena and beyond. 2018 has just begun and we already expect major breakthroughs in several areas of activity.
This is what we have in store for you in 2018
Last year began with the official launch of BillRun Cloud— a sophisticated cloud-based SaaS billing solution that provides SMBs and startups with an intuitive, flexible, scalable system.
Until now, these solutions were available only to large telecom operators who could handle the high costs involved in purchasing the required hardware, licensing and infrastructure. By utilizing cloud technology, BillRun is able to offer complex billing capabilities to businesses of any size.
As BillRun steadily positioned itself as a leader in the open-source billing arena, we began to engage with prospective customers, including global telecom enterprises who were testing the waters of open-source technology. Several transportation and utility companies from around the world, who were in the process of making key decisions, were interested in gaining our insights on the benefits and challenges of the emerging paradigm of open-source billing. The BillRun management team participated in several international conferences, the most prominent of which were MWC (Mobile World Congress) 2017 in Barcelona, and AfricaCom 2017 in Cape Town, South Africa.
On the sales front, BillRun acquired a number of key enterprise customers, including an Israeli broadband internet and international call provider named Xfone who will soon launch their mobile services under the new We brand. Implementation of these projects is currently underway, and their completion is expected in the next few months. In addition, we recently attained several new BillRun Cloud customers, including U.S.-based HighComm, Digital Orchard from the UK, and VideoFlow from Israel.
Another key milestone was the completion of integrating BillRun’s billing system with SuiteCRM, the open-source alternative to SalesForce, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in addition to developing several new extensions to our CRM system. This move has enabled us to provide a full wall-to-wall BSS (Business Support System) to customers who wish to replace or upgrade their old systems.
On the development front
Here are some of the main features developed by BillRun in 2017:
Improved reporting capabilities enables billing administrators to generate complex statistical reports on customers, subscribers, and usage, as well as displaying all notifications and alerts that were sent to operators’ provisioning systems. This provides the ability to run more effective sanity checks, and enhances tracking and analysis of customer behavior.
Unified API approach has simplified such functions as querying, editing, or deleting customers, plans or products, which results in easier, seamless integration of 3rd-party systems with BillRun, reducing integration time for technical personnel.
U.S. tax calculation: BillRun integrated a compliance software that automatically calculates U.S. state and local sales taxes, and adds them to the customer’s bill, eliminating the need for telecoms to handle these complex calculations.
Tariff categories allows for easier balance tracking by enabling billing administrators to classify products by tariff category, for example, define Retail price or Wholesale price. BillRun supports unlimited price categories per product, and displays these categories in comparative profit and loss reports showing the total purchasing amount of each product or usage, vs. the total sales sum.
Services included in a plan saves considerable time for administrators when defining plans, by enabling a one-time setup of free quota, for example, define 80 free messages per month to the UK (meaning first 80 messages are free). Then they can reuse the same service in other packages, without redefining it.
Onboarding new users: A new walk-through tutorial introduces the billing system to new users, which saves time and spares the anxiety of learning the system. Users can view a mock invoice with links to such functions as generating an invoice, setting up a new customer, and creating a new plan.
Property types & units of measure allows billing administrators to define any type of usage or activity, such as calls, sms, or distance, (e.g. usage-based car lease); assign the required unit of measure, such as time, counter, distance or weight; and define a quota for each unit of measure, e.g., Free usage of 190 minutes each month.
New monetary features allow operators to define money-based plans, for example, a plan including $10 in phone calls and up to $2 of text messages.
Looking towards 2018
2018 has just begun and we already expect major breakthroughs in the following areas of activity:
- IoT: We intend to position BillRun as a leading solution provider in the IoT/M2M space which continues to gain momentum. Several operators and service providers have already expressed their interest in BillRun’s open, agile and scalable monetization platform. Unlike the typical telecom business model, the IoT/M2M arena requires key capabilities, such as a connectivity device platform, billing-on-behalf-of (BoBo), and split billing— all inherent features of BillRun. We have partnered with EyesOnT, another Israeli startup with whom we will jointly offer a full CDP (Connected Device Platform) solution to operators and customers. In the next few weeks we also expect to finalize an agreement with a large global IoT company.
- BSS: BillRun intends to expand into the world of BSS and provide a real alternative to the outdated, costly inflexible systems. When using these systems, actions such as adding a new customer, switching providers or selling a phone— are all performed manually. Applying the slightest change to these fragile systems could blunder the entire system, and it is difficult to modify and adjust them to work with the rapidly changing technologies. Their maintenance has become a huge burden, as many of them contain a ”patchwork quilt” of old and new technologies, which is problematic when a new technology needs to be integrated.
We have already witnessed early signs of companies who have begun to replace their systems, and we expect soon to see an avalanche in this direction, followed by a wave of new advanced systems replacing the old ones. This disruptive trend in BSS is inevitable in order to ensure the success of operators in the future.
BillRun is positioned ideally in this transitional stage, by offering an integrated solution for CRM, provisioning, order management, contract management, asset management, campaigns, omni and social channels and self-service. We aim to become a leading global developer of innovative billing, rating and invoicing solutions, instilling confidence in our customers by encouraging them to replace their old, cumbersome systems with open-source technology designed for big data BSS.