In my last blog post I talked about what #sexybilling was, or perhaps more accurately , what it might look like. It became evident from the comments though that I hadn’t really made it clear what I thought billing was, and so that sort of complicated the story. If we don’t know what billing is, how are we going to know what sexy billing is?
The term “Sexy Billing” was first coined by Darran Clem of Telesperience (in fact Darran coined the twitter hashtag #sexybilling) in response to this post where Teresa Cottam complains that telecommunications billing wasn’t seen as sexy, but that it should be. At first it just made me laugh. But then I began to think – why was that? I have devoted several years of my life to working on and thinking about billing in telecommunications (and elsewhere) – why would I do that if I didn’t think it was sexy in some respect? What would it mean for billing to be sexy? In fact what does it mean to say that a topic is “sexy”? We don’t mean we are sexually attracted to it (I hope)! Instead, when we say that something like a car is sexy, we mean that it is glamourous, it’s attractive, that when we are involved with it we are filled with a sense of delight. Pondering this, I realised that many of the core aspects of billing aren’t sexy. Those hard issues around rating algorithms, trade-offs between the performance and reliability, processing vast numbers of transactions, integration with the demands of customer relationship management, finance and business intelligence systems are just that – hard, and not intrinsically exciting. However, the experiences that billing gives rise to can be sexy – that is they can be the kind of experiences that customers, management and internal staff want to have and be associated with. Now, they often aren’t sexy – but they could be and should be! So here is my take on what sexy billing might look like.
In my career in telecommunications I have worked across Europe, and throughout the Asia-Pacific region. I’ve also spent most of my life in the Asia-Pacific region, and used telecommunications services across various countries. My experience has shown me that telecommunications providers, vendors and professionals need to have a markedly different attitude towards this region. Europe is a considerably more homogeneous region than Asia-Pacific. The OSS and BSS solutions that I was involved in within Europe were remarkably similar in their approach (if not their functionality), whereas the solutions that I worked on in the Asia-Pacific region were radically different in their approach to delivering what was often the same functionality.
This is something of a shameless plug for my friends at Telesperience, but their podcast is one of the few out there about the telecommunications industry, and about BSS/OSS in particular. I am an avid listener of podcasts – basically because it is the only way I can tolerate the boredom of exercise or commuting – but I have really struggled to find any on the subject of telecommunications or the areas of BSS/OSS. Telesperience put out – somewhat irregularly – a great series of podcasts centred on the idea of improving “operational efficiency, commercial agility and a better customer experience” (to quote their tagline) within the telecommunications industry. Topics covered include innovative OSS/BSS vendors, billing, customer experience, business intelligence and personalisation always with the focus on how and why these topics matter to operators whether from the perspective of the bottom line, or through making a difference to end customers. This podcast is highly recommended if you work in this industry and want to hear something more in-depth and thoughtful than the usual vendor PR or industry newsbites.
You can also subscribe to Telesperience through iTunes.
If you know of any other good telecommunications podcasts, let me know by adding a comment below.
If you are interested in Enterprise IT I recommend the IT Pro Show podcast. I find podcasts really useful and interesting: they make otherwise boring activities like exercise or travelling to work an opportunity to learn something. I have , however, struggled to find any that are relevant to my professional interests. I have looked hard for enterprise architecture or enterprise IT podcasts but found very few promising ones. Most of those have either been vendor material or are long out of date. The IT Pro Show is a weekly podcast where the three brothers John, Mike and Tom have an informal look at Enterprise IT. Each show has regular segments such as upcoming conferences, books, corporate news and key topics of interest in Enterprise IT. The most recent podcast had a great discussion on desktop virtualisation. You can also subscribe to the IT Pro Show through iTunes.
If you know of any other good enterprise IT podcasts, why not let me know by commenting below?