What is BillMax and what is it not?
BillMax is a Customer Relationship Management system designed specifically to address the special needs and enhance opportunities for Internet Service Providers (ISPs and specifically WISPs) . ISPs typically have 1000’s of customers whose service requires (to name just few) the following back office functions:
- technician scheduling
- trouble ticketing
- payment processing
- service provisioning
- customer self-service (portal)
Use of BillMax results in reduced errors, improved cash flow, better customer service and less administrative burden/expense. This is achieved via process automation that’s geared specifically for the typical ISP customer lifecycle.
Use of off the shelf, general purpose CRMs that don’t address the specific requirements of ISPs or that can’t handle huge number of customers will ultimately fail to produce the desired benefits.
BillMax is also designed to be extended as needed and integrated with other applications as desired resulting in a system where each component is “best of breed”. BillMax development emphasis is in its core CRM and billing technologies while facilitating integration with multi-vendor or non-proprietary systems. In this sense BillMax can also be seen as a ISP toolkit where each ISP is free to tailor the solution to their specific needs and budget.
BillMax does not contain a General Ledger component where account’s payable, payroll etc. are managed. There are many General Ledger programs that are suitable for use by an ISP. BillMax can be used in conjunction with such programs. BillMax does come with a full line of financial and activity reports.
BillMax does not include comprehensive Operations Support Systems (OSS; see
http://searchtelecom.techtarget.com/definition/operational-support-system for an explanation). Instead BillMax facilitates easy integration with such systems allowing the ISP to choose the OSS components they need and make sense for their particular network.
Why is it needed? What problems does it solve?
BillMax was designed originally by an ISP to solve the every day problems encountered by an ISP. As mentioned above general purpose applications with a non ISP industry intent don’t fully address the needs or practices in the ISP industry.
With large volume of customers, small problems can quickly multiply and become unmanageable. Without software in place to automated the processing, the following conditions are likely:
- sluggish account receivables and poor cash flow
- delayed and/or inaccurate bills
- slow and irregular customer service
- billing for services not delivered
- not billing for services delivered
- insufficient means of customer payment
- little insight into trends, opportunities, and health of business
- incorrect tax collection and payment to tax authorities
- no quality of service measurements and analysis
- poor customer communication and management of expectations
- higher overhead/costs; greater personnel needs
How is it sold/licensed?
BillMax is leased software. It is not sold outright. The lease is charged month to month typically (other terms are available for international clients) with no long-term contract requirements.
What is included?
The base lease price includes all the core functionality needed to manage customers and automate billing as well as payment processing. There are several optional modules that may be leased as well. These include:
- Customer portal
- Scheduling module
- VOIP CDR rating and Billing
- FCC 477 reporting and mapping
The base lease also is inclusive of all technical support services and software updates. Technically support is defined as any consulting via email or phone that can reasonably be addressed via such methods. BillMax staff at it discretion may at times seek access and perform remote work on ISPs servers as needed to support the ISP.
If the required work falls outside the scope of support, BillMax will notify ISP and provide quote or get verbal agreement before proceeding.
Software releases are typically made quarterly. The ISP is expected to perform their own updates. BillMax consulting services are available if ISP doesn’t have the technical expertise or time to do the update.
How much does it cost?
The cost of the base lease is based on the number of active customers the ISP has. The optional modules generally have a fixed add-on cost (e.g. not based on number subscribers).
Rather than charge for exact customer count, the lease is paid by blocks of customers (generally in increments of 500).
The base lease pricing begins at 20 cents/customer/month for a thousand customer license. From this level, each successive block is leased at a lower rate. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a binding detailed quote.
Where is it installed? Premised based, hosted or self hosted?
BillMax may be installed and managed at an ISP supplied host (e.g. their own hardware or at a hosting facility. Virtual or otherwise) or BillMax offers a comprehensive hosting service inclusive of system administration, backups, application upgrades, and monitoring. BillMax hosts all its ISP site at Amazon’s AWS.
If the hosted option is chosen, BillMax charges a hosting fee above and beyond the fees for the license/lease.