Billing System Vendor Selection


SITUATION:  A young North American wireless carrier was experiencing a strong growth trajectory, nearly doubling their subscriber base every two years.  They were approaching the capacity limits of their billing system and were also encountering problems with their billing system architecture, including inability to meet key business requirements such as real-time rating and voucher management.  The carrier planned to upgrade to their current vendor’s next generation billing system but found that the new product was not fully developed.  The carrier brought in Alliance to analyze the progress of the upgrade project and course correct the failing conversion project.  The current vendor was unable to meet required corrective actions, and a determination was made to explore different systems to meet the carrier’s projected growth.  



·    Deep expertise and experience in all phases of system selection:  requirements development and analysis, RFP creation and management, criteria weighting, price negotiating, gap analysis, and joint application design.

·    Deep expertise in functionality and architecture of all leading billing vendors, which was essential to understanding the carrier’s business needs.

·    Program management skills to coordinate, integrate and oversee other project managers through a complex undertaking while keeping the project on target and within budget.

·    Systems analysis skills to ensure that the client's requirements were met in all deliverables.

·    Training skills to successfully transfer knowledge and expertise to client's permanent staff.


SOLUTION:  There were two major components of Alliance’s work on this project:

The first component was to review the carrier’s initial work on plans to upgrade to the current vendor’s next generation billing system.  Our consultant served as program manager, supervising project managers responsible for systems such as data warehouse, customer relationship management, and networks.  He introduced Project Management Institute (PMI) methodologies, development of an integrated project plan, identified the project’s critical path, identified risks, and developed specific acceptance criteria to make the current vendor accountable for deliverables for a production environment.  Critical tests revealed that the product would not meet production requirements and a decision was made to seek a new solution as part of contingency planning.  Alliance was engaged to spearhead the system selection process; the second component of this project.

The selection process had several key components: 

·    Review and augmentation of the requirements - resulting in 1400 requirements

·    Categorizing and formatting the requirements to create an RFP

·    Alliance review of existing billing vendor and client selection of seven to invite to respond to the RFP

·    Definition and weighting of the requirements based on stakeholder needs

·    Organization and scheduling vendor presentation

·    Selection of two finalists for final decisions by client management

·    Gap analysis of finalists and Joint Application Design sessions with vendors to address the gaps.  This process included development of use cases and stakeholder reviews.


·    In the first phase of the project – evaluating the upgrade plans – our recommendation to discontinue the implementation project saved more than $1 million per month and prevented a costly upgrade to an untested system that would not have met the business’ basic requirements.

·    The system selection by the Alliance-led project was on track to pay for its costs by the fourth year due to lower total cost of ownership.

·    The project management process improvements substantially increased the effectiveness and intellectual capital of the client’s employees, thereby allowing them to decrease future dependence on software vendors and third party resources.  


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