MetraTech Corp., the leading provider of Agreements-based Billing and Compensation solutions, today announced its participation in a second phase of the Enhanced Cloud Service Management Catalyst that explores how communications service providers (CSPs) can develop, monetize and assure a portfolio of innovative and unique cloud computing-based services like hosted video conferencing.
Building on the Inter-Cloud Service Management Catalyst, which was demonstrated at TM Forum’s Management World 2010 conference, the proof-of-concept initiative includes a number of new participants, as its objectives broaden from the fulfilment of cloud services to the operational processes associated with assurance, usage collection, billing, rating and charging.
The collaboration, which involves BT, Cisco, Amartus, Comptel, InfoVista, MetraTech and Progress Software, defines an intelligent infrastructure and management approach that will allow CSPs to achieve service differentiation, reduced costs and access to new revenue streams and markets through portfolios of enhanced cloud services.
The Catalyst will be demonstrated live in Forumville at TM Forum’s Management World 2011, taking place May 23-26, in Dublin, Ireland.
BT, as a champion of the Enhanced Cloud Service Management Catalyst, serves as an enterprise consumer and retailer of complex cloud computing services, providing the context for exploring how BT can provide unique business value through an ‘enhanced’ cloud computing service, in this case utilising Telepresence as part of a cloud computing service. The Cisco® Hosted Collaboration Solution provides a scalable, distributable, partitionable and resilient Internet Protocol (IP) communications platform that supports the delivery of hosted collaboration tools (such as video, voice and web conferencing, telephony, messaging, presence and more) as a cloud computing-based service.
MetraTech’s billing solution, MetraNet, is used to complete the billing process, providing the data needed for managing the financial aspects of policy controls and supporting the other customer care activities that surround the typically complex hierarchies and payment authorities of an enterprise customer's serviced agreement. By aligning event performance data with product-rated usage data and the particular contract terms of Service Level Agreements for each enterprise user, MetraNet is able to calculate appropriate charges or credits.
Enabling service providers like BT to meet the challenge of monetizing innovative, agreement-based services like Unified Communications is key as service industries increasingly see significant changes in their competitive landscapes. Today's cloud services customers are likely to be looking for pricing that at a minimum accurately represents their usage levels. Service providers, who have to fight off disintermediation and relegation to “dumb-pipe” status, will need to think about all of the ways in which they can monetize what they bring to the table in terms of “enablement” for enterprise customers and potential value chain partners. While a fixed monthly fee may still suffice for some, infrequent users or those with irregular consumption patterns may well be looking for packages that map better to their profile.
From a billing perspective, the challenges to legacy IT infrastructure are considerable, including the need to support complex account hierarchies, to offer individual case-based pricing and product bundling throughout any service model, to support comprehensive Contract and SLA modeling, complex settlement across the value chain, handling chargebacks and multi-point transactions and many others.
Commenting on the Catalyst,“All CSPs need to better understand how key services can be utilized to deliver more innovative services to customers and to explore how these often complex services can be assured and monetized,” said Steve Orobec, lead OSS standards manager and enterprise architect, BT.
“The Enhanced Cloud Service Management Catalyst provides an opportunity to explore how the delivery, performance and monetization of enhanced cloud computing and collaboration services can be managed without any negative fallout for CSPs,” added Tom Caldwell, director of technical marketing, Network Management Technology Group, Cisco.
Noted Barbara Lancaster, vice president, sales, Americas at MetraTech,“The Catalyst draws attention to how critical it is for service providers to have at their fingertips the ability to quickly monetize innovative yet complex services. In a world where service models are defined by the ever more complex agreements between customers, suppliers, and partners, the ability to monetize has to be an enabler, rather than a gating factor, to success.”
MetraTech Corp. (metratech.com) offers a new approach to charging, billing, settlement and customer care enabling organizations to embrace change without compromise. MetraNet, our flagship product, is unique in its ability to automate business processes and business models that address rapidly changing, complex or radical business strategies across any industry for an unlimited number of services. MetraNet is deployed globally by a diverse customer base, including industry leaders such as City of Chicago-O’Hare, Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation, InterCall, Microsoft Online, PGi (Premiere Global Services), and OnStream(National Grid). Our customers use MetraNet to build innovative and successful business models, securely collect revenue, and manage their entire customer lifecycle in some 12 languages, 28 currencies and 90 countries. MetraTech offers a variety of delivery options ranging from licensing to outsourcing. Headquartered in Boston, MetraTech has offices in San Francisco, Munich, Paris, Singapore, Rio de Janeiro and London. MetraTech is a venture-backed, privately held company whose investors include Accel Partners, Bessemer Venture Partners, Meritech Capital and Vesbridge Partners.