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2003 News

Rodopi Offers Automated Billing

Rawlson King, theWHIR.com

April 24, 2003 -- (WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) -- Integrating billing and provisioning solutions into your business process can be the most challenging task for a Web host.

Due to the high volume of sales that many service providers are confronted with, billing can become highly complex, error-prone and time consuming if executed manually. Manual processing of credit cards and invoice generation will inevitably lead to delays in account and service provisioning. As account creation is prolonged, customers will become extremely dissatisfied with service quality levels and will search elsewhere to obtain hosting services. Service providers can mitigate such customer churn by implementing automated billing solutions that integrate directly into their existing business process.

Rodopi (rodopi.com) is a prominent example of a company that offers a comprehensive billing, provisioning and customer care suite for Internet service providers, Internet presence providers, application service providers and telecommunication firms.

Rodopi began as a billing and basic provisioning software tool. The software evolved into a unique product that provides online subscription, real-time credit card authorization and efficient technical support mechanisms. The online subscription function allows hosting firms to signup new customers and activates their accounts around the clock.

Under Rodopi software, not only does the unique and flexible engine provide recurring billing, but a whole myriad of features including usage based billing, multiple payment types, including checks, automatic credit card processing and real-time authorization, batch payment tools, and support for promotions, taxes and commission tracking. The billing component of the software is so advanced that user services are automatically disabled in case of a missed payment and re-enabled when the payment is received, ensuring that users pay on a regular basis.

The software is also highly advantageous because it integrates provisioning. For IP services, provisioning can be defined as the process of expediting all the tasks between receiving a request for a service and making that request available to the customer. Every time a hosting company needs to add, delete or change customer information, it must implement one or many changes to the hosting and software system that supports company operations.

For example, provisioning a new user for application services usually requires system entries to establish user security, user profile, application preferences, print queue access, file sharing, user mailbox, VPN user level security, DNS entries, registration to the billing and help-desk systems. Unless automated, this process requires large technical staff and is prone to human error. Thus, automating the process is an absolute requirement for growing companies to efficiently manage this growth without substantial staff additions.

Rodopi software integrates the billing and service provisioning into one automated, turnkey process. "If a hosting firm has 500 accounts, our system will automate every aspect concerning billing and provisioning," stated Art Ekroos, an Executive Vice President at Rodopi. "Our system is so automated it will even track expiration dates and prompt consumers to update their credit card profiles."

The software is so sophisticated, that according to Ekroos, one hosting company that implemented the system was able to reallocate employees to other departments, rather than having them attend to billing.

The software also offers efficient technical support through its built- in trouble ticket system, which ensures that in-progress technical inquiries do not get lost. By using the software package, hosting firms can hence increase revenues by reducing support expenses and billing personnel. The package is also beneficial in that it enables hosts to sell its services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

After implementing the Rodopi system, billing and provisioning tasks should become much easier and quicker. The system can be installed on both NT and UNIX based systems.

2003 News