Service and Billing Management Method for ICT Services

Service and Billing Management Method for ICT Services

Motoi Iwashita (Chiba Institute of Technology, Narashino, Japan) and Shigeaki Tanimoto (Chiba Institute of Technology, Narashino, Japan)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJSI.2016040101
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Information and communication technology (ICT) including broadband networks, cloud computing, a variety of mobile devices, point-card systems, and “virtual coins” can induce complicated situations concerning customer management. In particular, billing management is very critical, and it is thus necessary to establish a billing-management method that can quickly adjust to changes in the environment. The first requirement is managing the relationships between services, payments, and settlements so as to assure the payment method and service provision and payment routes. Therefore, a business model design method, established from the viewpoint of service, cash flow, and settlement to strategically adjust to changes in the environment, is described herein. In addition, a procedure for managing the connection paths is proposed to efficiently construct the relationship between services, payments, and settlements.
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1. Introduction

These days, corporate activity is moving toward the use of newly developed cloud-computing services. Cloud computing is a service enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal managerial effort or interaction with service providers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) using ICT has been broadly penetrated, such as billing management, fault management, and service management, into the operational field. Many kinds of package software have been recently developed, and are used in a cloud-computing environment.

In addition to the above-described developments of information systems, “point-card systems” based on accumulated mileage, shopping purchases, rentals, meals, and so on have become widespread in electric commerce (EC). A point-card system is controlled by a point-service provider, and awards points to loyal consumers when they make purchases. Because a variety of points are exchanged through corporate alliances, the market in which such points are distributed is growing rapidly. Although the “Bitcoin” became well-known through the Mt. Gox affair, which was written about by Popper and Abrams in The New York Times article “Apparent theft at Mt. Gox shakes Bitcoin world,” published on 25 February 2014, and the issues concerning virtual coins have become public, two-hundred or more types of virtual coins have already been introduced in specific fields or regions around the world. Because points and virtual coins are distributed along with money throughout the market, customer management in EC has become extremely complicated. From these viewpoints, the management of an enterprise using an ICT has become much more important.

A large number of players (service providers) are newly appearing, and many kinds of services are currently provided through the interaction of such players. It is therefore important to determine how to manage customers in order to execute service strategies based on alliances. In particular, billing management is one of the critical issues facing both providers and customers because a billing mistake is one of the factors discrediting society’s confidence in a company. According to statistical reports by the government ( Moreover, the development of virtual-server technology and the distributions of loyalty points and virtual coins through the market based on ICT have induced a complicated management of the relationship between customers and providers. For example, management such as knowledge regarding which ISPs customers buy applications from has become necessary. From the viewpoint of the customer, payment to each ISP has also become very complicated. Along with customers and ISPs, application service providers (ASPs) themselves incur tremendous damage if such problems occur. A precise billing management method is therefore absolutely essential.

To properly manage the issuance of bills based on info-communication services, a modeling of the customer and service relationship is essential because it can predict the direction of user requirements in the future and react quickly to technological and environmental changes (as described above). The functions of billing management must be understood, and a method to manage them must be devised.

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