Oracle on Tuesday upgraded its self-service offering with the release of Siebel Communications Billing Manager 5.1.1 and Siebel Communications Billing Analytics 5.1.1 — applications built on Siebel’s acquisition of eDocs in 2005.
New changes to the systems will give users increased online access to billing data and improved reporting capabilities, among other features.
This release is not a Fusion application, Bill Hou, vice president of self service products for Oracle, told CRM Buyer. That is, it was not built on the middleware that Oracle is developing to tie together its various acquisitions from the past few years, he said.
New features of Siebel Communication Billing Analytics 5.1.1 — a product that focuses on spend and usage management — allow users to create historical and trend reports across billing periods with versioned hierarchy capabilities.
In addition, customers can also conduct “what if” analysis with real-time updates between business hierarchies and reports, as well as distribute access to information throughout the organization with hierarchical and role-based reporting features, Oracle explained.
Siebel eBilling Manager 5.1.1 helps users better present to their own customers a bill that covers multiple services.
This latter feature is important as telecom companies and other consumer service providers continue to grapple with the after affects of multiple mergers over the last several years, Hou said.
“You don’t see a billing system in many cases, you just see a coexistence of different systems. Customers, though, don’t care who has been acquired by who. All they care about is having an integrated bill.”
“With this application, ultimately we are enhancing the eDocs system,” he said, noting that the new offerings are available on multiple platforms including BEA, WebLogic and WebSphere, as well as Oracle.
Eventually, Oracle will execute a larger self-service strategy based on functionality from this application as well as JD Edwards, Siebel and PeopleSoft, Hou added.
E-billing will be a key part of this strategy. “When you look at the direction CRM is taking, you can see that the nature of customer interactions are changing to focus more on self-service, particularly at the billing touch point,” he said.
E-billing brings a lot of ‘stickness’ to a Web site. It also provides a better understanding of customers’ buying habits, which further rounds out a self-service operation, according to Hou. “As we build out our self service capabilities, e-billing, e-commerce and e-service will be major pillars of functionality.”