MEDIA COVERAGE
 
 
The Australian - January 26 99
Billing Analysis Tool Takes Off
 
Melbourne development house PowerServe has sold its telephone billing analysis tool to carriers MCI Worldcomand Primus Telecommunications. Called Bill Point Analyser (BPA), it allows corporate users to quickly break down telephone bills into manageable cost centres.

BPA Product Manager, George Dimopoulos said it had proved popular with finance directors who used it to better allocate costs in their general ledgers. Carriers had bought the BPA system to offer corporate customers the billing analysis tool as a value-added service.

"It is the time it saves that is the real advantage for finance managers", he said. "Some companies might have 5000 service [telephone] numbers, so trying to make an analysis of specific costs can be complicated."

Provided electronically, the tool reduces the costs incurred in bill analysis, saving time and productivity. Online historical analysis over an unlimited number of months if also possible.

Although some telecommunications carriers have in-house analysis tools to offer customers, none has the functionality of BPA, which is the only commercial shrink-wrapped software on the market.

In Australia's newly deregulated market, PowerServe has targeted carriers as the first customer group, although it will also market the BPA product direct to large corporates.

Mr Dimopoulos said the carriers were attracted to the software as a way of reducing churn. By offering biling analysis as a value-added service, companies hoped to improve their customer loyalty.

The BPA software is sold to telecommunications companies under an OEM agreement, which allows the carriers to rebadge it as a service, and customise it with their own branding. The software is priced at about $500 a site for telcos.

United States-based Telegroup and Link Telecommunications are also among the local BPA users. The sales to MCI Worldcom and Primus herald the release of BPA version 2.0.

Various enhancements include allowing finance officers to allocate percentages of individual service numbers across different cost centres for accounting purposes.

Mr Dimopoulos said the product could also support bills across more than one carriers, meaning accountants could consolidate several bills into the analysis of total communication costs.

The company has already begun developing version 3.0, which will include a Web interface to allow corporate customers to access bills mid-way through a billing period.

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