Comms Business Magazine talks to Bart Delgado, Managing Director of Akixi, about billing services and how, from the early company days of preparing bills on spread sheets Akixi has progressed to a solution that works for him as his own products work for his own customers – in a SaaS model.
Akixi is a supplier of cloud-based contact centre and call management services deployed in a software as a service (SaaS) model. Managing Director and founder of Akixi, Bart Delgado says that initially, when the company started selling their services and sales volumes were low, they manually prepared end user statement and bills.
“However, as our channel engagement grew and sales volumes began to take off using spread sheets became time consuming and more susceptible to human error.
What we do is different to anyone else in the market; essentially we have eight chargeable components and a number of territorial tariffs but unlike telephone calls, which technically can be of an infinite cost Akixi combines a number of services.
A further difficulty lies in the tiered structure of our supply model. We need to be able to accurately bill the reseller, UK users, overseas users and service providers.
Finally, we also have a unique and proprietary Akixi output stream – not traditional CDRs. We understand that other SaaS suppliers have similar billing issues.”
According to Delgado selecting a billing partner and platform to handle their requirements was not easy.
“Billing companies are great at billing phone calls. We spoke to many potential suppliers but found that their understanding of what we were doing was generally poor. Only one, PRD Technologies, were able to grasp what we really wanted and required. They provided us with a compelling proposition, Quickstart Pro, and delivered it through the cloud as a service just like we deliver our own services. We consume their billing services as we use them just as a cloud service should be. Likewise the service is completely scalable – also just as a cloud service needs to be.
Refreshingly, the company also take the long-term view with their client relationships and develop all the features you specifically need whereas other suppliers tended to charge for these developments or could not actually do them for us. There was no sharp intake of breath when we told them what we wanted.
As a company PRD appear to be very nimble and fast on their feet and well placed to seize the opportunity that the cloud is presenting to the channel. During all the phases of the procurement process and on-going we have always felt that Akixi is working with a partner to develop a solution as opposed to dealing with a supplier.
In a nutshell they took a completely new and unique output and made it work globally for us and our customers.”
Delgado observes that in the ICT sector there are always feature changes being requested.
“It’s the nature of our business that we all want to see new features being added to our applications. It’s part of the differentiation process and in this respect PRD is highly flexible in supporting these development changes for features that the industry requires.
Overall they have developed an excellent billing platform for us that delivers results. Of course there were early teething issues during this time but the partner based relationship we have meant that we both patiently worked these through. We do things differently to most of PRD’s customers and the patience between our two companies got us there; it was never a case of ‘that was never specified’ but rather a case of always arriving at a positive outcome.
Only in the last week we changed our invoice template, which was a simple process. PRD understand the channel challenges, understand the cloud and understand that the big determiner of a cloud-based service is its ability to be multi-tenanted.”