Billing systems need to access and process upstream data. Application connections are methods of using the core functionality of a billing system to input upstream data, interact with data models, and manage data processing in support of billing operations. These methods may be manual, partially automated or fully automated. Application connections often abstract the process and work with the metadata that power the billing system. This layer is the gateway into the billing system and a focal point of all external integrations and of the internal configurations.

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Connectivity Components

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Application UI

The Application User Interface (UI) makes up the graphical component of the billing system and provides a simple user-friendly way to interact with the billing system. Typical use cases include entry of accounts, entry, and management of customer information, payment method configuration, product catalog management, and management of discounts, orders, and subscriptions. The application UI typically provides the means to configure and manage the billing system environment and control user and role permissions.

API

An API or Application Programming Interface is the key to inputting or retrieving data in a billing system from an external system. APIs typically correspond to tables inside the billing system’s database. APIs are made available by a billing system vendor as a way to facilitate integration and safe and secure access to data or metadata pertaining to billing.

An API is the only way to dynamically access billing data outside the billing system, these APIs can be used to integrate billing processes or information into an existing system or website. Customer self-service, e-Commerce, and partner channels all require APIs to integrate and connect with the billing system. APIs require network connectivity with the billing system and must be authenticated and authorized before access to the billing system will be permitted.

APIs are designed in a way that any application that can process a simple web request will be able to utilize them. The standard HTTP requests framework provides for a universal way of interacting with the billing system using standard methods of web communications (GET, POST, others). APIs are sometimes referred to as web services for their part in allowing connections between systems over the web.

Workflow

Workflow, particularly workflow automation, is a set of tools and methodologies that facilitate the efficient communication, and processing of data between people or systems. Its function with regard to a billing system is to provide the means to interface between the billing system and other systems or processes that are not supported by the billing system out of the box. Workflow can be internal or external to a billing system and provides dynamic, expanded, or reactionary functionally not offered by the core-billing engine. Such functionality includes approvals, custom logging, accessing third-party data, event/webhook-based actions, custom wrapped API endpoints, and custom served user interfaces among others.

Workflow tools typically provide a method of graphically representing all steps in a workflow including data elements, data transformations, integrations, tasks, and notifications.

ETL

ETL – Extract, Transform, and Load – refers to a method of getting information from a source system into a target system, and is a critical component of system implementation and replacement projects. ETL is a vendor-agnostic term for the generic process of gathering data, objects, resources, or information from a source system, modifying it to a format understood by the target system, and then moving or loading it into the target system.

Data extraction is facilitated by available reports, export tools, and APIs in the source system. The format of the source data is typically not consistent with the target’s requirements and therefore requires treatment before it can be used as input.

Billing system migrations often require extensive ETL work that is typically accomplished by ETL tools, database manipulation tools, workflow, custom programming, and APIs.

People, Process & Technology of Application Connectivity

People

Only two teams are directly responsible for the Application UI | API | WF, but all enterprise organizations enjoy the benefits.

The IT folks are the flag-bearers for application connections, while the Operations organization relies on it from an order management perspective.

Process

ATG maintains a set of more than 100 key business processes to support the management of Customers and Revenue for Service Providers. Eight of these processes originate, or are impacted by, the Application UI | API | WF functions. Below are the key processes that are touched in this domain, categorized by the organizational unit that owns the process(es):

FINANCE - BILLING

Payment Processing

The steps taken to process different payment methods from customers.

FINANCE - BILLING

Invoice Finishing & Delivery

Typically, billing engines produce raw invoice or statement data. Often, external applications are used to package this data for presentation on a paper invoice, electronic distribution, or alternate media. Most billing engines have rudimentary invoice presentation capability.

FINANCE - BILLING

Subscription Management

The processes a company uses to manage complex customer subscription attributes, including recurring billing, IN Proration (service sign up), OUT Proration (service disconnect/cancel), and associated usage, recurring, and non-recurring processing.

FINANCE - BILLING

SOX/Regulatory Compliance

The ability to provide proof of internal controls to prevent fraud and material misstatements.

FINANCE - BILLING

System Auditability

Provides assurance that source system data is accurate, and a paper trail exists from a transaction to financial statements.

LEGAL

Export Compliance Processing

Managing and adhering to the federal and international export compliance requirements.

I.T.

Cross-Training of Monetization Ecosystem Components

Process for training organizational resources

ALL

Daily, Periodic, or Ad Hoc Reporting (ETL, Report, Dashboard)

Movement of data between domains to create a single source of truth for reporting and dashboarding. Includes key metrics such as revenue analytics and other KPIs

Technology

The technology used for this domain is broken into two categories - BPM Engine and iPaaS.

Business Process Management (BPM) Engines, or sometimes BPM Suites, are like Workforce applications on steroids. The emphasis is on coordinating tasks, both manual and automated, across all company resources in the same manner. This means companies don't need to create separate workflows, use task-specific coding language.

BPM Suites, the leading form of BPM-enabling technologies, coordinate work across all resources in the same manner; there isn't a specialized language for human performed work vs machine performed work. There is one workflow technology, embedded in the suite, that coordinates the interactions between all resources – human, machine, and information – doing all forms of work including routine tasks, decisions, collaborative activities, research, casework, etc. Thus, a BPMS includes a more advanced form of workflow. Furthermore, workflow is just 1 of 10 technologies found in a BPM Suite. Some of the other critical technologies in a BPMS are BAM (Business Activity Monitoring), rule engines, UI generation, and a graphical authoring environment.

iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) is, simply put, a platform for building and deploying integrations within the cloud and between the cloud and enterprise - this, according to iPaaS vendor MuleSoft.

Providing further definition and specificity to the iPaaS category, here are a number of key functions to look for. These include tools and technologies that support the execution of integration flows, the development and life cycle management of integrations, the management and monitoring of application flows, governance, and essential cloud features such as multitenancy, elasticity and self-provisioning.

Key Connectivity / Integration Vendors

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ESSENTIALS

Founded: 2006
HQ: San Francisco, CA
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.mulesoft.com
Delivery Method: Cloud

OVERVIEW

MuleSoft’s mission is to connect the world’s applications, data and devices. MuleSoft makes connecting anything easy with their Anypoint Platform™, the only complete integration platform for SaaS, SOA and APIs, both on-premises and in the cloud. Thousands of organizations use MuleSoft to innovate faster, transform their business, and gain competitive advantage.

PRODUCT & SERVICES:

  • Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
  • Software as a Service (SaaS)
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

TARGET MARKET

MuleSoft tends to target companies in industries including financial services, government, healthcare, higher education, insurance, media & telecommunications, and retail, ranging from emerging brands to Global 500 enterprises.

CUSTOMERS

  • Unilever
  • Cisco
  • Intuit
  • Tesla
  • Nestle
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ESSENTIALS

Founded: 2014
HQ: Cincinnati, OH
Company Type: Private
Website: www.enosix.com
Delivery Method: Cloud

OVERVIEW

enosix is a provider of real-time integration solutions between front-end platforms and complex SAP systems to unlock data and surface business processes without the use of traditional middleware or ETL tools. enosix has developed a patent-pending integration solution that they believe is instrumental in the customer experience economy. Their solutions can help businesses deliver on their customer promises, accelerating the digital transformation of the businesses.

PRODUCT & SERVICES:

  • Salesforce Integrations
  • SAP Integrations

TARGET MARKET

enosix targets organizations primarily in the manufacturing, software, energy, and biotech industries that are generally medium to large enterprises.

CUSTOMERS

  • Stanley Black & Decker
  • Verso
  • Digital Globe
  • Shure
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ESSENTIALS

Founded: 2004
HQ: Alameda, CA
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.jitterbit.com
Delivery Method: Cloud

OVERVIEW

Jitterbit’s API integration platform enables companies to rapidly connect to on-premises, SaaS, and cloud applications while simultaneously infusing artificial intelligence into any business process. Jitterbit has been in business and an industry leader for more than 10 years with 50,000 users that trust Jitterbit to connect the digital systems they use every day. Jitterbit is a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform-as-a-Service. They are also ranked #1 in Customer Satisfaction for Cloud Data Integration on G2Crowd.

PRODUCT & SERVICES:

  • Data, Cloud, and Business Process Integration
  • Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)
  • Application Programming Interfaces (APIs)

TARGET MARKET

Jitterbit targets organizations in many industries of any size that have a need for integration and APIs.

CUSTOMERS

  • Bayer
  • Epicor
  • Fujifilm
  • Xerox
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ESSENTIALS

Founded: 1993
HQ: Redwood City, CA
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.informatica.com
Delivery Method: Cloud

OVERVIEW

Informatica is an independent provider of data integration software. They assist organizations around the world to realize their information potential and drive top business imperatives. Worldwide, over 5,000 enterprises depend on Informatica to leverage their information assets from devices to mobile to social to big data residing on-premise, in the Cloud, and across social networks.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

  • Big Data Management
  • Cloud Integration
  • Data Integration
  • Informatica Platform
  • Integration Platform as a Service
  • Master Data Management

TARGET MARKET

Informatica tends to target customers on the Fortune 100 list within a broad mix of industries.

CUSTOMERS

  • AutoTrader.com
  • Citrix
  • EMC
  • GSK
  • Thrifty Car Rental
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ESSENTIALS

Founded: 2001
HQ: Berwyn, PA
Company Type: Public
Website: www.boomi.com
Delivery Method: Cloud

OVERVIEW

Dell Boomi, a business unit of Dell, is the first and only integration solution built in the cloud, to fully exploit the value of the cloud. Organizations of all sizes—from small businesses to the largest global enterprises—trust Dell Boomi to quickly connect any combination of cloud and on-premises applications. Leading SaaS players and enterprise customers such as salesforce.com, NetSuite, Taleo, oneworld, AAA, and NASDAQ rely on Dell Boomi to accelerate time to market, increase sales, and eliminate the challenges associated with integration.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

  • Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS)
  • Master Data Management (MDM)
  • Digital Transformation
  • Workflow Automation
  • Cloud Integration

TARGET MARKET

Boomi looks to SMBs and enterprises that are wanting to move their core infrastructure to the cloud.

CUSTOMERS

  • 23andMe
  • LinkedIn
  • Dropbox
  • Moderna
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ESSENTIALS

Founded: 2005
HQ: Redwood City, CA
Company Type: Public
Website: www.talend.com
Delivery Method: Cloud

OVERVIEW

Talend is an industry leader in data integration and data integrity. Talend Data Fabric is a platform that seamlessly combines an extensive range of data integration and governance capabilities to actively manage the health of corporate information.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

  • Talend Data Fabric
  • Application & API
  • Data Integration
  • Data Integrity & Governance
  • Powered by Talend Trust Score
  • Stitch

TARGET MARKET

Talend targets a broad spectrum of customers in both size and industry.

CUSTOMERS

  • Toyota
  • Citi
  • Domino's
  • L'Oreal
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ESSENTIALS

Founded: 2012
HQ: Oakland, CA
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.fivetran.com
Delivery Method: Cloud

OVERVIEW

Fivetran offers over 150 fully managed and automated connectors for databases, applications, events, files, and functions. Their integrations are built for analysts who have the need for data centralized and do not want to spend time maintaining their own pipelines or ETL systems.

PRODUCT & SERVICES:

  • Data Integration
  • ETL

TARGET MARKET

Fivetran targets a broad spectrum of customers in both size and industry.

CUSTOMERS

  • Databricks
  • DocuSign
  • Autodesk
  • Asics
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ESSENTIALS

Founded: 2016
HQ: Missoula, MT
Company Type: Privately Held
Website: www.fusekit.io
Delivery Method: Cloud

OVERVIEW

FuseKit® was born at Advanced Technology Group (ATG), a global, tools-driven Quote to Cash consulting leader. It was created to provide massive efficiency gains to our nearly 500 consultants working in the Salesforce ecosystem. The initial set of customers were our own people - our Implementation Consultants, Developers, Data Migration Specialists, and Deployment teams, typically working on over 100 concurrent projects. FuseKit® has grown from there to be embedded at some of the top technology companies on the planet. It is a cloud-based toolkit containing tools for Salesforce administration, configuration, development, deployments, and data migrations.

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

  • Data Migrations
  • Salesforce Admin & Configure
  • Salesforce Deployments

TARGET MARKET

FuseKit® is available to any client of ATG, Cognizant and any of its subsidiaries

CUSTOMERS

  • ValPak
  • Compass
  • PolSource
  • Fastly

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