The hurtling competitiveness of the cellular phone industry serves as an excellent example of the ultra complexity that is central to the charging and billing processes for telecommunications, utility, finance and other industries in today’s global world. Consider that a single cellular bill must include tracking and calculating the costs for hundreds of phone calls, thousands of text messages, and millions of downloaded bytes from the web. Further, the applied charges depend on one or more combinations of billing rates that the subscriber selects from literally scores of plans (some of which might be otherwise obsolete, yet are grandfathered in from years back) – all this complexity for just one cellular phone subscriber for a single month. The historical method for such detail-driven statement processing is to capture the call, text message or download event as it occurs and, then, process the rating calculations for each event when bills are generated.
This methodology, which is relevant to postpaid subscribers, burdens the mobile provider with as much as several days of batch processing each month. In many cases, all this is done using several charging and billing systems that serve different subscriber segments or services.
However, perhaps the largest challenge involves the contrasting nature of prepaid and postpaid cellular subscribers. Of the more than 5.5 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, 75 percent are prepaid.1 This means that4.1 billion mobile accounts must be monitored and charged in real time, transaction by transaction, to ensure that usage does not surpass the account’s prepaid balance. For most providers, this requires a separate billing process, which requires real-time charging.
All these rating and charging considerations can make it difficult or impossible to offer convergent billing plans. Additionally, because this process routinely involves millions and millions of transactions, scalability is a challenge and the provider is hampered in its persistent need to create differentiating marketing campaigns.
Orga Systems converges multisourced billingsystems;
generates ALL charges in real time
Since 1994, Orga Systems, with more than 20 worldwide sales and support offices, as well as delivery centers, has a long history as a pioneer in GlobalSystem for Mobile Communications (GSM) billing. Its premier offering, OPSC Gold, is an end-to-end billing andfinancial-management solution for all business sectors with high-volume billing requirements, for example, the telecommunications, financial or energy industry. OPSC Gold combines prepaid and postpaid billing into one converged system that provides real-time charging capabilities for all services across multiple networks.
Real-time billing not only benefits prepaid subscribers, it also significantly reduces statement processing for postpaid (contract)subscribers by rating each transaction at thepoint of event capture, leaving the monthly statement processing with the sole task of aggregating all the individually rated transactions per subscriber. Orga Systems further streamlines its bill-processing software through a sophisticated in-memory database design, InCore, that currently represents one of the fastest data technology worldwide (as measured by access speed). Because of all this billing efficiency, leading tier 1 operators with more than 65 million subscribers rely on OPSC Gold to handle their billing on a single platform.
Image: Orga Systems OPSC Gold exhibits linear scalability on POWER7 processor-based servers that maintain constant latency under every condition tested.
Soaring transaction volumes create a need formultirating node and billing on IBM POWER7
Voice, data and text messaging are growing significantly in volume per subscriber. Value-added services (VAS) and machine-to-machine (M2M) applications add even more transactions and tariff rules to the complexity of prepaid and postpaid billing processes. This means that scalability and latency issues are also becoming more critical. For these reasons, Orga Systems performed a series of OPSC Gold benchmark tests on the latest IBMÂ® POWERÂ® processor-based systems.
The performance benchmark recently took place at the IBM Center in Montpellier, France. Orga Systems started the engagement by taking advantage of the IBM Virtual Loaner Program (VLP) to port its OPSC solution to IBM Power Systems. This was a huge time and resource saver, OrgaSystems was able to access POWER7 processor-based systems within a couple of hours at no charge. This enabled them to begin the porting work on time without the burden and overhead of setting up an onsite development environment. The porting was then finalized by the IBM Innovation Center team in Ehningen, Germany, which also conducted the first performance tests to ensure that the required scalability and performance could be achieved. Great care was taken to ensure that the benchmark workload represented transaction volumes for a150-million subscriber base. All transaction ratings were performed in real time on a single IBM POWER7Â® processor-based system. Outstanding rating latency was proven at less than 3.9 milliseconds for 99.96percent of all events. This number is particularly impressive when compared against latency ratings on the order of hundreds of milliseconds that can occur for some other billing systems. Similarly impressive through put numbers were shown for 10 million bills that were batch-processed in just one hour, each including 150 events. All these tests were enabled by Orga Systems multirating node technology ran in one to ten logical partitions (LPARs) using virtualization and IBM BladeCenterÂ® technology. As the chart on the previous page illustrates, Orga Systems’ OPSC Gold exhibits linear scalability on POWER7 processor-based servers that maintain constant latency under a wide range of conditions tested.
This impressively underlines Orga Systems’ capability to support the scale-as-you-go requirements for its customers who need future-proof solutions – merely by adding new blades. The perfect fi t of OPSC Gold (and its multirating node technology) running on this LPAR and virtualization-driven environment can make it possible to realize 33 percent savings on hardware costs.
IBM Power Systems: Scalable and resilient
Businesses demand powerful, flexible, reliable and secure computing solutions. The IBM Power Systems family of IBM POWER7 processor based systems is designed to provide outstanding performance, availability, scalability and dynamic-resource allocation. Unique IBM virtualization features allow you to process more information on a single server, creating the potential to save on total cost of system ownership, as well as space and energy costs.
In addition, IBM Software exploits the capabilities of POWER7 and is integrated with IBM Systems Software and Power System, delivering greater value across the IBM Software Portfolio. The goal of integrated hardware and software is to deliver optimized system innovations – that leverage the strengths of both. POWER7 supports many of the world’s most popular operating systems – IBM AIX, LinuxÂ® and IBM i and is scalable to meet the demands of companies with small numbers of users requiring very small systems – or enterprises with thousands of users who demand very large systems. It offers the flexibility to choose the right solution, and it accommodates an incredible variety of processing demands.
Orga Systems has long had a market-leading, high-transaction billing system that offers real-time processing and convergence for prepaid and postpaid subscribers. Based on its InCore database technology, OPSC Gold has also always enjoyed a reputation for being one of the fastest billing systems in the mobile telecommunications sector. The recent benchmarks performed on the IBM POWER7 processor-based platform have proven that OPSC Gold is even quicker (3.9 key performance indicator [KPI]), possibly faster than any of its competitors at the point of this benchmark.
Orga Systems achieved outstanding results with IBM – more than 150million subscribers handled on a single platform (replacing multiple legacy billing systems). This underlines Orga Systems market leadership and strengthens operators’ trust in its billing expertise.
For more information
To learn more about Orga Systems and IBM Power Systems and POWER7servers, contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following web sites:
ibm.com/systems/power (for IBM Business Partners) and
Orga Systems: www.orga-systems.com
To find out how IBM Innovation Centers can help IBM Business Partnerswith solution-development efforts, go to: ibm.com/partnerworld/iic
Trust proven scalability for dynamic market growth
Enjoy easy entry into new business segments
Minimize business risks with scale-as-you-grow approach
Optimize total cost of ownership (TCO) to ensure best business agility
© Copyright IBM Corporation 2011
IBM Systems and Technology Group
3039 Cornwallis Road
RTP, NC 27709
Produced in the United States of America, April 2011
All Rights Reserved
IBM, the IBM logo, ibm.com and Cognos are trademarks or registered trademarks of International Business Machines Corporation in the United States, other countries, or both. If these and other IBM trademarked terms are marked on their first occurrence in this information with a trademark symbol (® or â„¢), these symbols indicate U.S. registered or common law trademarks owned by IBM at thetime this information was published. Such trademarks may also be registered or common law trademarks in other countries. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the Web at ‘Copyright and trademark information’ at: ibm.com/legal/copytrade.shtml.
Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds in the United States, other countries, or both.
Other product, company or service names may be trademarks or service marks of others.
References in this publication to IBM products or services do not imply that IBM intends to make them available in all countries in which IBM operates.