What’s in a Bill?

Everyone hates getting bills in the mail, but we all realize that they are a necessary evil. Have you ever wondered who does the tremendously exciting job of creating those bills? We do! Matsch has been providing billing services for many, many things over the years and has shined in the areas of telecommunications/IT and wireless billing.

For the past 25 years we have been developing (and supporting in-house) the software we design. It is no small wonder that our customers value our service, as so many firms are outsourcing this sort of thing. Our customers realize that when it really matters (we are talking about money after all!), it is best to work with people you can actually talk to! Since billing is so important to all sorts of companies, it makes sense to work with a company who truly strives to provide accurate billing services to both internal and external customers.

In recent years we have provided billing applications for wireless resellers (think Mobile Virtual Network Operator or MVNO), state and local governments, colleges and universities, and hospitals. We also provide internal billing or charge-back for a variety of other IT services, including servers, virtual machines (VM’s), SAN storage, networking, and support. Providing accurate, well-organized bills and reporting enables managers to affect P&L line items in a way they’d otherwise be unable to.

We subscribe to the school of thought that “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”, so if your company is looking to better manage its telecommunications/IT resources and thereby save money, by all means, contact us!

VoiceCon 2010

Having just returned from VoiceCon 2010 in Orlando, (known as ‘Enterprise Connect’ going forward) we are attempting to digest the vast amount of information presented during the conference.  As this was our first visit to VoiceCon, we were unsure of the audience the show would attract.  It became clear almost immediately that the show is targeted to large enterprises with corresponding IT budgets!  The following represent some of the ‘takeaways’ from Matsch’s perspective.

  • Most of the prominent exhibitors are touting what we would refer to as ‘Complete Solutions’ to enterprise communications needs, voice being just one of the communication platforms.
  • There was an abundance of ‘Telepresence’ (aka ‘video conferencing’) providers.  Can you say ‘Bandwidth’?
  • Avaya, Cisco, IBM and Siemens each provided demonstrations of their UC (unified communications) solutions.  Though all claimed to integrate with existing components of enterprise’s communications platform, only IBM successfully persuaded us of their willingness to act as an actual integrator.
  • SIP trunking is a hot topic these days, with many of the attendees trying to get their arms around this apparently complex technology.  We question the validity of SIP in enterprise communications, as nearly all those we talked to spoke of the complexities involved.  As we all know, those complexities seem to have a way of ‘eating’ much (and in some cases ALL) of the savings that some technologies promise.  Full disclosure: We don’t fully understand SIP currently.  As with any new technology, it will undoubtedly make sense for some and not for others.

Keeping abreast of developments in telecommunications is part of our ongoing commitment to our customers.  Feel free to drop us a line with any questions pertaining to the above.  We’d be happy to help you in any way we can!

Matsch In The News..

The following is an article published in Telephony magazine about our services for Ruth Goldman with the State of Michigan Department of Social Services.

Eye On The Customer

When her call accounting system started to crash two years ago, Ruth Goldman knew it was time to upgrade. That was the easy decision. Determining what to upgrade to would take some time; not a choice to be taken lightly. For Goldman is telecom administrator for Michigan’s Family Dependent Agency, a Lansing-based office that delivers Medicaid, food stamps, foster care adoption, and other services.
The new call accounting system, Goldman knew, potentially would have to serve up to 153 statewide agency offices, 118 phone switches, and 16,000 employees. The solution would also have to deliver functionality not available on the agency’s 12-year-old Stout system: call detail records by extension number; traffic analysis to help the agency optimize and speedily service its voice network; and less hand-holding.
“The most cost-effective solution, we decided, was to outsource the service,” says Goldman.
The agency, with a nod from the state’s Department of Management and Budget, selected Net-Phacs from Matsch Systems (Grand Rapids, MI) for a pilot project. The service lets users access call detail records by logging onto a password-protected Web site. Call data is collected via a modem (a Linux-based buffering device) connected to each office’s PBX. The modems transmit the call data to a Net-Phacs server at Matsch Systems where the records are formatted.
The Web service offers daily traffic reports for local and long distance calls, 800 numbers dialed, intraLATA/interLATA calls, and directory assistance, among other data. The service also lets agency personnel download and email reports to colleagues – an especially useful feature for telecom budgeting, says Goldman.
Some 32 agency offices are involved in the pilot. After the trial, the state office aims to request competitive bids from several call accounting service providers. Judging from Goldman’s assessment, Net-Phacs looks to be the odds-on favorite.
“It’s a great management tool,” she says. “The service lets us know, for example, whether we have a shortage or surplus of phones and trunks. And it can tell us that some trunks aren’t working. That’s helped to cut back on finger-pointing and speed repairs when problems arise.”
Also a key benefit, she says, is the service’s fixed monthly fee. Matsch Systems charges for call records based on the number of phone extensions connected to the Web service. Other call accounting services, says Goldman, charge based on the number of calls, which for the state agency can vary widely from month to month.
Can the service use some improvements? “None that I think of,” says Goldman. “It’s very user-friendly.”

This article is reprinted with permission. To view the original article, visit Callcentermagazine.com

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