ABC Bill Processing¹ is an industry leader in managing commercial accounts receivables, focused on providing an exceptionally high level of customer service at competitive prices. ABC services several hundred commercial clients with annual receivables exceeding $1.2 billion, while handling the billing and collection activity of a combined customer base of over 100,000.
ABC operated their business using three core systems. Continued use of these legacy systems posed significant challenges for ABC’s plans for growth and for their need to adapt to a changing business environment. The challenges included the need to provide real-time data to limit the risk of over-payments, improve operational support capability and efficiency, limit risks of future system changes and enhancements, and the elimination of work-around processes need to accommodate the use of the legacy systems.
Options considered included enhancing the legacy systems, a custom software development effort to replace the legacy systems and the possibility of implementing commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) created specifically for the Commercial Accounts Receivables industry.
Factors impacting their decision included—
- Limitations of the legacy systems
- Protection of proprietary intellectual property
- The need to implement future enhancements and additional integrations quickly
It became obvious that the limitations of the legacy systems made further enhancements impractical. The legacy systems operated on different technology platforms with different user interfaces and they lacked documentation which made operational support and employee training inefficient. Batch processing would not support the need for real-time data updates. It was clear the business processes put in place solely to make possible the continued use of the legacy systems would have to remain as long as the legacy systems were in use.
Additionally, use of COTS would put ABC at the mercy of the schedule of the COTS vendor to implement future enhancements and integrations. Those vendors would also not guarantee the security of ABC’s proprietary intellectual property. Based on these factors, ABC decided a customized solution was warranted and asked Teksouth to develop it.
The enterprise solution developed by Teksouth allows ABC to accomplish more work with fewer resources. The solution includes a document management store, retrieval and workflow that accommodates anticipated growth without the need to add FTEs. Data is no longer processed in batch and the system provides real-time updates that eliminate the risk of processing over-payments caused by aged information.
The new system is fully documented and future enhancements and system integrations can be made with confidence and in a time frame that best suits ABC. Support of the new system is simplified since it consolidates three different technologies into one common technology. And user documentation simplifies the process of training employees. Since it was developed as a custom application, ABC was able to preserve the secrecy of their intellectual property.
To date, the recently completed solution has been deployed for use by the Customer Service department. All areas are using the document management portion of the solution. While there are additional department deployments in the near future, measurable results have been observed. Customer Service has seen a fifty-percent reduction in the FTEs needed to perform the same work performed before the new system was deployed.
Technical, Administrative, and User documentation is assisting in training new employees and is aiding developers supporting the custom code owned by ABC.
Summary of Benefits to Date
Increased Efficiency—Less time needed to collect a debt.
Improved Accuracy—Manual processes are now automated.
Reduced Risks—Real-time data access eliminates over-payments.
Added Flexibility—Staff can be scheduled according to skill set.
Lower Cost—It takes less staff to perform increased work.
¹ ABC Bill Processing is a pseudonym. Actual client name is withheld.
Legacy systems were inflexible, difficult to maintain and would not support anticipated growth.
- Application development
- Business intelligence
- Data management
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Microsoft .Net
- Increased efficiency
- Improved accuracy
- Reduced risks