eTOM Order to Payment
In this blog I will focus on the eTOM ‘Order to Payment’ flow. This process deals with all activities which convert the customer request or an accepted offer into a ‘Ready for use’ product.
This process involves capturing customer order information, triggering the relevant provisioning process and handing over the order to the Service layer. Once the product is successfully provisioned, the customer order is closed and the customer satisfaction is validated.
The following eTOM Level 2 functions are involved in this process flow:
- CRM _ Support & Readiness
- Customer Interface Management
- Marketing Fulfillment Response
- Order Handling
- Retention & Loyalty
- Bill Invoice Management
- SM&O Support & Readiness
- Service Configuration & Activation
- RM&O Support & Readiness
- Resource Provisioning
- S/PRM Support & Readiness
- S/P Requisition Management
- S/P Settlement & Payments Management
This scenario is relevant for products offered to the mass customer base. Pre-order feasibility check verifies whether the requested product can be offered to the customer based on the service / resource availability, the product portfolio, and the customer’s configuration.
Pre-order feasibility check would not generally involve the reservation of resources prior to issuance of customer order. However, there might be a reservation of some critical resources, depending on the service provider’s policies and procedures. Here is the overall process flow:
Let’s look at the processes involved in more detail to see how they can be implemented in SalesForce.
The are several options for the customer to initiate an information request. The most common would be via a contact form on service provider’s website. In this case, the ‘Web to Lead’ functionality of Salesforce could be utilized.
There are also several apps available on the Salesforce Appexchange which will take an email and create a lead from it (refer Email to Lead or Email2Lead or LeadFromEmail).
Of course, Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) can enter new lead information directly into Salesforce whilst taking enquiries from the call centre (note that Salesforce provides CTI integration designed to streamline this process).
Descriptions of the processes involved in the Order to Payment flow are presented below with some references as to how practically they could be implemented based on the Salesforce platform.
The purpose of this process is to manage all contacts between potential or existing customers and the enterprise. It deals with the identification of the contact, its development, enhancement and update.
Once an offer is accepted by the customer, additional contacts, such as a billing contact may need to be setup on the customer’s account. Salesforce provides the capability of adding contacts as needed, as well as providing different views of the customer account and associated contacts (for example, a member of the sales team may be restricted from viewing the custom’s billing contact; it may only be visible to the finance team).
Acquire Customer Data
The purpose of this process is to capture and record all pertinent customer data required for the initiation, realization and deployment of the agreed sales proposal.
Further information is gathered on the customer and entered on their account. Such information is comprised of (but not restricted to) the following:
- Billing contact and address
- Phone, email and mobile contacts
- Customer’s legal entity name and company ID (if a business)
- Payment terms
- Any special terms and conditions
The standard Salesforce object ‘Contact’ can be used to capture this data; customized fields are easily added as required.
The purpose of the Authorize Credit processes is to assess a customer’s credit worthiness in support of managing customer risk and company exposure to bad debt. This process is responsible for initiating customer credit checks and for authorizing credit and credit terms in accordance with established enterprise risk and policy guidelines.
A credit check may be required depending on the size of the transaction and the service provider’s policy on extending credit to customers. This can be supported in Salesforce by implementing a business process flow that would involve co-ordination with the finance team, whose responsibility it is to carry out the required checks. Once the credit checks are complete, the service provider will agree on a credit limit with the customer and this will be recorded as part of the contract with the customer. Details will be added to the ‘Account’ object in Salesforce.
Determine Customer Order Feasibility
The purpose of the Determine Customer Order Feasibility process is to check the availability and/or the feasibility of providing and supporting standard and customized product offerings where specified as part of the standard product offering process flow, to a customer.
There are three aspects to qualifying the customer’s order request. Firstly, a technical qualification of the order takes place. This involved validating that the combination of products selected by the customer is technically sound and can be delivered. Typically, the service provider’s provisioning system would have the capability of performing this check. For non-complex cases, rules could be setup in Salesforce to perform this validation.
Secondly, a check of the availability of the products needs to be made. For physical products (eg mobile handsets) this involves checking the inventory levels, and if available, optionally placing a reservation on that product. Where the order involves provisioning of capacity in the network, a request to the provisioning systems needs to be made to ascertain the availability of the resources.
Thirdly, the availability of resources needed to implement the customer’s order needs to be confirmed. The scheduling system can be consulted to advise a timeframe for carrying out the work.
Various means are available to interface Salesforce into third party systems in order to confirm the feasibility of the customer’s order. These interfaces can be customized to suit a variety of third party systems.
Issue Customer Orders
The purpose of the Issue Customer Orders processes is to issue correct and complete customer orders. These processes ensure that all necessary information about the Customer Order (for example, type of product, install address, special requirements, etc.) is available.
Salesforce validation rules can be setup on the customer orders object to ensure all required information is available. Any special conditions or requirement on the customers’ order can be marked and special work flow rules activated to handle the non-standard process if required.
Issue Service Orders
The purpose of the Issue Service Orders processes is to issue correct and complete service orders. The service orders may be required to satisfy pertinent customer order information received, may arise as a result of requests for service provisioning to satisfy service problem recovery activities, may arise to alleviate service performance issues, or may arise as a result of information received from suppliers/partners in relations to specific services.
Where the order involves provisioning of capacity in the network, a request to provision that infrastructure capacity will be made to the service provider’s provisioning system. Salesforce integrations should be in place to pass on requests to downstream provisioning and activation systems as required. Workflows will support these interactions.
Issue Resource Orders
The purpose of the Issue Resource Orders processes is to issue correct and complete resource orders. The resource orders may be required to satisfy pertinent service order information received, may arise as a result of requests for resource provisioning to satisfy resource trouble recovery activities, may arise to alleviate resource performance issues, or may arise as a result of information received from suppliers/partners in relations to specific resources. These processes assess the information contained in the service order, through a resource order request, initiating resource process request or supplier/partner initiated request, to determine the associated resource orders that need to be issued.
Salesforce integrations should be in place to pass on requests to downstream provisioning and activation systems as required. Workflows will support these interactions.
Allocate and Install Resource
The objective of the Allocate & Install Resource processes is to allocate specific resources required to support a specific service. These activities include but are not limited to:
- Investigating the ability to be able to satisfy specific service orders as a part of a feasibility check;
- Reserving or allocating specific resources in response to issued resource orders;
- Confirming availability of, or initiating an order for, equipment or software with a Supplier/Partner
- Installing and commissioning specific resources following delivery.
Depending on business rules, and on any specific levels of commitment contained in the initiating service order, these processes may reserve specific resources linked to the initiating service order for a period of time, and releasing them when the time period has expired.
Integration to resource reservation systems will be needed to support this process. These integrations can be setup in Salesforce. In addition, interfaces to partner systems may also be required. Again, Salesforce can be configured to provide these interfaces.
Initiate S/P Requisition
The Initiate S/P Requisition Order processes are responsible for generating a correctly formatted and specified S/P requisition order, and issuing this to the selected supplier/partner. These orders can be composed by Salesforce, issued to the relevant supplier or partner and tracked to monitor progress until completed.
Receive & Accept S/P Requisition
Receive & Accept S/P Requisition records delivery of S/P requisitions, and arranges for any acceptance testing or commissioning required. These processes facilitate and support coordination of internal activities with activities performed by the supplier/partner, that are required to:
- Configure a bought-in S/P product;
- Bring a bought-in S/P product into service.
- Restore a bought-in S/P product to service.
These co-ordinations can be accomplished by putting in place the required process flows and triggers within Salesforce.
Track & Manage Customer Order Handling
The objective of the Track & Manage Customer Order Handling processes is to ensure customer provisioning activities are assigned, managed and tracked efficiently to meet the agreed committed availability date. Responsibilities of these processes include, but are not limited to:
- Scheduling, assigning and coordinating customer provisioning related activities;
- Generating the respective service order creation request(s) to Issue Service Orders based on specific customer orders;
- Escalating status of customer orders in accordance with local policy;
- Undertaking necessary tracking of the execution process;
- Adding additional information to an existing customer order;
- Modifying information in an existing customer order;
- Modifying the customer order status;
- Canceling a customer order when the initiating sales request is cancelled;
- Monitoring the jeopardy status of customer orders, and escalating customer orders as necessary
- Indicating completion of a customer order by modifying the customer order status
Salesforce features such as events, activities, tasks and workflows would ensure that all these requirements could be implemented and supported.
Configure and Activate Resource
The objective of the Configure & Activate Resource Processes is to configure and activate the specific resources allocated against an issued resource order. These processes are responsible for, but not limited to:
- Assessing and planning the approach to be undertaken for configuration and activation;
- Re-use standard configuration and activation processes applicable to specific resources;
- Providing notifications as required if the activation activity requires a planned outage or is likely to initiate false specific resource alarm event notifications
- Updating the information contained in the resource inventory as to the configuration of specific resources and their status.
At the successful conclusion of these activities, the status of the specific resources will be changed from allocated to activated, which means they are in use.
Salesforce features such as notifications and workflows would ensure that all these requirements could be implemented and supported.
The responsibility of the Test Resource processes is to test specific resources to ensure they are operating within normal parameters. The objective is to verify whether the resources are working correctly and meet the appropriate performance levels. If these tests succeed, the specific resources will be marked as in-service which means the specific resources are available for use.
Testing resources is an activity that can be coordinated by Salesforce, but actual execution of the tests would be the responsibility of a related external system or process.
Allocate Specific Service Parameters to Services
The purpose of the Allocate Specific Service Parameters to Services processes is to issue service identifiers for new services. Specific business rules setup in Salesforce could determine which parameters need to be assigned, or alternately this could be the responsibility of the provisioning systems. The allocation of the required service parameters would be the responsibility of the Service Provider’s provisioning system.
Implement, Configure & Activate Service
These processes are responsible for, but not limited to:
- Assessing and planning the approach to be undertaken for implementation, configuration and activation;
- Re-using standard implementation, configuration and activation processes applicable to specific services;
- Implementing, configuring and reconfiguring specific services, including customer premises equipment if part of the service provider offering.
- Providing notifications as required if the implementation, configuration and activation activity requires a planned outage or is likely to initiate false specific service alarm event notifications
- Updating the information contained in the service inventory as to the configuration of specific services and their status.
Salesforce features such as tasks, activities and workflows would ensure that all these requirements could be implemented and supported.
Test Service End to End
The responsibility of the Test Service End-to-End processes is to test specific services to ensure all components are operating within normal parameters, and that the service is working to agreed performance levels before its activation for the customer.
Testing of the end-to-end processes is an activity that can be coordinated by Salesforce, but actual execution of the tests would be the responsibility of a related external system or process.
Complete Customer Order
The purpose of the Complete Customer Order processes is to manage customer information and interactions after customer contracts or associated service orders have been finalized and during the order completion phase. The customer may participate in commissioning or end-to-end testing and then satisfactory delivery. The customer is trained in the functionality and benefits of the solution.
Customer interaction can be facilitated via Salesforce capabilities such as Chatter. Notes and general information relating to the customer can be kept in Chatter to provide an ongoing audit of the exchanges with the customer.
Close Customer Order
The objective of the Close Customer Order processes is to close a customer order when the customer provisioning activities have been completed.
The Salesforce object ‘Order’ can be implemented to track the lifecycle of individual customer orders. These orders can be added as a related list to the customer’s account.
Create Customer Bill Invoice
This process contains the invoicing components of the Service Provider’s business. This includes the rendering/formatting of an invoice, the delivery of an electronic copy of an invoice to customers and the processes that verify invoice quality prior to distribution to the customer in electronic form, or to the process responsible for physical invoice production and distribution.
Third party applications exist to provide invoicing capability to salesforce. Alternately, Salesforce can be integrated to the customer’s billing system to trigger generation of the customer invoices.
Validate Customer Satisfaction
This process validates that the customer is capable of realizing maximum value from the operation or use of the solution and that intense Service Provider involvement is no longer needed to manage the solution.
Close Service Order
These processes monitor the status of all open service orders, and recognize that a service order is ready to be closed when the status is changed to completed.
The Salesforce object ‘Order’ can be implemented to track the lifecycle of individual customer orders.
Close Resource Order
These processes monitor the status of all open resource orders, and recognize that a resource order is ready to be closed when the status is changed to completed.
The Salesforce object ‘Order’ can be implemented to track the lifecycle of individual resource orders.
In the next blog I will be focusing on the business flow for Usage to Payment. This process deals with all activities related to the handling of the product/service usage.