Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 25% of Americans struggled to pay their bills on time, and almost 80% reported living paycheck to paycheck. Mindful of these difficulties, a leading US wireless carrier decided to reimagine its billing and collections technology to better analyze and address individual customer circumstances. Implementing these changes was not possible using the carrier’s legacy monolith application, which was already overburdened handling billing along with many other services. The carrier engaged Wipro to develop a new, microservices-based platform that would improve its agility, accelerate its time to market, and deliver an improved customer experience.
The wireless carrier had long used VMware Tanzu and was considering a redesign using Cloud Foundry and a Kubernetes stack. Wipro, an Advanced VMware Tanzu partner, introduced the idea of leveraging VMware Tanzu Kubernetes Grid (TKG) to provision, operate, and manage enterprise-grade Kubernetes clusters.
Leveraging Wipro’s “Tanzu Center of Excellence” in Plano, Texas, and working from several remote locations, Wipro leveraged TKG to create multiple microservices that worked with the carrier’s proprietary COBOL-based application. Microservices aren’t typically built for such integration, and there was no off-the-shelf solution. Building resiliency, auto-scaling, and connections to the COBOL app was a challenge, but the resulting solution delivered the power of a microservice with the capability to function like a legacy application.
With the new platform in place, the carrier used the rule engine to recommend the appropriate interaction based on multiple scenarios. For instance, if the customer had missed only one bill, the system might recommend a simple phone call to check on the customer’s well-being. If the customer had missed multiple bills, the AI-enabled engine might recommend more-serious interventions, from official notices to fees to engaging a collection agency.
By analyzing the data and recommending potential courses of action, the new system enabled the carrier to take the appropriate action with a personalized engagement based on the customer’s unique situation, improving the experience for all involved.
The new microservices architecture has enabled the carrier to make more changes to its billing system, and to make them more quickly, without impacting other parts of its infrastructure. Using in-house cloud resources has also generated cost savings, a valuable consideration for the carrier amid difficult financial times. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause economic hardship across America, even more customers have been unable to make their payments on time. Using this system to analyze and address each situation individually and appropriately has improved the carrier’s customer relations and made it easier to track specific cases.