Managing a GSM based IoT environment


Managing and controlling a few dozen or a few hundred GSM SIM’s can be tricky but managing a few thousand or even a few hundred thousand SIM’s becomes almost impossible without a purpose built tool. When it comes to large scale GSM environments, it doesn’t take much for things to start spiralling out of control. Not only do costs start to escalate quickly [for a number of reasons we discuss below] but managing the device inventory and associated meta data also becomes exceptionally complex.

Apex BI has a powerful IoT module within our TEM [Technology Expense Management] platform which is purpose built to solve the challenges faced by most organisations making use of GSM SIM cards within their IoT / M2M environments. In addition to being packed with powerful functionality, our platform also delivers rich, meaningful, actionable data which is available anytime, from anywhere. At present, our GSM IoT base consists of several hundred thousand GSM SIM’s in varying types of IoT / M2M devices.

When we first engaged with many of our existing IoT customers who use GSM SIM cards in their devices, many of them conveyed very similar financial, operational and procedural challenges / business needs, needs which they were all unable to overcome via traditional means such as the development of in-house of tools, the deployment and utilization of available carrier tools [both free and paid for] and also lastly, by throwing spreadsheets and people at the problems.

The common threads across our customers are as follows –

  • Increase revenue in a margin sensitive environment through mechanisms such as on-billing tools and operational enhancements derived from new insights gained.
  • Reduce expenditure and increase operational efficiency through corrective measures which use automated reporting and analytics to highlight things such as, tariff efficiency and inefficiency, contract performance, pooled data utilisation, carrier billing errors, fraud and abuse, incorrect device programming, excessive device communication, inefficient means of traffic routing, unused SIM’s, the need for product linked policy enforcement, roaming charges and several more.
  • Reduce the amount of time and resources invested in managing the SIM estate through automation and having on demand information available.
  • Enhance business continuity and mitigate risk as a result of critical information and processes residing in automated, secure and redundant software rather than people and or home grown tools.
  • Enable fact based decision making through the use of aggregated carrier cost and consumption data which correlates back to company specific meta data.
  • Create, link and maintain meta data links between unique SIM cards and other business critical information such as device information, consumption, costs, customer information, product information and financial information.

Financial Challenges Solved

  • Significant increase in financial insight via dashboards, reporting and trending which contains both cost and consumption.
  • Our customers have a single view into their IoT related GSM expenditure across all carriers. This includes both CDR’s [Call Detailed Records] as well as the invoices [Recurring Fixed, Recurring Variable and Once Off].
  • Daily CDR reporting [which is near real time] when combined with specific policy based automated alerting provides a significant reduction in fraud exposure and limits abuse.
  • Reporting at any level provides invaluable insight into profitability and loss across both IoT product sets and customers.
  • Reductions in revenue leakage.
  • Purpose built reports identify and highlight zero billing / unused SIM cards.
  • Budgeting tools provide more effective budgeting and forecasting.
  • Highlighting incorrect configuration of devices reduces costs.
  • Eradication of “non-business” related consumption events such as content charges, MMS, airtime transfers etc… reduces costs.
  • On hand availability of fact based data on which to substantiate carrier billing disputes.
  • Variance and commercial compliance reports provide quick comparisons across costs, tariffs, consumption, products, services and contracts.
  • Automated reporting feeds stakeholders with crucial financial information as and when they need it.
  • Tariff insight enables quick identification of legacy tariffs and highlights inefficient tariffs.

Operational Challenges Solved

  • Significant increase in operational insight due to dashboards, reporting and trending which in addition to containing costs and consumption also includes inventory and commercial information.
  • Business continuity is significantly enhanced as a result of our platform replacing a large number of manual tasks, manual tools and manual interventions with automated, redundant software.
  • MSISDN’s and or groups of MSISDN’s are associated [linked] to multiple data sources in order to provide a relevant and meta data rich reporting experience. Examples include CRM data, Billing application data, Inventory data, Product data etc…
  • Easily manage, onboard and track new MSISDN’s – supportive of business growth.
  • Data discrepancies between different systems are eradicated as we consolidate the data from multiple customer databases into our platform.
  • Automated reporting feeds stakeholders with crucial operational information as and when they need it.
  • Identify unassigned MSISDN’s [SIM’s not linked to customers]
  • Insight into trends by customer, business partner, carrier, product type etc…
  • Extensive APN reporting
    • Understand In and Out of Bundle usage
    • APN usage forecaster
    • Details per MSISDN on APN consumption and related costs
    • Public versus Corporate APN [Quickly ID MSISDN’s not using corporate APN]

For more information on how Apex BI can assist your organisation with management of your IoT environment, please click here.

The Power of Knowing

All IT & Telecom costs, consumption, services and trends across all providers, all business users and all locations in a single platform.