Web-based cloud billing system implemented
The Pinnacle project transitioned ITS from a client-server application billing system to a web-based cloud billing system that fully supports the University’s new voice-over-IP service deployed to 17,406 users. Launched in October 2017, Pinnacle supports 2,624 active business units on campus and billed more than $11,220,034 in the past year.
“The web-based cloud billing system improves workflow, data accuracy and operational efficiency and provides additional functionality,” said Danny Nguyen, Project Manager with ITS Communication Technologies.
Implemented in November 2005, Pinnacle v5 was built to support analog telephones.
“Pinnacle v5 was slow and painful to work with. It was a tool that people hated to have to use because it was so aggravating. Now the tool can be useful and it is leaps and bounds better today,” said Cheri Beasley, Customer Services Manager with Communication Technologies.
Moving to the latest Pinnacle version also enhanced the management of the University’s 911 emergency services.
For Communication Technologies end users, the upgrade made business better in multiple ways: ease of use through better navigation and functionality; ready access by being web-based and no longer requiring a separate desktop app; and improved speed.
For users in general, the upgrade increased security by using stronger password requirements; eliminated some complex processes, thereby saving time and reducing the possibility of errors; cleaned up charge codes, account numbers, subscribers and overall reporting; and eliminated obsolete services.
The upgrade reinvests for stability and future growth in multiple ways. It put ITS on the most recent version, enabling the vendor to support ITS and ensuring ITS is ready for any future upgrades.
While ITS Enterprise Applications continues to provide the regularly scheduled standard reports, Communication Technologies now can develop self-service/ad hoc reports on demand, enabling autonomy and control over reports. The latest version also streamlines workflow processes for service orders, provides updated training and documentation for end-users and system administrators, and ensures ITS has the latest software, firmware and patches. Updating to the newest version also provides stability and will make future minor upgrades easier.
Early efforts toward this project began in Summer 2015. Over the course of the project to migrate ITS off of Pinnacle v5.4.11, which was sluggish and approaching end of life, several newer versions were released. The project entailed analyzing existing business workflow procedures, identifying and eliminating customizations that are standard features and functionalities in the new version or that were no longer needed, refreshing databases and creating test and production backups.
The UNC-Chapel Hill project team (Cheri Beasley, Dennis Picket and Jeff Spencer) upgraded a high-profile, 12-year-old critical billing system in a seamless transition with minimal business disruptions to ITS’ billing customers. End users were unaware that this change was made behind the scenes. That’s especially noteworthy considering billing still needed to continue each month during the upgrade.
Key Partner(s): Communication Technologies, Enterprise Applications, Finance & Administration, Identity Management, Information Security, Institutional Privacy Office, Office of the CIO, Office of the University Registrar, Purchasing Services, University Counsel