Service Provider Automated Billing

Billing Process Overview


This article outlines, at a high level, the billing features available in Atria.  The billing feature provides transparency of Atria billable services that have been consumed, down to the day.     

Applies To

  1. Introduced in Atria version 12.0.0.


Billing is a critical process for service providers but, due to many complexities, the monthly cycle can often consume large amounts of time and effort in pulling information sources together, calculating accurate usage counts and then providing the evidence needed to support each invoice.

Atria billing features simplify the process and provide accurate and transparent billing records that are available to both the service provider and the customer. This now makes it easy to identify who made changes and when they happened as well as providing a mechanism for validating and correcting billing data at source before the same data is used to create customer invoices.

Service providers are now able to integrate their own internal systems (such as billing or reporting systems) with Atria via direct database access or manual data extracts.  Utilizing the billing features in Atria can dramatically reduce the complexity and administrative time required to generate accurate monthly bills.

Key Features

  1. Centralized recording of all changes which impact billing
  2. The ability to apply SKU codes to all billing entities
  3. Identify who made changes and when they happened
  4. A mechanism to generate, validate and correct billing data on a monthly basis
  5. A rules based system to allow non-billable items to be removed according to user defined policies
  6. Ability to view and re-process billing transactions
  7. A summarized view of billing consumption identifying changes between billing periods
  8. Export of billing data into Excel
  9. A mechanism to provide transparency of billing to customers
  10. A REST based API to enable integration with external systems

Service Provider Features

  1. A Billing Configuration page that contains rules engine to enable service providers to exclude specific Services, User Plans, Service Items, and Users. And also to provide the reason for the exclusion.
  2. A Billing Summary screen to enable service providers to view services for a specific period, identifying services that were carried from the previous month, added or removed.
  3. A Billing Detail screen to view individual provisioning activity including the service, action type (added, removed) any user and date actioned
  4. A billing period re-process feature where billing errors can be corrected and the billing period regenerated.

Customer Features

  1. Access to view billing summary and billing details pages to see all transactions in their bill.

Billing High Level Process Overview

At a high level, the billing process is very simple:

  1. The service provider sets-up their billing properties in Atria, including specifying the billing end date and billing item SKUs.  This is a one-off configuration requirement that can be changed at any time.
  2. During the month, all provisioning and de-provisioning activity is recorded in Atria.
  3. At the end of the Billing Period, Atria will pull all activity records and generate the billing period data using a set of rules that determine whether each item is billable or not.  Once generated, the service provider can then review the billing period and correct any anomalies by changing or adding billing rules and then re-processing the billing period.  These records can then be manually extracted into Excel and form the basis of customer invoices.

Setup Service Provider Billing

Atria Billing Setup
Atria can be configured according to the service provider's billing requirements. This includes setting up the billing period end of month, billing item SKUs and billing Rules.

Billing Periods

Billing Periods (or months) are configured by the service provider.  This can be configured as, whole months, fixed day of month-end date or days before the end of the month.  Each billing period has a start and end date based on the chosen configuration.  So for example, if the month-end for billing is on the 25th of the month.  A billing period will automatically get created with a start date of 26th and end date of 25th of the following month.  The Billing Period is the container for all of the billable items generated by Atria. 

Billed By

This feature allows each customer to have a defined billing relationship with another customer within Atria.  This allows flexibility for service providers who may operate both direct and indirect billing models with the customers who are consuming their services.  

Billing Rules

Billing rules are defined in the system to disable billing for sets of items.  This allows the service provider to control what is charged independently of customer settings.  Each rule matches on criteria and sets items to be non-billable.  Each Billing Rule has a date range of application – outside of this date range, the rule does not apply.  This allows service providers to temporarily exclude items from billing, or for billing to start on a particular date.  

Remove test users: mark all Users beginning with the name TEST_ as non billable. 
Mark a specific service as non-billable – exclude all items related to the service with short code “XYZ” 
Do not bill a customer: exclude all items for the customer with short code “ABC” 
Remove a specific user: exclude a specific user from being billable based on username 
Remove charges based on time: exclude items which have only been used for a short period of time 
Remove trials – exclude items that are part of a trial, as defined by an attribute on customer or service plan. 

Provision / De-Provision - Recording Service Changes

As changes happen within the system through provisioning and de-provisioning, these service changes are stored in the main Atria database. Changes include:
  • Creation or deletion of customers 

  • Creation of deletion of users 

  • Change of service plan (at customer or user level) 

  • Add/Remove of service instances 

  • Change of applications (Citrix service or Hosted Apps and Desktops Service) 

  • Addition or removal of domains  

The service change records are recorded with an actioned date and include the user who made the change.  Both the service provider and customer can see the details of each change providing transparency of billing to all parties.
Tracking Provisioning and Deprovisioning Changes

Generate Billing Period Data

At the end of the billing period, Atria automatically generates a set of billing items based on the services that have been provisioned/de-provisioned within that period (defined by the billing period end date). This also includes all billing items carried over from the previous month. Every element that could be potentially billed has an entry in the billing detail table. Once the billing items have been generated for the billing period, the billing rules are run to set all non-billable items. 

Generate Billing Period Data
The billing data is now ready to be reported. This can be viewed through the Atria billing details and billing summary reports screens, extracted to Excel or via database query.

Reprocessing Billing Period

Where any billing anomaly is found, this can be easily corrected by creating or editing billing rules and reprocessing the billing period from the Billing Rules Configuration page.

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