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With active service in 17 states and license to serve 17 more, Stafford, Texas.-based prepaid local phone service provider EZ Talk Communications needed process improvements to continue its growth. It turned to Telution to automate its customer care and order management processes. Telution turned to Accenture for its interconnection service. And with some homegrown payment and reconciliation solutions, EZ Talk has turned the corner on its plan to expand nationwide.

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“It has given us an incredible operational platform to scale and go to the next level in consolidating the national market,” said O.J. Armstrong, chief operating officer for EZ Talk.

The national market for prepaid local service consists of a smattering of small providers serving what Armstrong called an unserved market rather than a credit-challenged market. He said other attempts at a national play in this space have been hindered by unclean business processes that required too much manual processing.

“It was as cumbersome as could be, and if you tried to scale that to 100,000 customers, you couldn't hire enough people to do that job,” Armstrong said.

The expansion of this market segment and the implementation of Telution's COMX software suite — in conjunction with Accenture's Launch-Now Interconnect Exchange service — indicate that neither competition nor pre-integrated operation support systems are dead.

This is Telution's second implementation on the Launch-Now managed service platform. The company also provides billing, customer care and order management for Tampa-based Z-Tel Communications. “Z-Tel was a significant factor in the decision process because it showed an integrated process similar to what EZ Talk was looking for,” said Peter Duncan, partner with Accenture's Launch-Now business.

The Launch-Now Interconnect Exchange provides links to all major ILECs in North America as well as a platform for hosting complementary OSS solutions.

“There is a value in the pre-integrated Telution/Launch-Now solution in that it helps CLECs manage the entire life cycle of their customers,” said Kent Steffen, president and CEO of Telution.

In the prepaid local service market, that life cycle may be only a few months, which is why it is important to get the process right, Armstrong said.

“Before, when customers placed an order, I couldn't give them a due date or their telephone number. Since they prepaid, they would call two or three times a day wanting their service. Now I have supply chain management and can see order, payment and account status right from the start.”

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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