Billing Advantage Tutorial

 

Saving the data into a .CSV format allows you to use Excel to analyze your call data. You can utilize Excel to sort and/or filter, which drastically reduces the time it takes to anayze the data.

Let’s say that we would like to find all long distance call information that was initiated from a particular phone in our organization. Doing so would be fairly easy.

First, open the .CSV file in Excel (you usually can just double-click the file). When Excel opens, you will see something similiar to the example below.

Figure 9: Long distance calls opened in Excel.

Line 1 contains the section header, or column names. You may expand the column widths to see the full column names. For a full expanation of each column, check the Long Distance Call Format.

Line 2 and everything else below displays your long distance call transactions. The calls you see in the example above are from GCI’s demo version. You may get a copy of this data in the downloads section.

Let’s suppose that you have ten phones within your organization, and would like to find the long distance call information generated from a particular phone. For this example, we will assume that the phone in question is associated with the phone number: 907-555-5555.

Your first step is to select any field in the From Phone Number column (column E). In our example, we simply select the column name (see Figure 10).

 

Figure 10: Select the From Phone Number column.

After you have selected the column name, click Data > Filter > AutoFilter from the menu bar (see Figure 11).

 

Figure 11: Click AutoFilter from the menu bar.

A dropdown arrow appears beside each column heading. To filter the list, choose a criterion from one of the dropdown lists, eg. From Phone Number. To further filter the list, choose from another column’s dropdown list, e.g. Called City.

Rows that don’t meet the criteria will be hidden. Rows that remain visible have a blue number in the row button. The dropdown arrow for column(s) in which a criterion has been applied will also be blue.

For our example, we wanted to find all long distance information for the phone number: 907-555-5555. Select that number from the From Phone Number dropdown (see Figure 12).

 

Figure 12: Filter the From Phone Number.

That’s all there is to it! You could take it a step further, and filter the Called City to see how many calls where placed to Wasilla, for instance.

 

Figure 13: All long distance transactions for phone number 907-555-5555.

Billing Advantage also includes a suite of toll free reports that includes views of your incoming 800, 888 and 877 calls. In Step 5, we will take a look at that suite of toll free reports.

Getting Started

This article assumes that the reader is using the Billing Advantage utility software, and that the software is already installed on their computer.

The first task you’ll need to complete is to extract the customer data file. Usually, this arrives in the mail as a self-extracting zipped file contained on a compact disk (see Figure 1 below). Double-click on the file and select “Continue” to launch the wizard.

Figure 1: The self-extracting, zipped data file.

When prompted to select where you want to unzip the files, click the ellipse button and navigate to the Billing Advantage folder, which is usually located at C:Program FilesBilling Advantage 2003 (see Figure 2). After you have selected the location, press “Ok”. The file will automatically be unzipped to the Billing Advantage folder.

Figure 2: Specify where to extract the data file.

 

Using The Application

Depending on your computer’s settings, you may be prompted with any number of security warnings specific to Microsoft’s Access database. Each user’s settings may be different due to operating system and/or registry settings. The following is a list of the possible warnings you may encounter, and the appropriate action(s) you should take.

The first one is likely to appear if you are on Windows 2000 (see Figure 3). You may safely answer “Yes” or “No” to this question because it doesn’t affect our software. We recommend that you answer “No”.

Figure 3: Windows 2000 notification regarding unsafe expressions. Choose “No”.

The second message (see Figure 4) is also related to computers running Windows 2000, but also has surfaced on computers running Windows XP that were upgraded from Windows 2000. To eliminate this warning, you may choose to visit Microsoft’s Windows Update Center and download the latest Microsoft Jet 4.0 Service Pack. If you choose not to do so, you should answer “Yes” to this warning.

Figure 4: Microsoft Jet 4.0 Service Pack warning. Choose “Yes”.

The final warning is a bit more tempered and may appear on computers running Windows 2000 or Windows XP (see Figure 5). Choose “Open”.

Figure 5: Click on “Open”.

After the application opens, you are presented with two options (see Figure 6 below):

Select an Invoice Set

Exit

 

Press “Select An Invoice Set” and choose the invoice set that you wish to view.

Figure 6: Choose the “Select an Invoice Set” option.

Figure 7: Selecting an invoice set.

The invoice filename is represented in the format: BaB-xxxxxxxxx-MM-YYYY.mdb, where xxxxxxxxx represents the client’s account number, MM represents the month and YYYY represents the year of the invoice. In the example above, we are selecting the invoice for December 2005 for account number 001000000.

When you have selected the desired invoice, click “Open”. The Billing Advantage application will now attempt to transfer the invoice data.

 

Retrieving Call Records

Long Distance Call Records

In most cases, clients simply wish to export their long distance call records to Excel, and manipulate them from there. Therefore, the application allows you to export your long distance call records into a .CSV (Comma Separated Values) file, which can then be opened in Excel.

To export your long distance call records into a .csv file (see Figure 8 below), simply select the “Export” tab (#1), and then select “Long Distance Calls” in the drop down box (#2). Next, make certain that the “Comma Delimited (*.csv)” option is selected (#3), and finally, click the “Export Data” button (#4).

Note: This option will allow you to export user-friendly details about your long distance calls. This format only contains the most useful summary information and is not a complete Bellcore format. For more information about the different export formats, read our Format Descriptions section.

Figure 8: Exporting long distance calls.

The program will ask you to enter a file name, and a location to save the file. Remember where you place this file!

Now that you have saved the calls into a .CSV format, you can use Excel to sort or filter the data.

Analyzing the Data

Saving the data into a .CSV format allows you to use Excel to analyze your call data. You can utilize Excel to sort and/or filter, which drastically reduces the time it takes to anayze the data.

Let’s say that we would like to find all long distance call information that was initiated from a particular phone in our organization. Doing so would be fairly easy.

First, open the .CSV file in Excel (you usually can just double-click the file). When Excel opens, you will see something similiar to the example below.

Figure 9: Long distance calls opened in Excel.

Line 1 contains the section header, or column names. You may expand the column widths to see the full column names. For a full expanation of each column, check the Long Distance Call Format.

Line 2 and everything else below displays your long distance call transactions. The calls you see in the example above are from GCI’s demo version. You may get a copy of this data in the downloads section.

Let’s suppose that you have ten phones within your organization, and would like to find the long distance call information generated from a particular phone. For this example, we will assume that the phone in question is associated with the phone number: 907-555-5555.

Your first step is to select any field in the From Phone Number column (column E). In our example, we simply select the column name (see Figure 10).

Figure 10: Select the From Phone Number column.

After you have selected the column name, click Data > Filter > AutoFilter from the menu bar (see Figure 11).

Figure 11: Click AutoFilter from the menu bar.

A dropdown arrow appears beside each column heading. To filter the list, choose a criterion from one of the dropdown lists, eg. From Phone Number. To further filter the list, choose from another column’s dropdown list, e.g. Called City.

Rows that don’t meet the criteria will be hidden. Rows that remain visible have a blue number in the row button. The dropdown arrow for column(s) in which a criterion has been applied will also be blue.

For our example, we wanted to find all long distance information for the phone number: 907-555-5555. Select that number from the From Phone Number dropdown (see Figure 12).

Figure 12: Filter the From Phone Number.

That’s all there is to it! You could take it a step further, and filter the Called City to see how many calls where placed to Wasilla, for instance.

Figure 13: All long distance transactions for phone number 907-555-5555.

Billing Advantage also includes a suite of toll free reports that includes views of your incoming 800, 888 and 877 calls.

Toll Free Reports

Based on your toll free call volume, you may need a higher-end computer than the one listed in the minimum system requirements to successfully generate toll free reports.

To use the toll free reporting suite, click the tab labeled “Report”, located on the main menu screen (see Figure 14). If you previously received a printed toll free report, you can duplicate that report by using this suite.

Figure 14: The toll free reporting suite.

You are now presented with a host of different report types. These report types include:

  • 1-800 InterState Traffic by State
  • 1-800 InterState Traffic by Day
  • 1-800 InterState Traffic by City – Desc
  • 1-800 InterState Traffic by City
  • 1-800 DayHourCount
  • 1-800 DayHourDuration
  • 1-800 IntraState Traffic by State
  • 1-800 IntraState Traffic by Day
  • 1-800 IntraState Traffic by City – Desc
  • 1-800 IntraState Traffic by City

Select one of the following report types, then click the “View Report” button (see Figure 15). In our example, we’ll select 1-800 IntraState Traffic by City.

Figure 15: Toll Free Report Types

The Billing Advantage application will now generate a formatted report based on your criteria (Figure 16).

Figure 16: In State Traffic by City