In previous sections, there was an underlying assumption that each account has its own set of usage buckets. However, this is not always the case. Usage can be pooled between thousands, even millions of services and devices. Pool sizes are fixed or grow dynamically as new devices are provisioned based on preconfigured rules.
LogiSense Billing handles this functionality via share plans. With share plans, service providers have an incredible amount of flexibility at their fingertips to define business models around how their services and devices share pools of usage.
A Share Plan is an entity that defines the rules and parameters around how usage is to be shared. These include the following attributes:
|Data Type||The type of data that is being shared. Buckets can be attached to a share plan representing the class of data that is being shared.|
|Activation Rule||The activation rule specifies the mechanism for activation of a share plan. Share plans can be activated through two mechanisms: (1) A selling service which means the selling service has to be sold to the account in order to activate the share plan. (2) A participating service which means that the participating service needs to be sold to an account in order to activate the share plan|
|Contributing and Participating Services||Participating services are services that participate in a share plan – i.e. applicable usage associated with that service are pooled with that share plan. Each participating service specifies a contribution amount. A contribution amount greater than 0 indicates that the service not only participates but also grows the share plan.|
|Growth||Share Plans can have fixed or variable sized buckets. With a fixed bucket all participating share the same pool of usage and the pool size remains the same irrespective of the number of services that participate in the plan. With a variable share plan, the share plan grows by a contribution amount for each contributing service.|
|Share Level||Share level specifies the level at which sharing occurs. A share level of parent indicates that all accounts and services that report to that parent are eligible to participate in the share plan. A share level of account indicates that all services that are assigned to that account are eligible to participate in the share plan.|
|Usage billing frequency||The frequency at which usage gets billed (monthly, weekly, yearly etc.) for the share plan.|
Configuration of a share plan occurs at the catalog level where the administrator defines the various attributes listed above. The administrator also chooses the participating services or service type that can participate in the share plan. Service types are useful when the intent is to enable sharing for all services of a certain category – for instance any type of SMS service can participate in the share plan. Once the share plan is defined and saved, the service provider can then define the share plan buckets and set contribution rules.
Multiple buckets can be associated with each share plan. When multiple buckets are configured, the bucket precedence rules come into effect. Fixed size buckets do not grow as more participating services are added to the pool. However, if a bucket is of a variable size, the bucket will grow based on how many participating services or service types have been added. Each service can grow the bucket by a prescribed amount specified by it’s contribution value. It is possible for service A to grow a bucket by 100min and service B to grow a bucket by 150 min even though they are part of the same share pool. A service provider may wish to set up the system in this manner for operational and reporting purposes.
Management of share plans at an account level is also possible. While the catalog level share plan configuration determines the default contributions for each account service, account level overrides can be initiated to change the amount that a participating service contributes. This can be extended even further. A service can elect to participate in a share plan even if it was not initially configured in the set of participation services at the catalog level – likewise a participating service can be opted out of a share plan at the account level.