Challenge
Chorus is New Zealand’s largest telecommunications provider. Its dedicated Network Billing and Credit Team is responsible for the bill, pay and collect activities across network products and services. Before the roll-out of the Network, Damages Remodel (NDR) Project, the team managed all network damage claims manually. Dispute and collection activities were run off spreadsheets on SharePoint resulting in heavy duplication of effort.

These inefficient and labor-intensive processes presented major challenges for the organisation when it came to cost recovery for network damages, most of which are unintentional and already very difficult to collect on. Chorus pay close to 14m a year in damages to service repair companies but could only recover 50% by on-billing customers, and with hindered collection activity of those on-billed items, could only recover approximately 50% of that.

With the industry standard for collections also sitting at about 50% for billing network repairs and 50% for collections recovery, Chorus knew with the support of the right systems in place they could actively manage debt and set a new industry benchmark for cost recovery.

Solution
Chorus required an out-of-the-box solution to provide automated processes with internal workflow triggers and notifications to accurately track the status of debt and speed-up the billing process including recovery of outstanding payments. With SAP ERP already deployed and trusted to run core business functions including Finance and Billing, Chorus naturally chose to adopt the SAP Dispute Management and Collections modules. The organisation chose to work with Zag as its incumbent SAP partner for the delivery of the solution.

Taking a hands-on approach, Zag worked closely with Chorus’ Network Billing and Credit Team to understand the intricacies of its existing disputes and collections processes – crucial for effectively translating the SAP product into a solution that would provide immediate benefit for Chorus. Chorus’ people were effectively enabled and trained on how to use the new system resulting in a swift and successful adoption and quick time-to-value of the solution.

“With SAP, we now have a single point to manage collections and case management activity reliably and efficiently. It is much easier and quicker to see what we need to do and when without having to manually hunt for work to manage, and risk missing cases due to the manual process. The Team recognise this is a massive step forward, creating an enhanced customer experience and improved working environment. Not to mention, we’re helping Chorus recover significant funds on damage collections.” Rachel Macfarlane, Manager Operate Customer for Chorus

Outcome
With the successful roll out of the NDR project, Chorus now has a single place to manage collections and case management activity, eliminating prior duplication of effort across multiple systems. With queries and disputes processes now largely automated, the team is getting activity out faster – and they love it! The SAP system provides Chorus with ordered worklists with clear priorities and collection strategies to help maximise collections and resolutions.

It is a massive step forward. A major area of benefit is transparency. Chorus now has clear visibility of dispute allocations, resolution time and other factors which help build a profile around individual and team performance for Management Reporting. Beyond this, Chorus has now progressed from simple monthly reports to having real-time information on the general health of every aspect of its ledger, giving them more transparency and insight into the structure and staging of their debt.

The streamlining and automation of its billing and collections processes with SAP has enabled Chorus to achieve its strategic goal of better performance on cost recovery for network damages.

Overall Results
– Disputes Management approximately 30% more efficient
– Expected $600k incremental damage recoveries every year, 10% increase on plan
– 3x volume of payment plans and half the volume of outstanding disputes at end of month

“We’ve always jelled with Chorus in a business culture sense, and I think that’s why we have such a strong long-standing relationship. Our aim has always been to deliver exceptional results by helping Chorus to drive improvements to its business processes – the NDR project was no different. Chorus saw an opportunity to improve its cost recovery performance for network damages and we were excited to work alongside them again to help deliver tangible results.

The team already had great technical nous and good understanding of SAP – making it an efficient implementation of SAP’s Dispute Management and Collection Modules. The results speak for themselves. This modern fit-for-purpose solution has been a game changer, with automated systems the Chorus Network Billing and Credit team are learning a new and more efficient way of doing business.” Campbell Millar, Chief Customer Officer for Zag