As a software solutions developer, you may be required to develop phone bill payment software at some point. This task may be coming from a newly-established phone carrier, who wants to have software to facilitate bill payments. Or the task may be coming from a long-running phone company, that wants to improve its operations through software. Either way, the challenge would be for you to create a system through which phone bill payments can be made.
That would probably also have to be an application that is capable of keeping track of the amounts of money expected to be received from customers in terms of bill payments. And it would have to be an application that can keep track of the bill payments as they are made, and update the customers’ accounts accordingly. At yet another level, the bill payment software would need to have the capability to keep track of the monies received from customers (in terms of bill payments). Then it should be capable of integrating with the accounting system used by the phone company – to ensure that the bill payments received from customers are automatically accounted for. So having been assigned the task of creating such software, you would have to figure out where to get started on the task, and how exactly to go about it.
How to get started
The first step for you, having been given the task of developing phone bill payment software, would be that of understanding the client’s needs. So the objective here would be to get a very clear idea of what exactly the client wants. But you may be surprised to learn that the clients themselves don’t always have very clear ideas of what they want. So you may be forced to use your expertise, as a software developer, to figure out what an ideal solution for them would be. You have to understand that some of the clients may be people who lack a deep understanding of software, and its capabilities. So it would be upon you to create the best possible solution for them, keeping in mind the fact that they would have entrusted the task to you.
There are two key steps here, then. The first step is to listen to the client (with a notebook), to understand the client’s needs in terms of phone bill payment software. From this exercise, you get to understand the capabilities that the client is looking for. And the second step then is to see if there is something you can add, in order to end up with an even better software solution. But you would still have to discuss these additional things you think of with the client, before actually including them in the software. When all is said and done, the most important thing would be for you to understand the client’s needs.
Having understood what exactly the client needs, the next steps would be those of:
Designing the phone bill payment software
So this is where you first have to conceptualize the phone bill software, before actually going ahead to code it. The objective here is to come up with some sort of architecture, on which the phone bill payment software would be based. Based on your discussion with the client (on the client’s needs), you’d need to work out the exact features the phone bill payment software would need to have. You’d need to work out which modules the phone bill payment software would need to have, and what components would go into each of the components. Then you would need to work out how the various components would be interacting, and where the connections between the various components would be. Ultimately, the most important thing here is to end up with a plan, on the basis of which you’d then proceed to actually create the phone bill payment software.
Coding the phone bill payment software
So this is the main step – where you put the building blocks of the phone bill payment software together, to end up with a complete application. You will first have figured out what programming language(s) you’d be using in the project. So what you would be doing is creating code, in the programming language(s) you settled on, in order to end up with the desired features/components of the phone bill payment software. You may need to put together a team of coders, each assigned to a specific task in the project. Then, at the end of it all, you’d need to bring together the various pieces coded by the respective programmers, in order to have the desired complete application.
Testing the phone bill payment software
Once the phone bill payment software has been coded, the next step would be to test it. The objective here would be to ensure that that the software functions the way it is supposed to. So you would be looking to ensure that there are no glitches in the workings of the phone bill payment software. You would need to go a step further, and test the software system, to ensure that there are no security vulnerabilities in it. There are people who specialize in software testing, and you may need to enlist their help in this regard. The most important thing is to ensure that the phone bill payment software is thoroughly tested, before it is released.
Deploying the phone bill payment software
After having tested the phone bill payment software thoroughly, the next step would be to actually deploy it. So this would be a question of handing the complete software package to the client, and getting the client to start using it in day to day operations. A critical step here would be that of training the operators who would be manning the software on how to use it properly. If customers would be interacting with the software directly, they too would need to be trained on its proper use.
Continually updating and improving the phone bill payment software
After deploying the phone bill payment software, you’d need to get the client to be aware of the need to continually update and improve the software. The objective would be to ensure that the phone bill payment software is continually updated, so as to have the latest features (as they come up), and to cope with operating system updates. Continually updating the phone bill software would also ensure that it doesn’t become prone to security vulnerabilities as time goes on.