Ratchet (R) logo

in the Ratchet® Rating System

Many of the greatest innovations in modern history have been the result of making visible what was previously invisible to humans. These include uncovering the world of the small (germs, viruses, bacteria, molecules, DNA, etc.) and the world of the very large (galaxies, stars, the behavior of populations of creatures and objects, etc.).

A photo of microscopic life
From very small to very large
A picture of a spiral galaxy

Few rating systems let you see what they are doing. Ratchet® Rating System lets you see how your rating is performed. When you can see it, you get control over the hidden sources of rating errors. You also increase your understanding of the rating process. Your understanding grows as Visible Rating™ supports your continued training in the rating process. More control of rating reduces errors and increases revenues and profits.

Making Visible What Was Previously Invisible

Most rating systems running in today's organizations show you only what went into the rating processes (the input records) and the results of the processing (your output records).

Black Box rating... now you see it, now you don'tTo assure yourself that the processing was done correctly, you look at the inputs and process them manually and compare them to the computer results from your rating system. If you can get a programmer to work with you, you can look inside the processing.

When the results do not match your expectations, you must deduce how the inputs you gave the rating process got the results you saw. To solve the problem, you devise a mental model of the rating process. This is a trial-and-error process that takes time and effort that can be better spent on business goals.

Ratchet opens a window for you into the actual processing of your rating system. You can do this at two levels. First, you can test process transactions with Ratchet while you are designing your rate plans. The results from the rating tests can confirm for you that it is doing what you intended. Second, you can test transactions in your running production systems to verify that you continue to get the results you want.

A panel where you enter the transaction to process

Figure 1. This panel shows a transaction you enter to test your rate plan.

Avoid "Stare and Compare"

After you enter the information that describes your transaction, just click on the "Rate Request" button. The request is immediately processed by the rating server you've selected. You can choose to work either with a rate database that you are developing and testing or with the database in production. You decide.

New tabs appear on the output panel. These tabs let you look at the input (the Input Definition), the trace report showing the processing that was done to calculate the results (the Trace), the results as they will be output by the rating server (the Output), and the values in a structured report showing all the information resulting from rating your transaction (the Rating Results).

The Panel below shows the structured report of "Rating Results".

A panel showing the results of rating a transaction

Figure 2. This panel shows the results of rating your test call.

If the results do not come out right, you can view the Trace report. This shows each of the steps taken in processing your transaction. It shows the process of determining the kind of transaction you are processing. You see the decision about whom to charge and for what events. You can follow each of the step the rater completed to calculate the charges and arrive at the final amount(s). You see each and every step involved in the rating of your transaction.

You aren't limited to only one result. You can calculate the amount to charge the end-user and the amount to pay your content or bandwidth providers.

a panel showing all the steps of processing your transaction

Figure 3. The Trace report shows all the steps of processing your transaction

It Works When I Test It, But It Fails In Production

From time to time, you may get a report that rating is working incorrectly in production. This is an event that creates fear and more fear. A rating error in production may mean lost revenue and/or re-rating all of your previously rated calls. As a careful worker who tests your work, you believe that it has been thoroughly tested before you put it in production. There may be nothing wrong, but it is difficult to be certain. Ratchet provides a solution. Consider the following scenario:

An operations person or CSR telephones to say that a call from the United Kingdom to Dallas, Texas is too expensive. You start your Ratchet Visible Rater and select the production rating server for use. The caller tells you the particulars about the call and you type in a test call exactly like the one reported as an error. The production server receives your request. It processes it with the same data and the same running executable program as the call reported in error. You get back a detailed report on how the call is rated. You can explain the rates that applied to the call. For example, if the transaction is a phone call, you tell your caller about the time of day rate period involved, the amount charged per unit of measure, the units of measure used, and the rounding rules applied.

If the results don't match your expectations, you review the Trace Report and see the rules applied to the call and can check that both the charge amounts and the rules on charging are working as planned. If it isn't being done correctly, you have the full details on the charges that were applied and the process used to select them.

Imagine how you would handle this situation without the ability to interrogate the running server. You might run a parallel version of the rating software and test calls with that. You hope that the results are the same. With Ratchet, you can test that call with the same data, with the same program code, and running in the same operating environment. You can do this test without interfering with the normal production processing.

Take Action and Take Control

Call now at +1 734-827-2000 to see this for yourself and to learn how you can begin rating your transactions with the Ratchet® Rating System. We look forward to talking to you about how you can get control so that you can focus on competing aggressively while eliminating time spent on finding and fixing errors in your rating.


Service Level LLC provides the Ratchet™ Rating system to support the needs of both the new Internet oriented marketplace as well as the traditional circuit switched marketplace. We realize that the traditional services still provide the largest part of the world's communications requirements.

Component view of the Ratchet Rating System

Figure 4. The components of the Ratchet™ Rating System

You can learn more about the Ratchet Rating solution at http://www.servicelevel.net/. The product and its implementation support team make a success of your implementation. You can contact our representatives at sales@www.servicelevel.net

Service Level LLC
7006 Suncrest Drive
Saline, MI 48176

+1 734-827-2000 (voice)
+1 734-827-2200 (fax)
Time Zone: same as New York City

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