Readying OSS/BSS for the DSP world
As the world goes digital, the evolution to Digital Service Provider (DSP) creates new business challenges that most traditional communication service providers (CSPs) have yet had to face.
The new ecosystem of OTT providers creates a new playing field of partner services and revenue sharing, with seamless delivery and management expected by both businesses and consumers. DSP transformations should focus on creating the right digital user experience (on-demand, online, real-time) that are now becoming a core for CSPs and enterprises around the world.
A successful DSP strategy for communications providers enables newfound agility to address market changes, greater proactivity around customer needs, and ensuring a rich customer experience across increasingly complex product and service lines. Yet none of this is possible if your back office processes aren’t in order, says Paul Hughes, director of Strategy, Netcracker Technology.
Becoming a DSP now requires a technological, cultural and operational transformation that extends from the network layer up to the partner layer, where the partners provide applications and content. At the center of this transformation are existing order to cash processes, and CSPs must evolve and extend OSS/BSS functions to support the new landscape. Research firm ICT Intuition survey data show that only 10-15% of digital services revenue will come from connectivity, making the transition from Communications Service Provider to Digital Service Provider important for both revenue enhancement and protection.
Transforming the back office is now a critical prerequisite for any traditional operator as they expand into the new digital economy. Digital services force the communications industry to evolve, and transformation to a digital service provider requires a new design. This design typically embraces hybrid OSS/BSS models, delivery of carrier and partner based services, connecting with the customer at every point throughout their lifecycles and working with partners that can help achieve success in this new paradigm.
A successful DSP transformation requires OSS/BSS and related infrastructure to be by supporting the evolution and modernisation of six key technology areas.
- Management of newly agile infrastructure – Design and implement an unified infrastructure management strategy across services, products and networks with plug-n-play approach that facilitates order capture, management and fulfillment of carrier and partner services
- Converged revenue management – Beginning with a with a centralised product catalog strategy for unified product management, the catalog is then integrated into a fully convergent real time rating and charging infrastructure that can support any service, support dynamic policy-based discounts and provide analytics-driven offer management
- Streamlining of service delivery – CSP should design effective omni-channel service delivery across carrier originated and partner-enabled services including legacy and hybrid services
- Partner ecosystem enablement – This enables all types of digital service partners across channels, products and customer segments via open ecosystem for faster time to market
- Omni channel customer management – Already underway for traditional CSP services, this initiative now extends the capabilities to ensure a consistent customer and brand experience across every interaction channel as customers consume digital services outside of the traditional network
- Advanced analytics – Provide CSPs the tools and capabilities to asses effectiveness of existing product offerings, enhance targeted promotion based on customer contextual information analysis, and provide support for cross-service offerings definition using current customer insights
As hybrid environments will prevail for the next decade or two, existing CSP BSS/OSS systems must be ready to can handle the above technology requirements, as well as support the physical and virtual worlds of networks and services. CSPs must support cloud initiatives with a carrier grade cloud platforms that enable different models (private, public or hybrid), provide embedded security and delivery flexible multi-tenancy capabilities via a centralised management platform.
Open ecosystems that provide a one stop shop for cloud enabled enterprise services will give CSPs easy access to digital services. Such a marketplace can provide a service brokerage function for “any” service or product by means of CSRs or direct portal, and offer end-to-end partner lifecycle management from onboarding to settlement. CSPs can then white label to provide services to their SMB and enterprise customers and quickly expand their digital footprint.
Few will ever question the fact that a full scale technology transformation will happen all at once. We can all expect hybrid environments to prevail for the next decade or two, as operators take an incremental and tactical approach to becoming a DSP, look to the technology community for best practices, and try to avoid past pitfalls.
Nevertheless, few will ever argue that existing CSP BSS/OSS systems must be ready to can handle the physical and virtual worlds of networks and services. Whether on premise or cloud-centric ready to support private, public or hybrid environment, today’s CSPs should be ready to modernise the back office first, otherwise face the risk of entering into a zero sum game.
DSP transformation won’t be cheap and it may be painful, but the time-consuming effort will ultimately results in a new business culture, increased revenues, and happier customers. The necessary changes will not happen overnight, but starting at the OSS/BSS layer makes logical sense for CSPs as they approach their 7-9 year back office tech refresh cycle.
The next refresh cycle, whether now or in the coming years, becomes the entry point and the guiding force for the total transformation. The end result will be the business outcome that every CSP wants, that is, to become a trusted provider of digital services for years to come.
The author of this blog is Paul Hughes, director of Strategy, Netcracker Technology
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