IoT, B2B2X, service aggregation – why these buzz words matter in the digital economy – right now
Handing a young person their first cell phone is a beautiful thing to watch – there may even be tears of joy before their fingers intuitively begin flying through menus and apps. The whole industry is thinking about not only that young, brand new customer, but also how best to serve them as they mature and become bill-paying customers in their own right.
Many of the consumers today who are starting a relationship with a communications service provider (CSP) for the first time are digital natives –growing up comfortably with technology from day one. They live and thrive in the digital economy where nearly it seems everything is connected, or soon will be.
The frenetic pace of the digital economy has CSPs of all sizes working to align internal teams, processes and systems to more efficiently support today’s business, while also paving the way to make the roll-out of new digital services faster and easier. This is a complex undertaking and a global issue facing the telecom industry from the most advanced to the most nascent markets.
But while we are all working to build the proper balance of today’s and tomorrow’s business, the next evolution of the digital transformation is already starting to materialize.
We are now past the era of delivering services to a multi-device world, and we’re moving into a landscape of “multi-connected devices.” Powered by an increasingly connected world, advances across the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving innovation and improving experiences across all segments, from health to home security to agricultural productivity to telematics. The result is that customers now expect to have access to an exciting ecosystem of an increasingly diverse range of services, solutions and apps, and they expect the convenience of delivery through a single aggregator.
The vision of this “connected consumer” is beginning to emerge from theory and take shape in reality, and we have seen the over the top providers, like Apple and Google, claiming a stake in being the aggregator of choice. In the challenge of staying relevant and not simply a pipe, how, as a CSP, do you envision your role in the connected consumer ecosystem?
While the exciting headlines may be on the “front-end” of creating a consumer experience around entertainment on the go, or highly connected cars or smart homes, this shift has important implications for the “back-office” of today’s CSPs.
Building an Ecosystem of Services
CSPs bring a unique value proposition to the digital economy as they sit at the heart of moving data packets around the globe, whether for digital services or for voice in all IP networks.
To truly connect consumers with the mobility and digital services they desire means a shift in the CSP infrastructure to include a multi-layered, B2B2X environment built on an open, interoperable, and virtualized digital services platform, where ecosystems of partners will become a primary model to deliver digital services.
That’s a sentence full of buzz words, but there are many buzz words for a reason – there will be no one silver bullet to offset the revenue decline in traditional voice and messaging, and successful CSPs can’t go it alone into the future. Success with future services requires an open approach, not only to infrastructure, but to building an ecosystem of services from partners that the CSP can roll-up into a single experience for customers, whether retail, enterprise or wholesale.
Multiple, new revenue streams including lucrative opportunities coming from the IoT, requires CSPs not to just sell their own network services, but also to get into “telco 2.0” of partnering with value added service providers to create market differentiation. There is also an opportunity to leverage their expertise in complex billing, network and data center security, and productize them to address the needs of enterprise customers.
Supporting the new B2B2X world means asking more of back-office systems. Streamlined visibility and partner integration, and support for complex policy and usage rules will be key. Real time balances, data capture and assessment, actions and offers, followed by real-time payment and balance adjustment will also be critical. In addition to settlement and revenue share models to satisfy partners and suppliers, CSPs need to create efficiencies within their partner ecosystem. Adding more partners will require automation and self-service dispute management for quick on-boarding and effective partner management.
Taking a Fresh Approach to Create Lean and Agile Operations
All of this change requires a massive undertaking by investing in IT architecture—but no telco wants to ‘rip and replace’ existing, complex and expensive systems.
There are several approaches that a CSP can take, including upgrading existing systems, implementing adjunct systems to minimize impacts to existing systems, or leveraging SaaS to reduce upfront investments while trialing new business models. All have benefits but also they have associated costs and risks which can impede the delivery of new business models for the CSP. This is where a fresh approach to managed services can add significant value.
With the emergence and integration of the cloud, managed services are moving toward full solution offerings designed to address a CSP’s most pressing business-level B2B2X issues, transforming traditional business environments to be lean and agile, while driving innovation for new digital business. Creating a lean operating infrastructure that is fit for the digital economy frees up resources and investments to feed back into innovation – a virtuous circle to generate the revenue streams of the future.
It’s Time to Take Action
The future is closer to us than we think, especially for CSPs. The opportunity to create your stronghold in the digital economy is here and now, not in 5 years. CSPs that aim to take a strategic role in serving the connected consumer need to act now.
What does acting now mean? Meet with CSG at TM Forum Live! or visit our website now www.csgi.com
IoT – Have CSPs got what it takes to succeed?
Our VanillaPlus Insight tracks developments in the Internet of Things (IoT) and explores the opportunities this presents for CSPs.
The Insight contains a specially-commissioned analyst report from IoT experts Machina Research as well as features and interviews to help you gain a greater understanding of the IoT attributes CSPs already have and how they can be monetised more effectively.
category: CSPs News