How CSPs can drive growth in the digital age
Communications service providers (CSPs) and their suppliers recognise the need for digital networks to support high speed communication, on-demand services and dynamic management. Therefore, they are taking steps to ensure they can deliver the competitive speeds and advanced digital services that customers demand to remain relevant in the new world order, writes Patrick Büch, the head of the service management business line at FNT Software.
One of the key ways they are doing so is by seeking methods to speed up time to market with new digital services. Timing is everything in today’s dynamic environment. Not only must providers get there ahead of competitors, they must do so with maximum cost efficiency across all business processes, while delivering the best possible business performance via efficient provisioning, monitoring, and planning processes. In this fast-paced and competitive market, the successful providers will be those with an agile infrastructure that enables them to deliver services fast and efficiently.
A standardised product catalogue meets this need for speed. With its method-based approach to defining and standardizing products, providers can automate delivery of services. By breaking services down into single, standard and reusable components that can be configured at will by customers, CSPs can achieve structured production of products with all of the information required for service creation. Think of it as industrialising production of communications services, rather than provisioning every service like an individual and customised project.
With a robust combination of service characteristics, respective variants and extension levels, a well-defined product catalogue will drive the providers’ differentiation capabilities. From the customer’s perspective, they will get services tailored to their individual needs and feel like they are getting an individualised service. From the provider’s perspective, they are delivering scale in a cost-effective manner. Everybody wins.
However, being able to quickly provision and set up new digital services is only half the battle. Transforming business operations, IT systems and ecosystems to enable a product catalog approach requires upgrading to a modern infrastructure. Legacy OSS/BSS are simply not capable of handling the demands of a digital business ecosystem and today’s new digital services that need rapid deployment. Current OSS/BSS will struggle with the high-speed communication, on-demand services and dynamic network orchestration which are required by digital services.
Transforming IT Infrastructure
For example, the leading telecoms and IT company in Switzerland is heavily investing in the networks of the future to keep pace with customer needs. To boost the efficiency of their service management and provide quality standardised products, the company first needed to transform their IT infrastructure.
By implementing a unified and catalogue-centric approach focused on services, the company reduced technical complexities, gained greater transparency into their infrastructure, improved the quality of services and reduced costs. The standardisation of services also created an important prerequisite for automation. As the defined, semi-finished products are reused, the duration of their service developments remain massively shortened. The introduction of a uniform product catalogue not only increases transparency and standardisation in the field of service orientation, but also in many cultural changes throughout the organisation.
Similar to this company’s IT infrastructure transformation, CSPs need to focus on their internal service management, not just external services in order to stay competitive in the market. As stated in TM Forum’s Digital Transformation Tracker, CSPs spend about 90% of their capital expenditure (capex) budget on the network, however, digital transformation is typically more closely associated with the IT organisation than the network division.
One system of record for all services and lifecycle management
A consistent data model across OSS, BSS and IT operations is critical to comprehensively manage and configure the hybrid formation of resources required for a product catalogue service delivery approach. This enables the automatic routing of all connections – both physical and logical –throughout the entire network, across all media, and with all relevant parameters. Accurate resource information is also provided to all users to maximise the automation and efficiency of service fulfillment processes.
Implementing standard software to serve as this central database is imperative. With the rapid convergence of technologies within the telecommunications arena, it is crucial to have an integrated view of the underlying IT technologies. A central database will streamline data centre management, network resource inventory, and server, storage, and application management. This central source of network and service data encompasses all relevant resource information for planning and engineering, service fulfillment, and the service assurance processes of telecommunications and multi-service providers. It further provides network visibility across all areas by housing information about all IT resources and data center capacities, including physical and logical network and service resources.
The network inventory of all active and passive assets, connections and resources should be dynamically updated as change occurs and feed a management system accessible to all users. This, then, forms the basis for a modern, future-proof OSS/IT system and enables a CSP to be a leader in capitalising on new market opportunities.
Transitioning to a catalogue-driven approach is a high priority for many CSPs, and with good reason. It will give them the agility to accelerate time to market, tailor services to individual customer needs and increase the efficiency of service delivery processes. A product portfolio will also help telecom providers to strengthen their services in the B2B space as it is scalable and will address business needs with standard converged bundles. For corporate customers, customized solutions can be based on standardized building blocks in order to quickly respond to ever-changing customer and market demands.