In the telco context, multiple stakeholders take responsibility for VAS. Depending on the particular VAS – how it is deployed and the benefits it delivers – the CMO, CTO, CIO and the CFO and SCM functions may take responsibility for conceptualization, marketing, design, deployment, sustenance, procurement, reconciliation, revenue assurance, and partner settlement.
Despite the importance of VAS in driving telco growth – both top and bottom line, the management of the VAS business and ecosystem has been fragmented at best, between the stakeholders.
This raises the question: ‘Has VAS received adequate attention in the absence of a dedicated CVO (Chief VAS Officer)’? To date, no telco has defined and institutionalised a CVO role in spite of current and projected VAS revenue streams. These typically lie at around 13% to 15% today for most operators (though can reach 50% in evolved markets). Importantly, forecasts indicate VAS contributing a strong share of total telco revenues in the coming few years – ranging from 15% to 40%.
Due to the unique characteristics of VAS: fragmentation, multiple partners and touch points, strong content orientation, shorter life cycles and extreme dynamism, optimally managing VAS requires a different and fit-for-purpose model and approach. Telcos need to consider how best to deliver VAS given the various challenges -including in-house management, vendor agnostic managed VAS (along similar lines as outsourced network and IT management by specialist partners) or any hybrid model. Addressing these requirements is not a simple process – but it could be a whole lot easier with the creation of a specialised VAS team within the telco, led by a dedicated CVO!