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The digital world is growing for telecom operators. With advanced options and the opportunity to get shares in a rapidly advancing market, operators are realizing the impact of improved operational activities.

Understanding the Opportunity

This enhanced interest in the digital market does not come without any benefit or costs for operators. The market presents excellent revenue gain potential, but only for telecom operators that are willing to make the necessary investments. With customer demands also increasing, it is no secret that the expenditure on IT and the overall revenues made through operations are expected to increase for operators.

These findings have been included in the most recent ICT insights survey by the research firm Ovum. According to the survey, a majority of 70 percent operators are planning to increase their net IT expenditure over the course of the next year. Almost 30 percent of these operators are planning to increase these costs by either 6 percent or more. This increase in net total spend for the IT sector indicates the fact that telecom operators are beginning to realize the potential that the market holds.

This growing increase in the number of companies increasing their IT budget is expected to have a cascading impact on the revenue generation of the OSS/BSS domain globally. Ovum has also indicated that the annual revenues from the OSS/BSS market are expected to grow to $22.5 billion in 2022 from $17.5 billion in 2017. This CAGR of 5.8 percent is one of the best in the market and makes the telecom industry a hot property for revenue generation in the future. Current telecom operators with their established infrastructures have a great opportunity to latch on to these challenges. Read on to find out how.

Delivering Next Generation Services

To deliver next generation services, operators need to step out of the realm of what governs the industry currently and implement futuristic methods of governance. This movement towards the future is not just confined to keeping pace with technology trends and chalking out competitive and updated strategies. This step towards the future entails a lot more, such as the eagerness to update to the infrastructure of next generation technologies, such as 5G, network functions virtualization, and the Internet of Things among many others. The use of these technologies in creating smarter networks will dictate the future pace of development.

Simply put, since the telecom operator industry has an intensely competitive environment, operators need to use all up-to-date methods to stay relevant in the picture. The underlying idea behind this is to shift from the traditional system-centric approach and go towards a more end-to-end service-centric one. Operators need to revise their current strategies in a bid to incorporate smarter services that:

  • Are tested in the market for scalability and agility
  • Include a large industry ecosystem that is aimed at new customer markets and segments
  • Facilitate the growth of personal and real-time communication.

Understanding OSS/BSS and What Ails Them

OSS/BSS stand for operation support system and business support system respectively. These two systems work in tandem to support a wide range of telecommunication services and make life easy for telecom operators.

Operation support systems usually assist in the management of communication networks. These tools help in the coordination of resources for designing, building, maintaining, and operating communication networks.

Business support systems help organizations to reach out to their customers and create an offer for them. These offers are personalized in order to give special offers to each customer based on their preferences and usage patterns.

OSS/BSS systems currently have a long way to go before they can support this digital transformation. Most operators have a complex maze of legacy systems that are not compatible with the requirements of these technologies. To maintain a competitive edge, operators are now looking at and thinking of planning beyond the traditional KPIs of profit margins, revenue, etc. Instead, we now have criteria such as efficiency, customer experience, agility, quicker time to market, and seamless product delivery in the mix.

However, with the current extent and limitations of legacy systems, operators cannot meet these requirements. They’re falling short on numerous counts, including the duplication of information, which adversely impacts the time to market for several products.

Underlying Trends and the Journey so Far

Regardless of the implications, operators have come a long way in the implementation of OSS and BSS strategies. Some underlying trends are expected to phase out over the course of the next couple of years. It is initially expected that software as a service (SaaS) stacks will rise to the fore. Operators realize the impact of competition and are looking for cost-efficient stacks that can be rapidly deployed at any given time.

Moreover, it is expected that the revenue from analysis-based tools will significantly increase over time. This change will be driven by the maturation of AI and machine learning tools that enhance the analysis process over time.

The Changes in Play

The changes brought through digital transformation are already in play and can be seen across multiple industries. Here are three OSS/BSS examples in major industries:

Retail

In retail, addressing business activities like sales and inventory management are still a significant challenge for operators. This is how the BSS system can facilitate in this industry.

  • An efficient POS system. Point of Sale systems play an important role in the overall buying process. The addition of a CRM in these systems enables enterprises to configure the mode of payments and price lists, and to restrict individual channels of payment.
  • The digital solution plays an important part in executing end-to-end management of logistics at the backend. Finding the correct product mix with optimal inventory and store capacity is the final aim.
  • Retailers work with a broad ecosystem of partners, and a BSS solution helps them to manage this ecosystem efficiently. From managing invoices to setting delivery details, the system works best when creating and following schedules.

Enhancing the Usage Pattern of Customer Data

A BSS can be used across industries because of its ability to help organizations enhance the usage pattern of customer data. By augmenting services such as service bundling as well as switching and gift services, the BSS/OSS improves the selling process based on insights from customer data.

Banking

The following changes can be influenced by a BSS across the banking sector:

  • Simplifies the customer acquisition process for banking services.
  • Lead collection systems are facilitated.
  • Customer complaints are dealt with in a professional manner to mitigate the negative PR that might arise out of them.

Achieving the Transformation

The passage towards a modernized OSS/BSS system can come through multiple efforts.

The Enablers

These three key aspects of the digital transformation have to be at the core in order to enable the transformation towards modern OSS/BSS systems:

  • Enhanced customer experience
  • Operational agility
  • Focus on platform play

Models to Drive Change

To drive change in the customer experience, operators need to be focused on:

  • A cloud based server for micro-services.
  • Real-time communication, or the provision of real-time analytics.
  • A layered architecture that hinders all forms of data duplication.

Download the Mahindra Comviva E-Book to learn more about the digital transformation for telecom operators, and how you can be a part of it.

October 15, 2018 0 comment
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Like many of its global counterparts, the telecom sector in Europe has had its share of ups and downs. Sample this-according to KPMG, the sector has over 150 telecom operators, all fiercely competing for a share of the pie (read: subscribers). The result?-The dubious reputation of being one of the most fragmented markets in the world. The reality is that Europe’s telecom industry is a battlefield. Intense competition exists from low-cost entrants to the market, consumer habits are shifting in the blink of an eye (blame it on the internet) and regulation is designed (and determined) to keep prices low.

Of course, all these factors have had a less than desired effect on revenues-always an important factor. According to a lobby group, the European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association, revenue from European operators dropped by 11 per cent to €248 billion between 2009 and 2015. Now, the aim of this blog isn’t to write-off the sector as a has-been. On the contrary, I intend to focus on the technology side of things, because, let’s face it, however grey the facade, technology is and will remain every operator’s bread and butter.

Allow me to elaborate on that last statement. The market is (and will always) continue to respond to the increased demands of consumers and enterprises for advanced, converged services and solutions. The bottom-line is that the need of the hour-any hour-for an operator will be to enhance scale, deepen reach and broaden capacity if they are to retain customers in the long term.

So, which technological innovations are likely to do the trick? Several, according to the folks at Gartner, including computing, the Internet of Things, 3D printing, advanced, pervasive and invisible analytics, context-rich systems, smart machines, cloud/client computing, software-defined applications and infrastructure, web-scale IT and risk-based security and self-protection. Clearly (and I am stating this without a hint of irony), there is no end to technological advancement!

Now, let’s talk about the most relevant ones to my line of work -advanced, pervasive, invisible analytics and context-rich systems. Both have been the subject of fierce industry debates for a while now. They have also attained the pride of place in almost every company’s product-related literature. There is a small catch, though. While both are sound concepts and worth examining in detail, it’s important to keep in mind two factors-pervasive analytics lose their sheen without a strong focus on actionable insights and not mere data aggregation. Second, the purpose and meaning of context-rich systems is lost, without ensuring they capture and understand the importance of profiling a customer-i.e. where they are located and what makes them tick. In short, these systems ought to speak the same language as the customer.

Here’s where we come in. Without making it seem like I’m tooting my company’s horn, permit me to briefly introduce our product portfolio which is relevant to this discussion. Dubbed Customer Value Solutions (CVS), this portfolio is aimed at ensuring our customers (read: operators) increase loyalty and drive usage across all channels (namely, voice, text and data). The end result is an up to 5% increase in revenue for the operator in question, across its entire base of prepaid customers!

I shall focus on the Revenue Plus platform in this piece, along with two of its modules-the Loyalty Management Solution (LMS) and the Interactive End-of-Call Notifications solution (iEOCN). Now, simply put, the Revenue Plus platform is a data-driven tool that helps marketers deliver highly contextual marketing across multiple channels and on any device. And here’s where the contextual bit comes in-the platform ensures marketers can acquire, analyze and apply information about what makes a customer tick (context, context, context) to orchestrate personalized real-time interactions. The end result-more revenue and a solid edge over the competition-both of which, needless to say, rank high on an operator’s wish-list.

Now, let’s talk about LMS. Can you imagine, a customer who stays put on your network for years, despite your competition offering more value for money for the same bells and whistles? Yes, this can and does happen (Still not tooting my company’s horn). In a nutshell, LMS allows customers to earn points based on the value of their purchases and service consumption patterns. What’s more, they can trade points for rewards. For an operator, the bottom-line is motivating customers to increase their spending, thereby driving profitable behaviour. The operator is able to build continual customer engagement by leveraging rich customer insights to deliver innovative, timely and contextually relevant propositions. Customers, on their part, can avail of a range of compelling offers including lotteries and auctions, sweepstakes, gift catalogue, exclusive deals, instant rewards, the list is endless.

Sounds good so far? Now let’s talk about iEOCN. Again, a digital marketing solution to improve marketing effectiveness by delivering contextual and actionable offers with end of call notification. The ‘call’ could also be a data session, or even sending an SMS, and the notification itself can be delivered within 250Ms of clear-down. Operators, expect your revenues to get a boost-use this platform to deliver contextual, actionable offers to your consumers. Why, you ask? Well, how does wider reach and a higher response rate sound? I rest my case.

With any luck, I hope I have managed to subtly convey my message. It’s quite simple, really, the latest trends in the telecom space suggest that money is being left on the table. There is so much that can be achieved-just think-up to 5,000 campaigns, numbering 400 to a customer, multi-channel delivery spanning SMS, USSD and email and very short response times. Need I go on?

October 14, 2015 0 comment
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