As consumers, it’s easy to take for granted just how powerful a mobile phone service is, and how consistently “it just works” when you need it to. But as anyone in the telecom industry knows, there is a world of complexity behind the scenes that makes it all possible – from QoS, to billing, security, rating, usability…the list goes on and on.
At this week’s TM Forum, the industry will gather to discuss new ways to address the complex business of serving the digital consumer, and I think there are a few buzz words that we’ll hear often as the week goes on. First, making the roll-out of new digital services faster and easier is a complex issue facing the telecom industry from the most advanced to newly emerging markets. So, we’ll likely hear a lot about moving into a landscape of “multi-connected devices.” Advances across the Internet of Things (IoT) are driving innovation and improving experiences across all segments from health to wearables and connected cars. Consumers expect access to an exciting ecosystem of a diverse range of services and the convenience of delivery through a single aggregator. Apple and Google are certainly investing in becoming the aggregator of choice. So how does the telecom industry compete?
Building an Ecosystem of Services
While the exciting headlines may be on the “front-end” of creating a consumer experience around highly connected cars or smart homes, this shift has important implications for the “back-office” of today’s CSPs.
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.
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.
The new partner-centric, 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. 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 investment in IT architecture—but no telco wants to ‘rip and replace’ existing, complex and expensive systems.
CSPs could upgrade existing systems, implement adjunct systems to minimize impacts to existing systems, or leverage SaaS to reduce upfront investments while testing new business models. Each option has benefits but also the associated risks and costs could 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 of the cloud, managed services are moving toward full solution offerings designed to address a CSP’s imperative business-level B2B2X issues, transforming traditional business models to be lean and agile. Creating a lean operating infrastructure fit for the digital economy frees up resources to invest in innovation and generate the revenue streams of the future.