In the highly competitive telecommunications industry, communication service providers (CSPs) must deliver exceptional experiences to satisfy and retain customers. As CSPs expand their enterprise portfolio and form new partnerships, the partner experience becomes equally important. This means CSPs must make it easy for partners to work with them if they want to succeed as digital service providers. To do this, CSPs need to evolve their business support systems (BSS), partner management and integration capabilities to be scalable and flexible.
Meeting Partner Expectations
Partners want to combine CSP products, networks and IT assets with their own offerings to create attractive revenue-generating products and offers. Like end users (consumers), enterprise partners demand quick, easy interactions with CSPs. New partners want the ability to onboard themselves, sell and market their products, manage their agreements, view their statements and invoices, and perform settlements—all online and without delay.
Hyperscalers such as Amazon, Meta, and Google make it easy to partner with them. AWS’ mission is “to accelerate [partners’] engagement with Amazon Web Services (AWS) by making it easier than ever to work with us.” Joining the AWS Partner Network is a simple matter of completing three online forms and enrolling in a partner path (e.g., hardware, software, services) that facilitates navigation to relevant resources and programs.
CSPs must deliver superior partner experiences across the digital partner lifecycle, from joining the ecosystem, filling orders and creating offers with CSPs and other partners. If they can’t onboard, create, curate, monetize and market their services as easily as leading cloud platforms, potential partners may not deem a CSP ecosystem worth the investment, no matter the brand.
Automation is Essential for Outstanding Partner Experiences
The manual systems and processes traditionally used to onboard and market new products and services are too time- and labor-intensive to support the establishment and management of multiple, diverse enterprise partnerships. Instead, CSPs need to adopt zero-touch (automated) partnering. The entire service lifecycle should be automated from partner and product onboarding to fulfillment, orchestration, management, assurance and billing.
5 Capabilities CSPs Need to Deliver Superior Partner Experiences
To make their partner experiences stand out, CSPs need a platform that offers end-to-end capabilities.
- Intuitive partner self-service. A user-friendly self-service portal makes it simple to configure services through zero-code (drag-and-drop) functionality. The portal should provide:
• Zero-touch onboarding. Partners join the ecosystem by completing an online profile.
• Secure access to:
– Manage account and profile information
– View billing and settlement information
– Upload and download documents
– Access agreements and reports
- Centralized product catalog. A centralized product catalog provides a single source of truth for partners and removes the need to navigate multiple catalogs, saving time, reducing errors and decreasing time to market. Leveraging TM Forum Zero-Touch Partnering APIs, configuration data is captured in the catalog using a model-driven approach automating order management, tariff application, billing, service delivery and lifecycle management.
- Catalog-driven orchestration. Catalog-driven orchestration supports faster creation and delivery of partner services by streamlining service bundling, automating service provisioning, and providing end-to-end lifecycle management. Catalog-driven orchestration enables real-time service configuration, allowing CSPs and their partners to quickly and easily configure services to meet enterprise customer needs. This reduces the time and effort required to deliver services and improves the overall customer experience.
- Integrated revenue management (partner billing, charging and multi-party settlement) functionality. Legacy billing and settlement systems cannot handle the complexities of multiple new service bundles and different partner agreements. CSPs need a system that:
• Handles end user billing and charging and partner settlements in one platform
• Manages complex hierarchical partner billing accounts, monitors consumption and ensures continuous billing accuracy
• Supports complex B2B2X charging and multi-party settlement models. The settlement system must be able to handle multiple, complex partner relationships and new business models
- Integration and interoperability. To thrive in the enterprise services market, CSPs must be integrators as well as connectivity and BSS stack providers. CSPs should adhere to an open standards-based architecture and use open APIs to facilitate integration and coexistence with their partners’ systems. To support partners in different verticals, CSPs must be able to accommodate industry-specific data standards such as Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR). FHIR is an internet-based data standard used by most major electronic health record (EHR) vendors to transmit/share healthcare data.
A Digital Partner Management Solution
CSG Encompass is the only solution designed and built to manage multi-sided business models for the communications industry, unifying the commerce journeys of CSPs, their partners and their customers. The platform reduces the complexity of B2B2X ecosystems, making it easier for CSPs to expand their portfolios with a multitude of partners. No matter where you’re starting from, CSG Encompass has your partner management requirements covered. Contact us to learn more.
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