This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.
For the last decade, mobile operators have experienced diminishing returns due to market saturation, price pressure and consumer demands for increasingly complex mobile services and also the rise of over the top (OTT) competitors who are able to provide free communication services over the internet. On one hand, the physical, network-centric world is being disrupted by software-defined, cloud-based network and on-demand micro services, which helps to optimise operational costs and brings in IT agility. On the other hand, new consumer experiences are getting defined by these internet companies, and customers are no longer content to take what they are given or accept a process because it suits the limitations of the operator's technology platform or processes. In response, operators must now turn to new strategies by removing complex non-relevant internal processes, organisational and technical barriers to manage growing customer expectations and bring in new services with speed and business model agility and reduced opex. Consequently, operators have found themselves facing the question of how to become Digital Service Providers (DSPs) in order to become more appealing to consumers and keep up with these digital disruptors.
Research conducted by Tecnotree amongst global operators confirms that the industry is aware that change is required to transform their businesses and stay competitive. The research revealed that 75 percent of respondents had noticed increased average revenue per customer (ARPU) related to digital services over the past 12 months.
The demand for digital services appears to be on the rise, with 69 per cent of operators expecting to see an increase in digital usage. Yet it is critical that operators reinvent their service offering to benefit from this increase in usage, enhance performance and ensure that data remains in their networks. With 89 percent of those surveyed feeling confident that OTT providers can deliver new products in one to six months, compared to the 30 percent that believe it takes a year for operators to do the same, new services will need to be rolled-out quickly by operators to ensure they do not lag behind their competitors.
Hurdles in launching new digital services
Even if the operators are not building the new digital services themselves, it always takes a long time to roll-out even partner offerings to the market through the operator's own channels and Business Support System (BSS). Apart from the needs to offer an omni-device self-serve system for consumers, the operator's sales agents would need to know about the new services and the pricing and offers. As such, they need to be integrated to the sales view of any Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that they are using. There are integration issues in making the service offering visible in a product catalogue, with configurable pricing parameters and bundling options that provision the service for a customer - such as integration to the product catalogue and order management subsystems. Once the customer purchases or subscribes to the new digital service, then the customer info needs to be entered or updated in the CRM system as well as billing system so that bills can be generated at the end of the billing cycle for the new subscribed service on an ongoing periodic basis until the subscription ends. As such, even a very simple service with periodic subscription has complex integration efforts towards the entire BSS platform. Traditionally, with very limited number of new services launched, the operators tried to manage it with changes in the existing BSS system. However, even if this approach has worked in the past, it has become a major hurdle for the operator to cross for roll-out of new digital services on a continuous basis. The speed and agility required to compete and create great consumer experiences with new services mandates a very efficient and effective BSS system that has open platforms in place, which speeds up the whole order-to-cash process in order to be responsive and adaptable to these changing market demands.
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