Telecom operations transformation
Transforming Core Operations in the Era of On-Demand Services
Telecom operators today are looking to transition from providing commoditized traditional services such as voice, text and data to delivering on-demand, flexible, personalized solutions to their increasingly discerning and demanding customers. And, as the “everything as a service” credo gains traction, communication service providers (CSPs) must transform their operating models that are no longer fit for purpose, in terms of having the desired flexibility and scalability.
Four primary reasons can be highlighted. To begin with, the complex legacy IT systems prevalent in many operators are simply ill-equipped to orchestrate next-generation services underpinned by new technologies such as 5G, IoT, virtual reality and blockchain. With IoT-related services projected to grow massively and 5G expected to impact over a billion devices in the coming years, operators must reimagine their operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS).
Secondly, the current operating model of many operators constrains their ability to generate a single snapshot of customers, products and services. For carriers running several lines of business, the lack of a one-stop view of subscriber billing, consumption behaviour and other data sets can hinder their ability to swiftly respond to customer complaints.
Thirdly, suboptimal workflows across various front-end and back-end functions, unless rectified, can significantly mar the customer experience. Human intervention remains significant in many business processes such as server installation and service ticket handling. Clearly, there is a pressing need to automate and simplify these workflows for enhancing capacity management and operational efficiency.
Fourth, silos abound in the telecom OSS landscape, with a number of operators running hundreds of applications for managing processes concerning network inventory, configuration, activation, provisioning, etc. Needless to say, such an operational set-up, where there is no synchronization between disparate OSS stacks, not only increases the total cost of ownership (TCO), but also renders master data management challenging.
Defining an Operations Revamp
How can operations then be revamped for the era of instant gratification, where customers demand bespoke offerings whenever, wherever they want it? Operators ought to start at the very core, i.e. declutter core applications, network and infrastructure by embracing disruptive technologies such as software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV).
As networks rapidly evolve into software-centric setups, their operations also must transition from one dominated by people to centred around software–the policy-based administration of new-age data centres being a case in point.
In tandem, operators should adopt innovative build methodologies, including agile and DevOps, and open-source software to minimize the risks of vendor lock-in and “technology debt”. Another imperative is the fact that proprietary software are simply prohibitively expensive and unsustainable for you, amid the ongoing migration from hardware-driven networks.
Another critical element of operations transformation must be to make OSS and BSS applications event-driven and automated. For example, human role involved in logging of customer service requests can be eliminated altogether, paving the way for instant self-service and provisioning. By orchestrating such a shift, the OSS/BSS stack can be configured to self-manage the end-to-end service lifecycle, resulting in lower TCO and subscriber churn.
Transforming core operations will not only help operators boost agility and reduce time to market (TTM) but also address real-time customer requirements in a flexible and efficient manner. Moreover, with a next-generation OSS/BSS powering an operator’s front and back ends, these players will be able to diversify into new business lines such as OTT content and data-as-a-service.
And most importantly, a transformed operating model would enable the operator to institutionalize a seamless, harmonious interplay between OSS and BSS, paving the way for superior service delivery, fulfillment, assurance, and enriching customer experiences.
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