Press Release

How a Centralized Product Catalog Revolutionizes a Telco’s BSS Offerings

How a Centralized Product Catalog Revolutionizes a Telco’s BSS Offerings

How a Centralized Product Catalog Revolutionizes a Telco’s BSS Offerings

23rd of August 2017

With a growing demand for smartphones and other data-hungry devices in the new digital era, offering customers the right products at the right time remains a challenge for CSPs. It can be difficult for CSPs to create, manage and monetize data offers efficiently. Despite having a variety of products, many CSPs fail to respond to the growing needs of customers in an ever-changing marketplace due to an unconsolidated BSS platform, a poorly integrated order management system, and multiple product catalogs. While customers clearly indicate that quality, reliability and consistent service are keys to retention, operators’ BSS systems fail to anticipate the customers’ needs and proactively deliver personalized offers.

The root of the problem is a lack of ability to deliver on customer demands for bundled services and siloed product offerings, and the ideal solution is to have a single centralized product catalog. A centralized product catalog helps CSPs to seize revenue-generating opportunities, deliver an unparalleled Quality of Experience (QoE), reduce time-to-market (TTM), retain a profitable subscriber base, reduce churn, and improve brand loyalty.

A Single Centralized Product Catalog Versus Multiple Product Catalogs

Operators and their many distinct teams (such as business, product, operational and network) currently maintain several product catalogs for multiple channels, i.e. subscribers, affiliates, casual customers, etc. However, to gain a competitive market advantage and to ensure the timely launch of new products, CSPs need to quickly design, create, price, bundle, collaborate and launch offers based on customer needs and preferences. Unfortunately, as soon as the market and customers’ preferences evolve, these old product catalogs take a back seat, and the need to create a new product catalog arises. The constant creation of new products and need for bundled services across multiple departments makes it difficult for operators to manage multiple product catalogs scattered across the BSS.

To make the product portfolio instantly available to marketing and product teams and to reduce complexities, a single centralized product catalog offers a powerful solution to the constant battle to respond quickly and efficiently to market changes. It helps CSPs to design, collaborate, organize, and manage offer lifecycles with ease, giving them a competitive edge to launch numerous innovative plans and services on the fly. The reduced TTM and ability to respond quickly to the customer’s needs redefine the customer experience, assure customers’ happiness, increase ARPU and ROI, and lower operating costs.

How a Centralized Product Catalog Reduces TTM

From offer creation to fulfillment, Alepo’s next-gen BSS platform (with built-in product catalog), Service Enabler (SE), is designed to increase revenue and customer loyalty by facilitating a rapid TTM for new, innovative products and services. The centralized Alepo Product Catalog Manager gives CSPs the flexibility to agilely respond in a continuously evolving market across multiple access technologies with fine-grained prepaid, postpaid, and hybrid plans. With Alepo’s Product Catalog, the products can be configured and brought to market via a simple point-and-click interface and defined by many metrics based on volume, value, time, and quality of service.

10 Key Considerations for an Ideal Product Catalog

1. Single, Centralized, Convergent Tool

A product catalog should be a single, truly centralized, convergent, and service-agnostic application that bundles multiple service offerings into one package within a few minutes, anytime and for any network.

2. Simple, Intuitive Interface

A product catalog should have a simplified, modern user interface (UI) that helps business users to conceptualize and design new offers quickly. Alepo’s Product Catalog, a robust and standalone application, takes the user experience to new heights with a “drag-and-drop” UI, helping CSPs to create new features with ease.

3. Product-Centric Dashboard

With cutting-edge product catalogs such as Alepo’s, marketing and product teams are able to maintain a smart dashboard. With quick insight into upcoming, ongoing, and expired offers, as well as the most discussed offers, a product-centric dashboard efficiently managing the product offering design process.

4. Manages Offers Efficiently

A single and centralized or master product catalog serves as an offer repository when integrated with other IT systems of the BSS platform. A product catalog reduces the effort put into creating and managing offers. Irrespective of the number and nature of offers, the ideal product catalog manages all manner of offers, system-wide, in a single catalog, ensuring efficiency.

5. Eases Teamwork and Collaboration

A product catalog should provide features like sharing, discussion, and history. This built-in communication eliminates the need for spreadsheets, whiteboards, or paper versions of the offers that get easily lost or are hard to organize. With all of this information in one place, collaboration is more efficient, and fewer mistakes are made. Discussion forum functionality enables marketing and product teams to manage the offer design process efficiently. It encourages active participation and discussion across departments during the offer design process. This collaborative process helps CSPs to reduce operational cost and respond with agility to shifts in the market.

6. Flexible Offer Design Interface

The platform should provide flexibility in designing offers, allowing marketing and product teams to create and modify offer attributes/features and offer items, while capturing granular details of a feature/item. Advanced applications like Alepo’s Universal Offer Designer help CSPs to create attractive and innovative products, without limitations, giving CSPs a competitive edge in the market.

7. Intelligently Organizes Offers

The list of offers present in the product catalog should be easily scanned by adding filters such as tags and categories. The platform needs to be flexible, managing offers through the use of a search filter tool, offer versioning, categorization, and tags. New offers can be designed quickly and intelligently to fill gaps in the current catalog through the use of offer import/export, cloning, and product comparisons.

8. Supports Multi-Play Offerings

The role of a product catalog is not just to create and manage offers, but help CSPs gain new subscribers, offer complex service bundles, improve ARPU, and generate revenue. The product catalog remains a powerful channel for CSPs to improve their multi-play offerings and digitally evolve their network.

9. Secured Access

A product catalog should provide role-based authentication for creating offers, editing offers, read-only access, deleting offers, creating features, etc. This administrative aspect helps in maintaining authorized access, reducing human error.

10. Flexible Deployment Options

The product catalog is generally a standalone tool and comes with flexible deployment models such as “SaaS” or “on-premise.” Considering the business needs and IT complexities, Alepo’s Product Catalog supports multiple business models, i.e. as an internal component of Alepo’s BSS Solution or as a standalone master product catalog with integration’s to other IT systems through RESTful API integration.

Anju Gulati

Anju Gulati

Marketing Operations Manager

A core marketer with over sixteen years of combined cross-discipline experience, including marketing communications, operations, and content creation. I believe with an increasingly competitive marketplace, marketing is the magic to expedite sales closures, achieve business success, sustain brand leadership, and drive future growth.

How BSS can be turned into a telecom business profit generator

How BSS can be turned into a telecom business profit generator

How BSS can be turned into a telecom business profit generator

23rd of August 2017

A BSS solution encompasses a wide spectrum of functionalities such as billing, rating and charging, customer experience, customer care, CRM, fulfilment, and revenue management, which can be turned into a growth-enabling driver when each piece is modernized and streamlined. Here, we analyze ways that a robust BSS solution can become a profit generator.

Predicting customer churn

Telecom companies can leverage advanced analytics to seek value from data residing in the BSS, OSS and CRM, among others. By leveraging data gathered from customer usage, transactions, complaints, billing and social media, predictive models can be built to identify potential churners. This, in turn, helps telecom companies to roll out offers, promotions and services to win and keep loyal customers.

Promoting a personalised customer experience

Digital users accept nothing short of unique, personalised experiences. By implementing a digital BSS system, telecom companies can capture interaction data and create targeted customer interactions. Whether it is the need to address network issues, reward loyalty, or recommend offers, telecom companies can leverage AI and deep learning to meet real-time customer demands. Additionally, BSS data, network data and performance data can be integrated to get a 360-degree view of the customer, giving companies the full picture necessary to create targeted offers that increase both ARPU and customer satisfaction.

Establishing innovative service lines

Cloud-based services are an increasingly important part of any provider’s offerings. Not only is their appeal becoming clear to consumers, but businesses are increasingly utilizing cloud-based services to enable ease of communication to employees across the globe. A robust BSS solution allows operators to bundle cloud-based services into more traditional offerings easily, ensuring that providers can both increase ARPU and be seen as innovative operators.

Promoting agility and increased efficiency

Additionally, a robust BSS solution that is itself cloud-based can offer businesses the agility necessary to support emerging technologies. For IoT and M2M systems for example, a cloud-based BSS allows providers to effectively sync and juggle the multitude of partnerships entailed in these complex new systems. As emerging business opportunities emphasize agililty in a shifting and complex marketplace, a cloud-based BSS solution presents the only way to allow businesses to manage and create partnerships and products the instant opportunities arise.

In a rapidly evolving marketplace, characterized by shifts in technology and consumer lifestyle, successful companies will seize opportunities the moment they arise. In order to do so, they must utilize a BSS solution that can effectively extract insights from network intelligence by leveraging real-time data analytics, allowing providers to identity and respond to market trends as soon as they arise.

Retaining profitable customers

The cost of acquiring new customers accounts is substantial for telecom companies. Because of this high cost, it takes time for services providers to recover acquisition costs, making it  important to retain profitable customers now more than ever. And in order to do so, it is vital that providers have a complete view of the customer’s habits and history. By integrating BSS and OSS applications, telecom companies can gain a comprehensive view of the customer to make convergent billing, tiered rates and applicable discounts possible. This way, it becomes easy to analyze the value that customers bring to business. This also empowers the telecom company to differentiate offers according to the value of the customer.

Constantly enhancing average revenue per user

The constant demand to improve ARPU drives telecom companies to deliver new services that meet the demands of customers. By integrating customer-facing systems, specifically BSS, with the other systems as well as service delivery mechanisms, telecom companies can inject speed into the launch of new services.

Whether it is a need to accelerate service provisioning, introduce innovative service lines or enhance customer experience to enhance the bottom line, telecom companies can leverage a robust and modernized BSS to make these objectives a reality.

Rohit Srivastav

Rohit Srivastav

Content Strategist - Manager

Facts aren’t enough, a brand needs to tell stories. Stories that people want to read, share and read again. Stories that deliver on business goals. I am the guy who turns facts into stories.

Is the Telecom industry finally surging ahead for growth in 2017?

Is the Telecom industry finally surging ahead for growth in 2017?

Is the Telecom industry finally surging ahead for growth in 2017?

23rd of August 2017

The telecommunications market is in a period of transition—with years of declining traditional revenue, dipping average revenue per user, and loss of growth in the B2C sector, many operators are finding themselves wondering where the emerging business opportunities lie.

Are there signs of business opportunities on the horizon for Telcos to step up their business growth in 2017?

 

telecom industry

B2B

The consumer market is growing just at 0.6%; in comparison, the B2B market has been growing at 2.6% annually. For Telcos, B2B services seem to be the ray of hope to propel their growth in 2017.  Just like consumers, businesses have come to expect fine-grained services, unique to their needs. However, while operators have focused their innovations on direct-to-consumer offerings, the needs of enterprise accounts have evolved, and a market opportunity has emerged to cater to these requirements. By re-positioning their offerings, operators can sell more effectively to this growing market, presenting businesses with telecom plans that also encompass workflow management, security, or CRM. By offering these more robust, enterprise-specific plans, operators are assured to distinguish themselves in the B2B growth market.

 

telecom industry

The Threat of OTT

Operators have also seen revenues plateau or drop because of the proliferation of OTT players. Companies like Google, Skype, and Netflix are increasingly taking market share from more traditional telecom providers, making competing with traditional services impossible.

 

telecom industry

While a select few telecoms have entered the OTT marketplace through large acquisitions of media companies (such as AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV), this is not a viable strategy for most telecom companies. Instead, the threat of OTT challenges telecoms to differentiate their services according to their unique tech and market advantages.

By offering services more easily bundled into traditional telecom offerings, such as cloud storage, enhanced security, workflow management, or CRM, telecoms can find themselves increasing market share without attempting to compete directly with OTT providers. Additionally, by pivoting instead of competing, telecoms still win—after all, OTT use boosts internet and data usage.

The Rise of 5G

5G is the new trend expected to get off the ground in 2017. The potential of 5G to revolutionize business functions is not lost upon industries like transportation and energy. Moreover, 5G is predicted as the key to the rise of M2M and IoT applications like augmented or virtual reality and autonomous vehicles.

Cellular-connected IoT devices alone are expected to create 1.2 billion lines by the year 2020, the equivalent of 15% of global mobile subscriptions! The rise of 5G will enable such data-hungry technologies to thrive, creating a whole new market segment for telecoms.

Exploiting the potentials of new technologies could well be the new line of attack for the telecom companies. Vehicle connectivity, for instance, proves this point. In the US from January to March of 2016, connected cars were accountable for 32% of mobile connection net-adds, outpacing tablets (23%) and phones (31%). While telcos set their eyes on exploring new revenue-earning opportunities, collaborations established with these emerging technology players will prove to be viable to make this happen.

References:

http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/how-to-capture-the-b2b-growth-opportunity-in-telecom.aspx
https://www.telco2research.com/articles/EB_growth-strategies-68-operators
http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/telecommunications/our-insights/overwhelming-ott-telcos-growth-strategy-in-
http://pages.eiu.com/rs/783-XMC-194/images/Telecoms_in_2017.pdf
http://pages.eiu.com/rs/783-XMC-194/images/Telecoms_in_2017.pdf
http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/how-to-capture-the-b2b-growth-opportunity-in-telecom.aspx
http://www.strategyand.pwc.com/trend/2017-telecommunications-industry-trends
https://techannouncer.com/global-telecom-industry-find-opportunities-mobile-connectivity-emerging-nations/
http://www.information-age.com/top-3-telecom-trends-2017-123463558/
http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/PressReleases/over-the-top-ott.asp
http://www.telecompetitor.com/seven-top-telecom-trends-for-2017/
http://www.computerweekly.com/opinion/Telecoms-Opportunities-and-challenges-in-2017
https://www.zacks.com/commentary/98170/us-telecom-industry-momentum-to-continue-in-2017
http://www.bmiresearch.com/articles/global-telecoms-key-themes-for-2017

 

Rohit Srivastav

Rohit Srivastav

Content Strategist - Manager

Facts aren’t enough, a brand needs to tell stories. Stories that people want to read, share and read again. Stories that deliver on business goals. I am the guy who turns facts into stories.

CSP to DSP: A Journey of Transformation

CSP to DSP: A Journey of Transformation

CSP to DSP: A Journey of Transformation

23rd of August 2017

As mobile technologies have evolved, so has the telecommunications customer base. While ten years ago, customers were looking for little more than access, the ubiquity of smartphones and tablets has created new demands and opportunities that expand the role of the service provider.

While simple, one-fits-all service worked in the past, as technology has evolved, so have customer needs and expectations. A recent IBM study on Generation Z (or post-millenials, as they’re also known) showed that these emerging consumers highly favor personalized interactions and favor quality over price. This means that while the evolving customer base presents providers with challenges, they also promise higher ARPU.

So, as technologies and consumers evolve, CSPs can find themselves left behind, crippled by their legacy systems into offering impersonal plans, leaving current and potential customers unsatisfied.

It’s therefore becoming increasingly clear that CSPs should strongly consider transforming into DSPs (Digital Service Providers). What distinguishes DSPs is precisely this fine-grained service, and ability to bundle several offerings, such as broadband access, content, and mobile apps.

A DSP is a service provider which has evolved from offering just the core telecom services, to providing broadband access, content, services and mobile apps to its customers.

While this evolution can be challenging, it is a necessity for providers who wish to remain competitive. In order to fully monetize their networks, it is imperative that they offer bundled and nuanced plans to a customer base ready to pay for these features.

 

But what exactly does it take to transform from a CSP to DSP?

How to evolve from a CSP to a DSP?

Becoming a DSP is about becoming more responsive and adaptable to consumers’ wants and needs around mobile data services. A stellar customer experience— complete with personalized and contextual mobile data offers, real-time usage alerts, unique roaming offers, and everything digital—is central to being successful as a DSP.

The core ingredients of a successful DSP:

  • Subscriber Segmentation Capabilities: A CSP needs to have granular segmentation capabilities based on parameters such as location, age, gender, consumption, device type, and many more. Mobile data needs for each subscriber varies greatly and requires this segmentation for smart offers that increase ARPU. According to a 2015 Business of Apps survey, millennials in the United States spend, on average, 90 hours per month using mobile apps, mainly video streaming (e.g., YouTube, Netflix), social media (e.g., SnapChat, Instagram), music streaming (e.g., Pandora, Spotify), and messaging (e.g., Viber, WeChat). This could vary vastly in comparison to another customer segment, such as enterprise customers, who aim to limit their employees’ use on certain social websites while at work, and promote other services. To cater to these two different segments, an operator must create a customized offer for each.
  • Rich Contextual Data Offer Creation: CSPs should be able to create offers based on multiple parameters: QoS, apps and content, time, device type, data usage, and subscriber profile, as well as network-centric parameters like congestion, access network, and location.
  • Sponsored Apps and Offers: CSPs can partner with other ecosystem players, like OTT apps or digital services, to offer special promotions or plans that are subsidized by the partner.  For example, an operator may offer a plan where video streaming is free from one of their local video partners, to drive consumption of that content.
  • CSPs Own App: A lot of CSPs are choosing this option and urging users to install their native app. Using the app, subscribers can instantly purchase a data pass, or even create their own, based on how much data and validity they want to buy. In addition, users can subscribe to personalized data usage alerts. Subscribers can also elect to set their own bandwidth speeds for data, to manage and even “stretch” their usage.

The transformation of a CSP into a DSP is indeed disruptive, but it is the need of the hour. CSPs need to evolve their legacy systems, molding their business models to stay relevant and profitable in the market.

In the coming times, consumers and their needs will be the driving force of the market. CSPs need to understand this and create valuable offerings and business processes that put consumers at the center. CSPs need to plan ahead of the changing market requirements to beat the curve and be relevant to their customers at all times.

Click here to read how Green Com modernizes its mobile network with an Alepo BSS Transformation solution, resulting in 10% higher revenues within just two months of deployment.

Rohit Srivastav

Rohit Srivastav

Content Strategist - Manager

Facts aren’t enough, a brand needs to tell stories. Stories that people want to read, share and read again. Stories that deliver on business goals. I am the guy who turns facts into stories.

6 Ways to Monetize Free WiFi Using a Captive Portal

6 Ways to Monetize Free WiFi Using a Captive Portal

6 Ways to Monetize Free WiFi Using a Captive Portal

23rd of August 2017

In recent years, WiFi has evolved from a luxury to a basic necessity. This change is driven by the following ingredients of success—it is free (most of the time), it is widely available, and it connects us to the world. In fact, I would go out on a limb and say that WiFi should now be included in the bottom layer of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, right next to food, water, and shelter.

For service providers, this proliferation has been a bitter-sweet experience. On one hand, WiFi provides a means to ease network congestion caused by heavy data users (or as it is commonly called, WiFi offload). On the other hand, it becomes difficult to attach a monetary value to this widely-available benefit. As a CSP, you have to not only maintain QoE for your users but also compete for market share against unsecured public WiFi and other low-cost service providers. To top it off, most people expect WiFi to be a free service. This leaves very few methods to monetize WiFi, making it difficult to incorporate into your business strategy.

To combat the monetization challenge, one of the most underrated but reliable solutions is the WiFi captive portal. The captive portal is the face of your brand, interacting with your customers before they authenticate and connect. It’s not just a tactical pit-stop in the WiFi service route, but also a window of opportunity. All you have to do is think of the possibilities beyond free WiFi.

Here are 6 ways to make the best use of a captive portal in a way that both captivates customers’ attention and achieves business excellence, at no cost to the end user.

6 Ways to Monetize Free WiFi Using a Captive Portal

  1. Fill out a survey:  Surveys are a great way to collect user data, like email addresses, as well as a way to solicit feedback related to their experience with your brand. Through a captive portal, you can gather required data to drive email marketing campaigns and derive value from the survey results.
  2. Verify SMS to connect: Asking for a user’s phone number gives you one more way to capitalize on your free WiFi hotspot access. You get verified phone numbers of prospects which can be fed into your marketing pipeline to develop them into customers.
  3. Advertisements: Most users are willing to see an advertisement in exchange for free WiFi access. By putting advertisements in the form of banners and other static ads on the captive portal, the user must view these before they can gain access to WiFi. By showcasing your own brand’s ads, you can boost brand knowledge and support. Or, you can monetize by charging a per view fee for other companies’ advertisements.
  4.  Video Advertisements: Video advertisements take monetizing on ad revenue to another level, yielding a much higher per-view rate. Requiring users to watch a 20 second video ad, before they can access WiFi, stimulates user engagement and can generate higher ad revenue.
  5. Capture data using social login: For almost all mobile apps, social sign-on is a norm these days. It has become a habit for the customer and you can exploit this to gain access to some useful data about the user. Later, you can use this data to run analytics and targeted campaigns targeting any particular segment.
  6. Connect with an existing account:  Whether you are an internet service provider or a mobile network operator running a WiFi network, you can allow your existing customers to log into your public WiFi hotspot network with the same credentials they use for their home broadband connection or mobile account. Easy WiFi access = happy customers = loyal customers!

The WiFi Captive Portal is not just powerful and appealing, it is also quite simple to createAlepo’s WiFi Captive Portal can help you design a captive portal that works best for you with our modular, highly scalable platform, which has proven IOTs with many top vendors. The Alepo WiFi Captive Portal is the best option to get your WiFi services up and running in minutes while adding value to your brand.

Learn more about the Alepo WiFi Captive Portal

Shaileja Pagare

Shaileja Pagare

Product Marketing Manager

An avid reader and a technology enthusiast who likes to keep up with wireless industry trends. She’s a music lover, a traveler and believes in living life to the fullest.

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