Top 7 benefits digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

Top 7 benefits digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

Top 7 benefits digital BSS delivers, now and in 5G

 

14th of January 2020

As evidenced in countries where it has launched, 5G brings massive innovation potential but is challenging to monetize if its only unique offering is ultrafast speed. Many operators are aware that 5G success depends on their digital Business Support Systems (BSS) and bringing innovation to their own business models. A recent study by TM Forum reveals that 72% of CSPs believe 5G revenue growth is completely dependent on transforming their BSS and OSS. However, digital transformation is beneficial even before 5G is rolled out: a robust BSS stack enables implementing and monetizing key 5G use cases, such as OTT partnerships and new business models, on previous-gen networks.

5G networks are anticipated to deliver a transformational customer experience with improved speed, connectivity, network coverage, interoperability, and more. And this will be further enhanced with omnichannel support, which offers a highly personalized, consistent, seamless, and holistic view of the complete customer journey. Enabling faster speeds and connectivity, rapid service creation and monetization, and differentiated partnership models for new revenue streams will be a necessity for operators. Those ready with 5G Core (5GC) architecture before the 5G market matures will have a competitive edge. It provides a high-level of orchestration and automation with the use of a modular 5G service-based architecture (SBA) required to meet future challenges and business needs. An effective digital BSS helps to fully monetize this transformation and derive maximum ROI.

How digital BSS unlocks 5G potential

With limited features and rigid architecture, legacy BSS cannot keep up with the evolving demands of customers as they embrace a digital lifestyle. With a digital BSS stack, operators can seize the benefits of 5G – a fact they are well aware of. According to this report , the global digital BSS market is expected to reach approximately USD 7,416 million by 2025, at a CAGR of roughly 15% between 2019 and 2025.

A digital BSS provides an elastic, modern, and convergent system in a virtualized network environment, giving CSPs an edge over competitors and enabling them to readily offer unique 5G services. An effective BSS transformation helps modernize fixed and wireless networks, as well as support CSPs to introduce differentiated services and automate business processes.

What should you look for in a digital BSS?

5G facilitates real-time rating, metering and charging for sophisticated digital services, along with monetization schemes such as QoS tiers, OTT billing and charging, partner settlements (B2B2X), and more – all of which is possible only with a flexible and agile BSS platform. Robust digital BSS architecture using the latest 5G standards is essential in this competitive and ever-evolving market – today and well into the future – to be able to support a dynamic environment and provide quick time-to-value in delivering new features and functions.

Top benefits operators enjoy with digital BSS

Modern digital BSS features help improve and monetize legacy as well as next-gen networks, driving the following benefits for operators:

1. Rapid and phased deployments
A truly modern digital BSS is modular, cloud-native and deployed virtually. For operators not wanting to undertake a complete digital transformation at one go, it’s possible to implement in phases, so there is low risk involved in migration and fewer resources are required to launch it. Further, End of Life is less frequent, and the hardware is much easier to manage.

2. Accelerated monetization of use-cases
A 5G-ready digital BSS stack lets operators rapidly monetize the data network with innovative and personalized offerings, enhancing the digital experience for subscribers and improving customer loyalty. The elastic and convergent platform provides a network environment for CRM, convergent charging and billing, with REST APIs that offer the flexibility to quickly introduce a host of digital services with new billing models.

3. Centralized catalog management
With 5G, network slicing, and the surge of IoT and other data-intensive services like AI and VR, it will be challenging for CSPs to meet the demands to support new business models and use cases on the fly without expensive and lengthy backend code changes. A digital BSS stack with a centralized product catalog enables CSPs to swiftly respond to this network evolution. A common product repository and robust API framework allow CSPs, partners, and distributors to accelerate TTM for new products and services and improve revenue and customer engagement. With modern centralized catalogs, plans can be defined by many metrics such as volume, value, time, and quality of service. This core functionality helps ease teamwork and collaboration, manage offers efficiently, support multi-play offerings, and provide quick access to prebuilt use cases library.

4. Improved customer management
Customer relationship management covers all important aspects of the customer lifecycle, from registration and hierarchy to offering a 360-degree view to CSRs for subscribers as well as enterprise customers. With digital CRM, operators can implement automated workflows, streamline sales and support, and use chatbots and AI to reduce manual CSR workload. Additionally, it enables instant issue redressal and quick troubleshooting with web and mobile self-care including live chat options, lowering operational expenses and reducing churn.

5. Efficient revenue management
CSPs need real-time billing and policy control capabilities to seize and monetize opportunities that all-IP networks bring. Convergent charging facilitates automated rates and charging mechanisms. Further, revenue management solutions with reliable interconnect and billing for roaming help manage diverse partnerships, enabling CSPs to efficiently charge other operators for use of their voice, data, SMS, and other network infrastructure. A modern digital BSS with real-time APIs can also facilitate new 5G use cases like surge or congestion charging at times when the demand for digital services is high.

6. Enhanced partner management
A digital BSS stack with an integrated partner management platform helps improve operational agility by streamlining the partner lifecycle. It helps cultivate relationships with simplified onboarding, self-service, and support for a host of partner functions such as content, OTT, IoT, interconnect agreements, roaming, MVNO, and others. A partner management solution with open API integration works seamlessly with third-party systems.

7. Automated omnichannel support
Improving customer experience is not merely about providing better user interfaces on various devices, but also integrating the process across channels. Omnichannel support allows operators to provide a consistent, seamless, and highly personalized self-care experience through web, mobile and social media platforms, ensuring swift problem resolution while making customers feel more connected and valued. The most recent additions to this trend are WhatsApp-, AI- and NLP-powered chatbots for instant redressal of customer queries.

Telcos are already in the battle to build 5G networks and intend to offer improved quality of service to customers. And as they invest billions of dollars in 5G RAN, they must remember that an effective 5G strategy includes IT systems to generate ROI on that investment. Digital BSS has the great benefit of being modular so it can be rolled out in phases, mitigating the risks involved in a largescale migration of one’s billing system. To maximize their chances of success, operators must modernize their infrastructure with a digital BSS transformation today.

Rani Shanmugam

Rani Shanmugam

Marketing Content Writer

Long story short, Rani writes about the workings of telecom networks. Short story long, she has a rich and diverse background as a developer, business analyst, and technical writer for broad-spectrum solutions across various industries, and is now focused on telecommunications marketing. She unwinds by painting with her toddler son and loves to whip up elaborate meals fit for a feast.

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Delivering Service Innovation with Convergent Billing and Charging

Delivering Service Innovation with Convergent Billing and Charging

Delivering Service Innovation with Convergent Billing and Charging

12th of September 2017
Telecom operators, in the past, relied solely on fixed-line services for generating revenue. The industry has since taken great strides. Operators have developed various innovative services that empower customers to look beyond voice and SMS and explore streaming video, maps, music, and many more data applications. The opportunities created for customers have enabled operators to plunge into new services.

Today, quality customer experience plays a major role in generating revenue. In this customer-centric era, operators are driven to promote timely personalized offers and deals at attractive price ranges.

With the rise of service offerings, operators face tremendous pressure on their billing platform. The need to enhance the capabilities of the BSS stack has become as significant as improving network capacity from time to time.

Why should telecom operators upgrade their billing systems?

Telecom operators have put billing systems on the front burner for driving the initiative to capture revenue and reduce costs. What telecom operators need now is a BSS stack that can fulfill the evolving needs of customers.

There are many communication product opportunities resulting in a complex blend of mobile and fixed offerings apart from applications, entertainment, and value-added services. This has only complicated the billing process. Flat-rate pricing has taken a backseat, with flexible and creative pricing emerging as a strategic differentiator. The increasing price complexity has in turn driven operators to augment BSS systems with more capabilities for handling billing and charging complexities.

Even though there is a great demand for mobile data services, operators fail to earn good revenues from these services. New charging models not only make it a requisite to redefine rating rules, but also demand a BSS stack with robust capabilities to support the ever-growing event data records.

The pricing models for prepaid and postpaid services pose another challenge. With different systems driving the rating and charging of these services, operators realize the need for a convergent platform to conquer the expensive and complicated process. Take pre-paid and post-paid billing for instance: there are two different systems driving these services. Operators face challenges while using different systems for different network services and also when legacy systems do not support the launch of new charging models.

There is also the dire need to hasten time-to-market when it comes to launching new services and gaining competitive advantage. These challenges entail a convergent billing platform that lays the foundation for improved customer experience, faster reaction to market changes and reduction in operating costs.

Are there any challenges?

Though convergent billing systems provide answers by turning a single invoice to a combination of customer charges, implementing this system comes with its own challenges. The litmus test is when there’s a need to create an agile and dynamic architecture to sustain the ever-growing and evolving telecom business to integrate into legacy infrastructure.

With increasing transactions, the pressure on a single platform could pave the way for problems. If there is a single point of failure it could cause a delay in charging a customer or disallow customers from using such services. A spike in transactions could also place too much pressure on a single billing and charging system due to which customer service would take a beating. This potential damage can also translate into revenue losses.

With the right planning and modern architecture in place, such challenges can be mitigated and turned into opportunities.

Why make a move to a customer-centric convergent billing system?

Today, customers are at the core of telecom operations, making them the dominant partner in the relationship. The days of providing fixed-line services and raising a single invoice are at an end. Triggered by evolving demands, more business partners, like content providers and resellers, have joined hands with operators to generate one bill for multiple services. Customers subscribing to services also see it as a way to procure additional content.

In this scenario, a convergent billing system must adopt a customer-centric approach by allowing operators to create convergent offers and promote personalized services. The system must allow operators to create a bundle of services and cater to the specific needs of customers.

What is the ‘ultimate’ convergent billing system?

Operators must look for the following salient features in a convergent billing system:

Real-time charging

Real-time charging is key to any prepaid/postpaid convergent system, as it’s necessary to enforce not only prepaid plans but also any intelligent postpaid plan, with dynamic rates or caps. The ideal convergent billing system is the one that allows consumers to keep a tab on their usage. By sending real-time alerts, the system not only alerts customers about their usage limits but also recommends better plans. In short, robust convergent billing systems ensure consumers take control over end-to-end real-time services.

Integration with other systems

The real worth of the convergent billing system is evident when it is integrated with legacy systems. This can be achieved by leveraging open interfaces and Service-Oriented Architectures that help reduce the complexities resulting from the integration. Also, the key to ensuring integration success is a vendor with a strong history of successfully integrating with a wide range of systems.

Support for an array of business models

Business models evolve with time. In the past, telecom operators billed business customers and expanded their services to cover individual customers. Initially, operators reached out to consumers through direct selling and later ramified their operations by joining hands with resellers. With business models evolving, convergent BSS stacks must adapt to emerging business models.

Rapid time-to-market

Existing billing systems fail to support modern products while time becomes a constraint in configuring individual products. The systems also lack the ability to promote the product and offer definitions as well as rating and changing scenario definitions. The ideal convergent billing system must ensure new services are implemented quickly and easily.

Allows new charging models to be added

Data service usage has reached a new high. This translates to an increase in network capacity investments as well as maintenance rather than an increase in revenues. The billing system must make it easy for telecom operators to personalize tariffs and services to customers, distinguish service types, and add new charging models.

Allow convergence on many levels

Multi-level convergence allows providers to invoice customers in a way that makes sense to them. Multiple services, pre- and post-paid, can all be invoiced to a single account, or divided into sub-accounts. This eases confusion on behalf of the customer: the services they’re receiving and the value they’re getting are clear, on the page, and all interactions with the company reflect this shared balance and account.

Robust and scalable system

Reliable service delivery is the key to ensuring customer satisfaction. A modern convergent billing system must be robust and scalable to recover resiliently when a problem arises, without creating a dent in service revenues. In order to respond to market shifts quickly with a rapid expansion of service offerings, the system must be capable of handling a breadth of transactions and ensure the security of system and data.

Like the emphasis on customer service driving changes in the telecom industry, changes in customer data toward convergent and personalized offers are creating a paradigm shift in the way customers are billed. From leveraging the promise of data to cutting costs and generating revenue, convergent billing and charging systems have become requisites for telecom operators to thrive in the market as it exists today, as well as how it will evolve into the future.

Rajesh Mhapankar

Rajesh Mhapankar

Director, Innovations

A seasoned professional, technologist, innovator, and telecom expert. With over 20 years of experience in the software industry, Rajesh brings a strong track record of accelerating product innovations and development at Alepo. He supports the company’s mission-critical BSS/OSS projects in LTE, WiFi and broadband networks, including core policy, charging, and control elements.

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How digital BSS can be turned into a telecom business profit generator

How digital BSS can be turned into a telecom business profit generator

How digital BSS can be turned into a telecom business profit generator

23rd of October 2019

We all know that functionalities such as billing, rating and charging, customer experience, customer care, CRM, fulfillment, and revenue management are handled by Business Support Systems (BSS). A digital BSS stack goes beyond these functions to facilitate enabling, monetizing and managing a new class of digital services and partner collaboration. It helps transform a communications service provider (CSP) into a digital service provider (DSP) and is essential for the transition to 5G. Here, we analyze how a robust growth-enabling digital 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 roll out offers, promotions, and services to win and keep loyal customers.

Promoting a personalized customer experience

Digital users accept nothing short of unique, personalized experiences. By implementing a digital BSS stack, 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, they 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 them the necessary insights 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 offering 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

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 agility 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 identify and respond to market trends as soon as they arise.

Retaining profitable customers

The cost of acquiring new customer accounts is substantial. Service providers need time to recover these acquisition costs, making it important to retain profitable customers now more than ever. And to do so, it is vital that providers have a complete view of customer 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 the business. This empowers the service provider to differentiate offers.

Constantly enhancing average revenue per user

The constant demand to improve ARPU drives telcos to deliver new services that meet customer demands. 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 the customer experience to enhance the bottom line, telcos can leverage a robust and modernized BSS to make these objectives a reality.

Pankaj Garg

Pankaj Garg

Product Owner, Digital BSS

Pankaj Garg is a telecom and FinTech expert with over 14 years of experience in the software industry. Handling digital BSS offerings is among the many hats he wears at Alepo. Always up to speed with the newest advancements in the products he handles, he takes it slow only when he’s road-tripping across India to discover new places.

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