How a Centralized Product Catalog Revolutionizes a Telco’s BSS Offerings
10th of July 2017
With a growing demand for smartphones and other data-hungry devices in the 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 fail to respond to the growing needs of customers in an ever-changing marketplace due to unconsolidated Business Support Systems (BSS), 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 stacks fail to anticipate customer needs to 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. The ideal solution is to have a single centralized product catalog. A centralized product catalog helps seize revenue-generating opportunities, deliver 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 CatalogsOperators and their many distinct teams (such as business, product, operational and network) currently maintain several product catalogs for multiple channels, such as subscribers, affiliates, casual customers, and more. 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 backseat, and the need to create a new product catalog arises. The constant creation of new products and the need for bundled services across multiple departments make 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 life cycles 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 customer needs redefine the customer experience, assure customer happiness, increase ARPU and ROI, and lower operating costs.
How a Centralized Product Catalog Reduces TTMFrom offer creation to fulfillment, Alepo’s next-gen Digital BSS platform, with a built-in product catalog, is designed to increase revenue and customer loyalty by facilitating a rapid TTM for new, innovative products and services. The centralized Alepo Product Catalog 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, 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 QoE.
10 Key Considerations for an Ideal Product Catalog
1. Single, Centralized, Convergent ToolA 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 InterfaceA product catalog should have a simplified, modern user interface (UI) that helps business users 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 create new features with ease.
3. Product-Centric DashboardWith 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 manages the product offering design process.
4. Efficient Offers ManagementA 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 CollaborationA 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 InterfaceThe platform should provide flexibility in designing offers, allowing marketing and product teams to create and modify offer attributes and features while capturing their granular details. Advanced applications like Alepo’s Universal Offer Designer help create attractive and innovative products, without limitations, giving CSPs a competitive edge in the market.
7. Intelligent Offer OrganizationThe 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 OfferingsThe 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 AccessA product catalog should provide role-based authentication for creating offers, editing offers, read-only access, deleting offers, creating features, and so on. This administrative aspect helps in maintaining authorized access, reducing human error.
10. Flexible Deployment OptionsThe 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 Digital BSS Solution or as a standalone master product catalog with integration’s to other IT systems through RESTful API integration.
A core marketer with around twenty years of cross-discipline experience, including marketing communications, operations, and content creation. I believe with an increasingly competitive marketplace, marketing creates the magic to expedite sales closures, achieve business success, sustain brand leadership, and drive future growth.