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

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 Catalogs

Operators 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 TTM

From 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 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 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 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 manages the product offering design process.

4. Efficient Offers Management

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 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 Organization

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, and so on. 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 Digital 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 Manager

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.

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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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CSP to DSP: A Journey of Transformation

CSP to DSP: A Journey of Transformation

CSP to DSP: A Journey of Transformation

9th of March 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.

Simple one-fits-all service worked in the past, but as technology has evolved, so have customer needs and expectations. A recent IBM study on Generation Z showed that 75 percent of respondents picked a mobile phone or smartphone as their device of choice, and 47 percent said they use their smartphones when shopping in a store. Further, prior to making any purchasing decisions, Generation Z uses their phones to research products and services to compare prices and discounts.

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 is, 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. A recent study by The Manifest reveals that of the 511 smartphone users surveyed, almost 40 percent use social media apps frequently – almost four times more than any gaming, communication or messaging apps. However, if we were to consider another context – enterprise customers – we’d find that their aim is to limit their employees’ use on certain social websites while at work and instead 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 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.

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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