Harnessing Traditional and New Revenue Streams on Track to Maturity: Harmonization of the BSS Core

Communications service providers (CSPs) are expanding their lines of business, shifting beyond traditional telecommunications, and exploring vertical markets to tap into new revenue sources.

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Communications service providers (CSPs) are expanding their lines of business, shifting beyond traditional telecommunications, and exploring vertical markets to tap into new revenue sources. Therefore, they are rolling out next-generation services, including subscription video-on-demand, cloud, security, cloud gaming, or finance. Given the urge to develop quick-win solutions needed to support such initiatives, it is no surprise that CSPs have inherited dozens of siloed systems. These solutions do provide a fast innovation track at first, yet require resourceful integration and synchronization to turn into a holistic and synergetic BSS.

As soon as the business reaches a mature stage, handling three to thirty billing systems becomes a burden. And there comes a time to minimize costs and risks by cutting the number of systems, ideally down to a single convergent platform. Instead of chasing standalone solutions, CSPs should adopt a broader perspective on future-proof capabilities that will empower them to harmonize revenues from any use case.

Overcoming silos to ensure convergence and true digital adoption

As we can see in the TM Forum’s Telecoms Revenue Growth Survey 2022, 60% of operators state that becoming an end-to-end service provider brings significant opportunities for revenue growth. The endeavor further challenges CSPs to provide a unified customer experience across fixed-line, broadband, and mobile networks with separate legacy billings. If CSPs ensure a convergent user experience across applications rather than keep stacks of different vendors’ interpretations, they are more likely to succeed. If CSPs convergently charge and bill customers for any services across verticals, partners, and lines of business, they gain a stable platform to add innovations and partners and ensure efficient management of all revenues from them.

Handling the two layers of digital transformation

Telcos often start their transformation journey with the pure digital layer, such as providing customer self-care and creating bundles, but get stuck with the core convergence issues.

For instance, one CSP grew its business by acquiring smaller operators and adding their business support systems to the existing landscape. The rise of the digital era challenged the CSP to accelerate time to market for new services and viable offerings to compete with companies boasting technological advantages. The CSP decided to beef up the digital stack for business lines without changing the billing and charging. This allowed the telco to quickly create attractive rate plans, offer up-to-date digital services, and increase revenue within a short time. In addition to traditional VAS-platforms, the service portfolio was enriched with SVOD, music streaming services, digital TV, telemedicine, and IoT apps. The CSP’s customers, however, had to deal with multiple accounts and invoices since the vertical platforms were processed in separate charging systems. Some of the acquired systems provided CDRs for further charging, while the other in-house systems operated based on a proprietary model and blurred the view of consumption. Such problems can be tackled by building ‘a single point of balance’, which gathers usage data from different platforms and provides consistent balance data for B2B and B2C customers, even if their hierarchy is spread across dispersed business units and billing systems.

The reason why the core’s convergence often remains below the radar, like in the case above, is rather simple: it is too hard, expensive, and risky for operators to adapt the legacy core BSS to market demands or swap it as a whole. We often find a freshly installed upper digital layer linked to a bunch of ten-or twenty-year-old legacy billings with ad-hoc adapters, aimed at making them work together. This lack of flexibility at the core BSS layer slows down business development and limits it to modest changes.

Making the leap with an Open Digital Architecture

To have revenue management flexible enough to meet present-day and upcoming challenges, the core BSS must, no doubt, internalize the Open Digital Architecture. The tricky part is to support the legacy components still needed in the BSS landscape that the operator is reluctant to change. It brings the need for a customization layer to convert custom data models of yesterday’s systems to the truly SID-compliant DNA of the new revenue management.

Extracting the full value from digital with network-agnostic convergence

What about networks, notably 5G? On the one hand, the application-driven nature of 5G is a huge help for all of the vertical services. The telco’s radio network, core network, and network monetization tools must support next-generation connectivity with innovative charging and policy management capabilities based on network slicing and SLA contracts. On the other hand, 5G coverage isn’t going to become ubiquitous soon, and those telecom companies that are launching their business straightaway with 5G are sporadic. The here and now remain LTE and other current technologies, both radio access and fixed-line, which means that operators will still have multiple networks. And if they want to get in the game and disrupt, they need to provide their customers with convergent services within a single system.

Sustaining new levels of flexibility and consolidation with Nexign Revenue Management

To seize the digital moment, the launch of any new service or business model on a future-proof horizontal platform is becoming paramount. Therefore, Nexign has introduced Nexign Revenue Management to help operators focus on consolidated revenues and bridge the gap between the modern digital layer and the antiquated monolith billings.

Nexign’s cloud-native, microservices-based solution covers the entire revenue management process — from charging and policy management to billing and collection management — and is ready to work with any telecom services, digital subscriptions, or third-party products and bundles. It also natively supports the convergence of B2B and B2C business lines, prepaid and postpaid payment models, fixed-line, broadband, and mobile networks, and easily integrates with any digital layer and other systems in the operator’s BSS landscape. Moreover, convergent charging, extensive policy management, and optional network exposure and network analytics functionality support advanced 4G and 5G network monetization.

Nexign’s next-generation revenue management approach makes CSPs infinitely more flexible to capitalize on emerging services and new monetization models while balancing operational efficiency in the increasingly complex environment.
 

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