By Maxim Nartov, Customer Solutions Director at Nexign for Telecom Reseller
As subscribers increasingly come to expect near real-time, personalised products and customer support, telecom operators will require a transformative digital Business Support System (BSS) that enables them to control the full breadth of their operations. Using a ‘best of suite’ approach will allow them to quickly, successfully and cost-effectively meet these demands.
There has been a steady shift in the industry around what a BSS is and should do. The trend was to have ‘best of breed’ solutions by using different vendors for different functions such as customer relationship management (CRM), product management, ordering, and maybe even multiple billing solutions for the different lines of business – corporate, mobile and fixed-line residential.
The complexities become apparent when it comes to convergence – if we try to sell a single package to someone who is a mobile and fixed line user, we need to ensure that the service is accurately provisioned, and that the customer gets a consolidated bill. This needs complex integration during the delivery project or afterwards, and affects the way in which you introduce new products, as you have to make changes to downstream systems.
By shifting from primarily legacy environments to a ‘best of suite’ approach with built-it convergence, all the components are provided pre-integrated from a single vendor, telecom operators can reduce IT complexities and operating costs of their business systems. A digital BSS enables control of everything from billing to campaign management, CRM and analytical tools.
The business community relies on robust telecoms for its own digitisation initiatives. What enterprise customers expect from CSPs today is not only traditional services, they are looking for personalised services to suit their business requirements. To satisfy this demand, operators need to transform into digital service providers.
By absorbing previously stand-alone functions such as campaign management, experience management and market segmentation into the BSS, operators can now get a holistic view of the customer, and use big data and advanced analytics to get a better understanding of their behavior and preferences. In addition, these developments enable an operator to more actively use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve CRM by moving away from a traditional call centre and towards using an opti-channel approach.
Customers are increasingly interacting with their service providers over digital channels, and intelligent chatbots can help analyse and respond to queries, and escalate the matter to a human consultant only where required.
The launch of new mobile services like mobile money or mobile healthcare require in most cases an integration with external partners being part of the service offering (finance or healthcare institutions, libraries or education facilities).
A robust partner relationship solution will give operators the ability to identify potential partners and their products, integrate these new offerings into their systems, package them together with the basic connectivity service that they sell, and share revenue with the partners.
The other major shift for operators is moving their operations to the cloud, though this can become complex as the conversation moves beyond just being about technology, and into data and privacy regulation. This is especially the case for many emerging markets that lack the presence of cloud data centres.
As you can see, if previously, BSS was perceived as just billing software, today there is a demand from CSPs to get an end-to-end system that allows them to realise the expected benefits from day one – faster time to market for new products and managing customer experience in a holistic manner.