We had a speaker from Google telling us all not to be afraid of failure. We should embrace failing fast, and when we do fail pick ourselves up and do something new. We were told that telcos (and vendors) need to be more innovative and not be constrained by the traditional telecoms ‘way of doing things’.
When we convened in the BSS and revenue management session we were all raring to go and be innovative. Then we asked ‘how to get there?’ All operators have legacy systems so these need to go. But……….. as has been pointed out at numerous conferences, legacy is another name for systems that work. So operators need this functionality. However, they also need to upgrade their BSS to support new business models and generally enable new revenue given there is a danger that data is becoming commoditised. Several vendors will tell you that billing transformation is the way to go here. This involves large scale replacement of billing systems with a bright new BSS stack that will cure all ills. As you can imagine such large scale transformation projects are not inexpensive and they are not quick. I recently heard an operator embarking on a BSS transformation project that will take five years. According to a recent Openet survey of 101 operators, 66% of operators feel that there is a danger data will be a commodity within two years. Even if operators have the money to spend on large billing transformation projects they certainly don’t have the luxury of time. In the same survey operators felt that the time needed for billing transformation projects and the problem of trying to adapt legacy systems were the biggest BSS impediments to operators moving to digital.
The OCS interfaces directly to existing IN charging systems for pre-paid customers and passes rated data CDRs to the existing billing system for post-paid customers. There it can be added to a rated traffic file and included on the customers’ bills. This enables operators to gain the real-time collection, rating and charging benefits for OCS for IMS services. It also protects their existing billing investments from which they gradually migrate from that as voice moves from circuit switched to IMS. This way the legacy system still does its job, operators get real-time collection, rating and charging for all data as well as having a new system to cater for the new business models. And it’s at a fraction of the cost and time required for a billing transformation project.