Faster digital transformation is a game changer

July 1, 2020 - Enri-k Salazar

Enri-K Salazar, Executive Director of Digital Solutions, talks about why being built for digital is key to success for service providers.

Last October I watched, with a good amount of pride, Telkomsel launch their digital first service, by.U. At Openet we worked with our partners to implement a full Digital BSS suite – from initial specs, to testing to live production in just 18 weeks for Telkomsel. In the traditional BSS world these timescales were unheard of. Fast forward 8 months and the acceleration of digital transformation programs has been ground breaking. With the Covid-19 pandemic consumers and businesses are conducting their daily business on-line more than ever. This major change is driving digital transformation. The implementation timescales that we saw with Telkomsel, the move to increased agility with configuration over customisation, and the move to cloud-native, open systems are now the new normal.

There are many, many changes that digital transformation will drive. As service providers look to shut down their retail high street stores, on-line customer engagement and app based self-service is now the new way of working with customers – from sales to on-boarding to care. Service providers need to have apps that manage all aspects of customer engagement for all stages in the customer lifecycle. These also need to be personalised that tied in-real time to back office BSS suites.

The effectiveness of these apps also need to be measured using Digital KPIs. Just looking at one example, it could be argued that the traditional telco KPI of churn is no longer valid as a stand-alone figure. Service providers can now take real-time data behavioural data, tie it in with propensity to churn scoring models to identify ‘at-risk’ customers. Personalised offers (relative the customer life-time value) could then be promoted via the app to this customer to encourage them to stay with the service provider and thus increase loyalty. In this case the KPI could be churn propensity scores and number of customers saved from churning. New features and functions are being added to service provider apps all the time – the roll out of loyalty programs, the ability to self-configure bundles are just two examples of how apps are evolving.  Managing customer lifecycles via the app and reporting using Digital KPIs is one example of change in the move from traditional communications service provider to digital service provider.

In the area of BSS, the accelerated move to digital and the roll out of 5G is having a major impact. Vendor lock-in approaches where the service provider bought everything from the large network equipment providers aren’t that valid anymore. Standards like the TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture and Digital APIs, along with the move to cloud-native are helping service providers take a best of breed approach when it comes to implementing BSS. There are also more options for service providers in how they transform their BSS. From microservices based co-development, to adjunct systems, to new 2nd brand greenfield build-outs, to replacement of legacy, service providers can take the approach that best suits their individual requirements.

The accelerated rate of adoption of digital processes, practices and systems highlights the importance of service providers having the in-built agility to change. They need to be built for change. They need to be built for digital.

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