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Operator survey results – more like Google, less like the phone company

By June 23, 2016 No Comments

Openet surveyed 112 operators on their views on BSS as they move to become digital service providers. At the recent TMF event operators were reported as saying BSS needs an ‘overhaul’ to get ready for digital. Also at Light Reading’s Big Communications Event in Texas, one leading operator called for a need to ‘escape the vendor prison’. With such operator views being highlighted at conferences it’s clear that change is needed. Operators are moving to become digital service providers. They want to be as lean and agile as Google, Facebook, Netflix or Amazon, and less like the old phone company. The last thing they need are cumbersome, expensive to change BSS holding them back.

The Openet operator survey results concur. Operators gave the following top three reasons for overhauling BSS:

•Providing the platform to develop, deliver and monetize new digital services

•Faster time to market for new services             

•Agility – need to configure rate plans, etc. much easier and faster

The survey highlights that operators see the move to more, much smaller, less risky projects as the most effective way to achieve BSS transformation. Advances in IT with virtualized systems and open APIs now make this approach viable in a way today that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Often these smaller agile projects (such as solutions for individual use cases, adjunct real-time charging) can be run alongside the larger (typically billing) system transformation projects. This way operators can move away from the prison of single vendor lock-in as well as have systems that will enable them to best compete in the digital economy.

Operators know that they need to move on. In the past BSS, typically billing, implementations, were lengthy and expensive affair. And sometimes they didn’t go as planned. Of the 112 operators surveyed 68% knew of BSS implementation failures, where projects were scraped or ran more than 6 months late. These projects failures aren’t cheap either. 10% of operators seen the cost of such failures costing more than $100M. The impact of such failures was felt way beyond IT. Marketing couldn’t get new products out and react to competitive advantages.

Even when BSS projects did go to plan implementation timescales were measured in years. 67% of operators said that it takes between 1 – 3 years for BSS transformation. They should be taking months with 67% opting less than 6 months, or 6-12 months. Either way, we’re traditionally measuring BSS transformation in years. We should be talking months. When asked about new approaches, adjunct systems were seen as having much shorter implementation timescales. 96% said less than 12 months, with 8% of this figure going for less than 3 months.

The survey asked what operators need from BSS to enable them to best compete in the digital economy. The top 4 BSS features that operators want to see are:

•System agility – enabling fast time to market•Ability to extend BSS to the device to enable digital interaction. For example, self-care, sales, marketing

•Platform openness – Comprehensive and open APIs

•Ability to deliver personalized offers

The foundation of digital transformation is real-time, automated systems and processes, and being a data driven company. How fast BSS can enable this foundation to be put in place depends on the different approaches taken to BSS transformation.

Download Openet’s survey results paper:  BSS and Digital Transformation- Operator Views on the Role of BSS in Digital Transformation

 

Martin Morgan