In BSS, the trend is constant – and good

Written by on April 8, 2015 in BillingViews, Features with 0 Comments

Although you would be forgiven for thinking that the 2,000 plus respondents to the annual telecoms.com survey were confused about some things, in the BSS section there was a refreshing consistency. And, with only 23 percent of the sample either unlikely or very unlikely to invest in BSS this year, things are looking rosy for vendors and operators. It may be that the 23 percent have just finished investing in BSS for the time being and therefore do not need to for another year or so. Indeed, of the respondents to the survey (Openet sponsored the BSS section) almost half (49 percent) of the respondents were highly likely to invest in BSS this year.

300x300-bss-surveyWhat is interesting is that almost every aspect of BSS is on the up, with over half saying they are going to invest in Customer Management this year, against 43 percent last year. Revenue Management and Billing remained steady at around 36 percent.

The survey certainly reflects the streamlining that is going on across the board within operators, as they transform themselves into entities that can effectively partner with a range of companies to compete in a number of arenas. It seems that the realisation has sunk in that partnering with content providers to bundle offers is one of the keys to generating new revenue, as 67 percent believe that this is the case. As part of the streamlining process, a centralised product catalogue is now acknowledged to be an important part of the platform, indeed with offers likely to become more, not less, complicated, this is a critical factor.

It is not all plain sailing though. Systems integration is a frustration, with 58 percent believing that it slows down delivery of new services. Over the past few years we have certainly seen the role of systems integrators change and many operators now pass this role onto the vendor to organise as part of the contract. Legacy is still, and perhaps always will be, an issue. Too many operators experience an ‘over-reliance’ on vendors to set up offers and new services. This will frustrate efforts to move the controls of the business back to the business and retain IT as the tools with which to compete.

Self-service is becoming a bigger focus for operators. Last year 30 percent of operators were actively looking at it, and this year that figure has gone up to 42 percent. This makes sense to Martin Morgan, Vice President of Marketing with Openet, who believes that “the logical result is offering content (and other) services directly to the device using customer self-service capabilities – providing a personalised sales and marketing channel.” This has long been a (distant) goal for many operators.

There is a wide range of transformation happening in BSS. 13 percent of the sample are looking at a complete BSS replacement this year, 43 percent are adding or implementing incremental upgrades. Virtualisation, too, seems to have gone beyond just discussion with 56 percent looking at investing in virtualised BSS within two years, presumably to be ready for the network investment in the same area.

This is another excellent report from Telecoms.com and even though there were no great surprises and much comfort, it is encouraging to see that the discussions of the last few years are translating into investment, improvement and readiness for what comes next.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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