BSS Transformation: The Low-Risk Approach Using Sub-Brand Digital BSS

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Here’s a radical idea. You know that large-scale digital transformation project that you’re planning for or have just started. Take a step back and ask if there’s a quicker, more cost-effective and low-risk option.

Why not see if the Digital BSS that supports your digital sub-brand can support the parent telco brand? If it can, then organically migrate customers from legacy BSS to the Digital BSS used for the Digital sub brand. This could save you time, money, and a lot of stress that seems to come free of charge with every transformation project. Plus, it will provide a Digital BSS very quickly that will enable you to adopt a digital-first strategy for all customers for all your brands.

In the last two years, many operators have launched digital sub-brands. These were initially aimed at the digital-savvy 18-24 age group. These offer low-cost data bundles supported by digital-first channels for all services (care, marketing, sales). But over the last 14 months, digital literacy has increased dramatically. People have adapted to a digital lifestyle. Digital channels are now the norm. As such, digitalization of customer experience and digitalization of operations are now the two highest transformation priorities of operators according to the latest TM Forum Digital Transformation Tracker (May 2021).

As digital sub-brands are treated as greenfield operations with no legacy, many will have their own Digital BSS. Some of these use the latest no-code, cloud-native technology that offers a level of agility unimageable in the traditional, change-request driven, legacy BSS. As such, they have the design, features, and functions that are often the end goal of the parent telco’s BSS transformation project.

As Digital BSS can support multiple operator brands on a single platform, it is possible for telecom operators to migrate their customers from legacy BSS to Digital BSS using an organic and commercial approach. When an existing customer upgrades or changes offers, they are added to the Digital BSS and removed as live customers from the legacy system. All new customers are added to the Digital BSS platform.

In the pre-paid mobile market, churn rates are high and many customers switch offers more than once a year. According to Strategy Analytics, pre-paid churn in APAC ranges from 3.8 – 6.6% per month. This means, on average, operators must replace their entire prepaid subscriber base every two years, purely due to churn. If operators managed to add their entire pre-paid base to a new Digital BSS in 2 years, this would probably be quicker than upgrading the legacy stack to support the same pre-paid base.

Operators can entice customers to migrate by marketing new offers to them. These could be new 5G offers, or new FMC offers with bundled content. The goal is to get customers to switch to a new offer and then they can be added to the Digital BSS where they are effectively treated as new customers with new offers using the digital-first channels enabled by the Digital BSS.

This approach of marketing new offers to existing customers to help drive customer migration to the Digital BSS can also increase ARPU. At Qvantel, we’ve seen operators market higher value offers to existing customers as part of this process which resulted in a high level of take up of new offers which increased the operator’s overall ARPU.

Having a Digital BSS running in parallel to the legacy BSS provides an excellent opportunity to migrate customers from legacy BSS using an organic and commercial approach. This provides a reduced risk, reduced cost migration strategy that can transform BSS in a ‘business as usual’ environment. Plus, there’s the added bonus of using this approach to market new offers to existing customers which can result in increased ARPU. In many cases, this approach can also be quicker than the traditional phased upgrade or even ‘big bang’ approach of upgrading legacy with a new system from the same legacy vendor.

Lower cost, lower risk, with the added bonus of increased ARPUs. Maybe it’s time to have a look at this alternative approach to BSS transformation.


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Martin Morgan
Head of Digital Marketing

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