How CSPs measure their own performance is changing. Over the last couple of years, new KPIs have started to appear in the CSPs’ annual reports. These include percentage of customer interactions through digital channels and revenues from non-connectivity offers such as entertainment and financial services.
As CSPs advance the digitalisation of their channels and move to grow more revenue streams beyond connectivity, the systems that enable CSPs to advance to meet their strategic goals must advance accordingly.
In BSS there are functions that are well established such as the support for convergence and personalisation but may not have been implemented by some CSPs due to their reliance on separate legacy stacks. There are also new functions and designs that are being introduced as CSPs look to open up new business models and develop new processes. It is a combination of new and existing BSS capabilities that is helping to enable strategic change in the telecoms industry.
Here's a list of 10 ways that BSS is enabling strategic change in telecoms:
1. Emergence of no/low-code BSS - This enables CSPs to develop and roll out new business processes faster than ever. Visual tools enable users to develop process flows and business rules. These are then tested and ready to go into production in hours. This agile way of constantly optimising and improving the business we refer to as BizOps. As an extension of DevOps, BizOps is the new way for businesses to push changed business logic into production faster than ever.
2. Supports an environment for experimentation with 5G - CSPs need to be able to experiment with new offers, processes, and business models. They need to be able to try ideas out without the huge cost and fear of failure. That’s why BSS agility is becoming increasingly important. With new levels of agility, CSPs can remove the reliance on the vendor and change request model and develop new offers, business processes, and business models in hours or days as opposed to weeks or months. This can remove the cost (and fear) of failure and let CSPs try out more new ideas.
3. Support for convergence – mobile, fixed, content, anything. Any service that CSPs sell, manage and bill for, be it their own or from a partner, should be managed by a single BSS. This provides a single view of the truth for all services that a customer uses and can be used for marketing, sales, and care, as well as a single system to provide service order management.
4. Intuitive and context-sensitive digital engagement channels - With the convergence of fixed broadband and mobile, plus CSPs selling content and other 3rd party services, there is a danger of apps and websites becoming ‘overloaded’ resulting in customer confusion. By using context-sensitive apps and web pages, CSPs can provide a digital channel that is intuitive and delivers a much more personalised experience than those that are designed with static navigation trees.
5. Hyper-personalisation - CSPs will have a limited amount of a customer’s attention when marketing new offers so the marketing messaging has to hit home. This means more personalised offers, triggered by customer context, recent behaviour, and experience. As SA 5G evolves and CSPs have more channels (AR, VR) to market their own and their partners’ offers, this will further drive the need for CSPs to generate the right offer, to the right customer, in the right place at the right time.
6. Focus on customer lifetime value - Traditional CLV scores used revenue and tenure. Now there are many more factors that need to be considered when calculating CLV. These include influencer scores, use of digital channels (as opposed to call centres), advocacy (e.g. do they refer people to join up a CSP’s service), chat room activity (e.g. are they active on the community help forum on a CSP’s website). Knowing CLV enables the right marketing and loyalty offers to go to the right customers.
7. Digital-first for all (B2C and B2B) - In the B2B space the SME sector represents the largest group of companies by far, but many CSPs have them stuck between large enterprise customers (with an account manager, who is in regular contact with the customer) and consumers who primarily go through digital channels. Many SMEs still have to engage via call centres. This is costing them and the CSPs money. B2B SME customers should have the option of using digital channels for engagement.
8. Automated next best anything - Next best offer and next best activity have been used in CRM and marketing for the last 10 years in telecoms. Now, with a digital-first, omnichannel approach the automated ‘next best’ business logic can be used to drive any activity – from marketing, to sales, to care. Real-time streaming data, customer lifetime value, historical customer data can be used, in real-time to trigger an action – be it starting a churn avoidance campaign, an information message on how to use a specific service, or a marketing upsell offer.
9. Supports multiple brands on a single platform – CSPs are often running digital transformation programs hand in hand with system consolidation initiatives. Going forward the digital BSS that a CSP uses should be designed so that in 5 years’ time a CSP doesn’t find itself with multiple systems supporting different brands and lines of business. A cloud-native platform can provide a single BSS running multiple brands. If a CSP wants to launch a new brand aimed at B2B then they should be able to use the same BSS platform that, say, supports their B2C sub-brand. They can then add new brands (e.g. a brand focused on delivering IoT services, a new B2B brand, etc) when they launch them.
10. BSSaaS – CSPs can look to provide BSS as a service to content partners who may wish to provide subscription-based charging for their services. Also, private 5G network operators will need BSS functions such as onboarding, activation, and management of eSIMs, SIMs, and associated devices. Providing BSSaaS can strengthen the CSP's position with content partners and private network operators.