Fueling Business Growth in the Digital Marketplace

By: Timo Ahomaki

The digital age has changed the way we communicate and interact with our family, friends, peers and colleagues. Digital technologies and online services are changing our lifestyle patterns, and the speed at which we embrace digital change is a real challenge for communication service providers (CSPs). Customers demand better end-to-end customer touchpoint experiences, frequent online interactions and full control over their services. These digital capabilities have been key to the revenue success of OTT service providers who have been instrumental in shaping the digital needs and expectations of customers.

In order to compete in today’s dynamic digital marketplace, CSPs must lead this business transformation to meet their customers’ needs and pursue the development of new revenue streams. As a result, CSPs will need to rethink IT and business architectures and systems and pricing flexibility, to assess the level of convergence and sophistication required and simplify the management of the digital value chain.

The Challenge for CSPs

Leading this business transformation is not for the fainthearted, and it has been a daunting task for CSPs. With many types of Business Support System (BSS) transformation projects having been introduced to the market, including brownfield overlay approaches, big bang IT infrastructure replacement programs, greenfield transformation, evolutionary BSS approaches have all but faced similar challenges.

Most of these business transformation programs are IT led investment projects that focus on future IT cost control, performance and cater to mass market needs. In reality, a lot of these large scale programs fail due to lengthy, often multi-year implementations, and can suffer parity paralysis or scope creep as a result. In turn this leads to a number of temporary stop-gap solutions, and can mean that a demanding customisation environment is introduced to an already stressed customer and business support process system.

Even more detrimental is the fact that these lengthy IT led projects can place a stronghold over a CSPs’ commercial strategy, with plans to launch new products and services continually hitting the same technical roadblocks.  For example: fragmented applications, siloed BSS systems, legacy technologies, and inefficient service configurations that fail to meet the business process agility and real-time customer centricity required. As a result, the business case for new services of this kind falls completely flat as the costs and level of business and technical change required outweighs the benefits.

In addition to these challenges, intensifying competition is heightening the game. CSPs are under increased pressure to deliver new services to the market quickly and to frequently reflect the latest trends, apps and social network based behaviours. Consequently, CSPs need to find new ways to enable this digital world and ensure that their customers remain loyal for many years to come.

Not all BSS projects are created equal

There are a number of aspects that can affect the ROI of a project. Complexity is one - the number of vendors being dealt with is another. Often associated with project complexity and poor ROI are other factors such as the manner in which the project is scoped. To maximise a CSP’s chances of achieving a higher ROI, a lot of effort needs to be put in to ensure the project scope is tightly defined and that it only includes what is absolutely essential for the business to run. Not only will this reduce risks, but it will also guarantee that the project completes sooner.


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