It’s no surprise to say that BSS is considered to be one of the biggest bottlenecks for digital transformation. Business transformations and an increased complexity are making it harder to maintain business and grow new business with traditional BSS solutions. The challenges create a force that will fundamentally change the role of BSS and associated capabilities as we know them today.
If we recap from the previous post where we explain what it means to be a digital service provider, digital engagement was mentioned as one of three criteria needed in the digitalization journey. Digital engagement is described as digitalization of the customer experience. But what is really the definition of digitalization of customer experience in the current Telco landscape? To explore this, I believe it is valuable to know how these digital engagements can be provided in the context of consumer, enterprise, and partners.
The consumer space
For the consumers, operators need to look beyond the traditional communication services and focus on digital experience. To impact digital experience, you can look at new standards and requirements that will simplify a service. For instance, to increase experience you should have as few actions as possible, move towards zero touch and enhance usability. This can lead to new takes of traditional services like messaging and calling, or even new technologies.
A logical choice to influence digital engagement is by implementing self-service as a part of your BSS solution. Imagine when you buy a voucher or do a top-up, it’s a very manual process and the experience is not the best. What if you could automate this process, providing a simplified service? A technology to consider is a cognitive chatbot with which a consumer can interact. For example, if you need to top up your son’s account, just make the request through a chatbot. If you lost your phone, simply ask the chatbot to lock your SIM.
As an operator you can also be more proactive and sales oriented towards your consumers. Imagine that you are traveling, you just entered a new country—you need additional data. The chatbot can immediately offer you an additional data pack. The service can provide benefits on a higher level as well, it will ease the process of charging and billing for the operators and consumer. It’s also a question of perception, operators need to benchmark and close the gap with other service providers who are successful with digital experience, they need to show that they can be just as service minded and innovative as disruptors like Google or Amazon.
The enterprise space
In the enterprise space there is new business growing. New use cases are enabled with technologies like 5G and IoT which will open the opportunities for operators to enter this area. As the traditional services offered to enterprises is expanding, it’s also an opportunity to differentiate your value as an operator. But BSS must be able to handle an increased complexity with the growth in variety and scale of services that comes with this industry transformation.
IoT services will have a strong impact—multiple connected devices providing various services that will scale and have different requirements. Take the example of an enterprise security system with connected cameras. If operators provide parts of this service, the monetization is dependent on the charging and billing system. It would constitute complex revenue models with payment flows from multiple different devices, between several service stakeholders. Therefore, the solution needs to be up to speed to support real time charging and billing.
The enterprise environment today can also be a complex blend of new products with updates that have shorter lifecycle and multiple channel dependencies. From a BSS perspective it then becomes critical to have a catalog management solution that can handle lifecycle management for the security camera service.
Another aspect to consider is the commercial model. Should the operator offer the security camera service with an as a service (aaS) model, fixed fee based on total bandwidth, data package size, or is it a combination? On top of this- Operators today want to provide services in bundles. They need to handle different commercial models to offer service bundles combined with traditional services-BSS solutions need to have flexible Catalog and Order management that supports customization and simplifies service offerings. If operators truly want to be a digital service provider for enterprises they need to keep up, otherwise you can expect a lost opportunity for your business.
The partner space
For partners digital engagement will help them to address their customers. Partners can act within many industries, for instance in automotive, retail, manufacturing and healthcare. The operator can act as a CSP provider for the communication service between a partner and a management platform, they can also be an application provider. Regardless of what role they have, it’s an opportunity for the operators to capitalize and enter new industry domains.
One area where the potential for growth and revenues is looking bright is within automotive. The automotive industry will include different services where operators can have a key role. If we consider connected vehicles as an example, it will be dependent on multiple services and business models. Imagine yourself in a self-driving taxi, several services will be supporting, for you to have a pleasant experience. The services could be telematic monitoring of vehicle performance, delivery of consumer entertainment, billing of your ride based on time—the list goes on. BSS becomes critical here to handle the charging and billing as well as the support of interfaces for the services.
Choose your own journey
I believe it's important to emphasize that the services mentioned are possible to deliver with existing technologies. Since the possibility is here today, it should be an urging message to operators that they need to modernize to a Digital BSS solution! And, if you want to capitalize on new technologies like 5G you must make your BSS stack ready. This means striving for customer focused capabilities so as to enable intuitive real-time digital experience, automated and personalized assistance channels and be able to support a wide variety new business models. But finding the right level of digital engagement can be a challenging journey.
We at Ericsson have experience combined with a comprehensive portfolio that has helped take our customers through this journey as illustrated in our Digital Service Provider blueprint. While each service providers needs are unique, it is essential to select the right blueprint for your business, with the right set of technologies so as to make the digital engagement a reality!