Next Generation OSS/BSS – an Opportunity to Reset
The first generation of OSS/BSS stacks were based on monolithic architectures, providing customised business logic for customer service, order management, network provisioning, billing, and more. Telcos then shifted to product based solutions that allowed them to integrate best of breed solutions using out of the box capabilities. Despite intentions to align with out of the box capabilities, more often than not operators migrated their customised business rules from the earlier generation of OSS/BSS platforms into the new product based architecture, as operators could not afford to lose their differentiation that was built in previous customisations.
Now the next generation of architecture is upon the industry and is characterised by cloud SaaS products, along with NFV, SDN and an API first approach. These architectures promise to deliver lower cost, greater speed to market, reduced integration costs, and improved customer experience. The question that service providers must now tackle is how to migrate to the new architecture.
Some are choosing to integrate the new components into the legacy stack creating a like for like before seamless mass migration, while others are building a separate clean digital focused stack with customer elected migration. While there are pros and cons to either approach there are some fundamental differences in the industry today, that were not present earlier which should be considered before settling on a strategy.
Firstly, there is only one channel that matters – Digital. Operators’ should not be targeting the reduction in call centre, rather removing the need for a call centre all together, along with the associated complexities. Does anyone really want to interact with an IVR these days? Likewise, the retail channel should be about just that, a place for selling products rather than a channel for paying bills, or modifying a service.
Secondly, the complexity of rating and billing is significantly reduced. We have moved from transactional billing structure to one which is predominantly subscription based. Few customers would want to see an itemised list of their voice calls these days, so why mirror all the complex rules in the billing system.
Another major shift is the emergence of Big Data, AI and Machine Learning which promises to revolutionise the industry by predicting and correcting customer faults, recommending offers, and optimising the network. These capabilities can significantly improve the customer experience and move complexity from traditional OSS/BSS functions.
Given the fundamental shifts in the industry, a like for like approach may be unnecessarily complex. That said, a new OSS/BSS stack that is void of all integration to legacy does not make sense as some solutions make sense to be common to legacy and new such as inventory management and network activation. It should also be noted that a new stack migration of subscribers becomes more disruptive, as changes to products and features cannot be avoided. Building OSS/BSS solutions is always going to be a complex exercise, but careful consideration needs to be made on how much of the legacy is brought over as it could be the difference between success and failure.
Unico has been helping service providers with their OSS/BSS solutions for more than 30 years including many migration and integration projects.
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