November 24, 2020

5G Demands a New Approach to Service and Revenue Management

Key BSS/OSS functions must evolve to help CSPs optimize their 5G operations.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious to CSPs that the dynamic nature of 5G operations will have a more significant impact on service management and revenue management functions than initially anticipated. Matching the dynamism of new 5G service models can only be done with a cloud-native approach that includes microservices-based architectures, dynamic orchestration and tight integration. Here we look at how these two key BSS/OSS functions must change in order for CSPs to optimize 5G operations for their customers and themselves.

Modernizing Service Management to Enable Zero-touch Operations
The focus for delivering and managing 5G services must be continuous end-to-end service automation across multiple cloud and network domains to seamlessly connect the BSS/OSS intelligence with network operations. For many operators, this is part of their 5G ambitions but also central to their digital transformation and automation strategies.

The difference is that zero-touch operations have become essential as CSPs differentiate on 5G service experience. CSPs need a real-time, end-to-end view of individual services with a single interface into the BSS layer to create, deploy and manage the service lifecycle, including network slices created in a virtualized environment. It is essential that service orchestration is able to interact effortlessly with service catalogs, inventories, activation and the surrounding OSS and BSS systems, in a fully automated fashion, to enable the long-held goal of zero-touch operations.

Flexible, Agile Revenue Management Required for New Business Models
5G will bring a massive increase in both volume and variety of transactions that revenue management systems must handle, so BSS must be prepared for new scenarios if CSPs are to correctly monetize these new services. A classic revenue management problem occurs when CSPs attempt to rate, charge and bill entirely new service models with existing legacy systems. Modernized revenue management must be able to support all lines of business on a single platform providing a centralized source of information, tightly aligned with OSS, for all traditional, digital and partner-based services.

The 5G era is already beginning to drive a new wave of service innovation in the industry, and while we may not know the exact details of the next high-revenue, high-margin offering, it’s clear that CSPs must prepare for providing and managing the revenue-related issues for those services. Digital service models demand cloud-based online revenue management with all of the flexibility and agility that goes along with it. Open architectures and standardized APIs that are exposed to new partners from adjacent industries will also be required to eliminate friction while creating profitable new value chains.

Seamless Integration for Zero-touch Operations
Service management and revenue management should ideally be built from a common software framework, using a microservices-based architecture and a strong grounding in DevOps methodology. This will ensure that CSPs can provide the best customer experience possible while managing new revenues dynamically and efficiently. Approaching service management and revenue management separately is a mistake that many operators will pay for in operational efficiency shortcomings, poor customer experience and lost revenues.

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