Specific BSS capabilities are necessary to create successful partner communities.
October 2, 2018
Building a partner ecosystem to drive continuous new service innovation is often a key component of digital transformation and IoT strategy for service providers. There are a few basic principles that are helpful in constructing, growing and sustaining a successful partner ecosystem. These principles map directly to BSS capabilities that should be evaluated and addressed as partner ecosystem initiatives move forward. Here are three examples of principles that should underpin any partner ecosystem strategy and the BSS capabilities that enable them.
1. Partner Experience is as Important as Customer Experience
In the communications industry, customer experience is frequently cited as a primary driver for large-scale digital transformation initiatives. It’s important for service providers to make it much easier for customers to understand offers and benefits; to browse and shop; to find and buy what they want in self-serve mode; and to receive their services instantaneously, enabled by a greater degree of automation.
Many of these same attributes should be part of the partner experience that a robust partner portal – a key BSS component – should provide. Partner portals should be easy to use and navigate, in order to remove barriers that might make partners think twice about joining and, more importantly, actively engaging in, the partner community. Partners should be able to onboard services into a catalog in a self-serve fashion. They should be able to browse catalogs to see what other partners have on offer, both to differentiate their offerings and to generate concepts for new services that combine multiple partners’ capabilities.
2. Partners Collaborate to Drive Innovation
One of the benefits of a strong partner experience should be improved partner collaboration. An ecosystem should not only foster one-to-one relationships between a service provider and each of its partners. Partners should be encouraged to work together to devise new services by combining their capabilities with each other as well as with the service provider.
This kind of service creation and go to market collaboration depends substantially on what BSS capabilities the service provider presents to its partner community. From service definition and an enterprise product and service catalog, to billing, charging and multiparty settlement capabilities, mature BSS capabilities are critical to giving partners the tools they need to collaborate; bring their vision to market; and respond to market demand throughout the lifecycle of any multi-partner offering.
3. Everyone Gets Paid
It nearly goes without saying that every partner needs to be paid its proper share for the services it provides and which end customers consume. In addition, the more visibility a service provider can enable for partners into demand for their services and forecasted revenue, the more proactive partners can be in setting and achieving business goals as part of the ecosystem.
A fundamental underlying component of any partner ecosystem, therefore, is a strong multi-party settlement capability that can account for complex partner relationships as well as new and sometimes sophisticated business models, like emerging IoT services, which become relevant as the digital era continues to advance.
Many factors will determine the success or failure of a partner ecosystem. It is necessary, however, for service providers to equip their ecosystems with the best tools, experiences and compensation mechanisms possible not only to bundle partner services with their own, but to encourage their partner communities to innovate new services, go to market rapidly, and grow revenue collectively quarter after quarter and well into the future.