January 31, 2019

Cloud BSS: Besides Subscription Billing, What Else is There?

Business support systems (BSS) in the cloud definitely need to include billing and rating, but should also incorporate digital product catalogs, partner management and more.

Business support systems (BSS) have always been the backbone of service providers’ business, providing the critical infrastructure layer that turns service consumption into revenue. But traditional BSS can also be the bottleneck that delays the rollout of next-generation services. Hard coding, dedicated service silos, legacy architectures and closed systems can create challenges for operators as they expand into new service areas.

Cloud BSS goes beyond just basic charging.

Adopting a cloud-native BSS architecture can help service providers grow their business into new domains and enable greater flexibility as services evolve. Moving lead-to-cash processes to a hosted model increases flexibility, enables more scale, reduces capex from redundant hardware that needs regular upgrades or replacements, and makes ongoing transformation efforts faster. But cloud BSS goes beyond just basic charging.

Cloud BSS is a cloud-native software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that provides new ways for service providers to achieve their digital transformation objectives, accelerate time-to-market and shift to new commercial models, all while avoiding the high costs and long timelines associated with a traditional transformation program. Netcracker believes the ideal cloud BSS platform must extend well beyond the traditional boundaries of just charging and subscription management; it must meet the following functional requirements to succeed:

  • The configure price quote (CPQ) and sales automation process is consistent and links to the product catalog.
  • The product catalog is dynamic, open and scalable, and can support any service from both inside and outside the organization.
  • Billing/rating capabilities are real-time, service-agnostic and malleable such that they can evolve as fast as the services they support.
  • Partner acquisition and management is seamless. External services are populated in the catalog for effective bundling and can be rated and billed with revenue shared as set by service level agreements or vendor contracts.
  • Customer engagement is proactive and intelligent with predictive customer journeys set by ongoing interactions, service issues, upsell/cross-sell opportunities or service resolution requirements.

As customer demands evolve over time, cloud-based BSS should allow service providers to evolve in tow, which will help improve NPS scores, expand margins and make IT development quicker and cheaper. The positive impacts of this will be evident in both the operational and revenue-generation outcomes that result from transformation.

Perhaps the most important aspect of any cloud BSS solution deployment will be the results that it produces. Service providers should not move their BSS to the cloud as a means to follow technology trends; it’s a business decision that should be focused on measurable goals. Understanding the connections between the advantages a true, telco-grade cloud BSS offers and those measurable business goals is critical to defining a valid business case that supports any cloud BSS initiative. 

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