Service providers aiming to offer more and newer digital services must look to their own back-office systems first. While it sounds like a no-brainer, it's actually quite shocking how often service provider business units are misaligned with or unaware of the state of their company’s business support systems (BSS). If service providers look internally and modernize their revenue management systems, for instance, they can establish more creative sales and pricing strategies that line up with how their customers use their services.
For some time now, service providers have endured declining revenue streams from voice and messaging services, mostly due to the rise of web-scale companies that offer communications services and content directly to consumers. Although lots of service providers offer pay-TV services, many do not pay attention to how consumers really use video at home or on different devices. This gap has allowed web-scale companies like Netflix to step into that void and utterly dominate the streaming video market. Staying relevant will require more from service providers than simply charging for new services in the traditional way using their legacy, monolithic billing systems. To monetize new applications and services, service providers must embrace new policy management, data analytics and charging functions in their revenue management strategies. These critical network upgrades will help them deliver services to market more quickly and be ready for new services that come up in the future.
Like web-scale companies, service providers can use the insight provided by their customers to develop personalized, context-based offerings. One example of this could be a real-time data roaming package for frequent travelers. When a subscriber is visiting another country, he or she shouldn’t need to worry about the network they are using. Instead, the network, powered by the service provider’s modern IT systems, should automatically add roaming capabilities and send an alert to the subscriber in case other offers are available. The customer is more likely to buy additional services at that moment because the process is easy, relevant, personal and customized for them.
Policy-enabled, personalized services cannot be supported by legacy, siloed billing systems. Modern customer expectations require newer revenue management systems that are flexible and adaptable to market changes. This goes well beyond basic billing and charging, incorporating policy management and data analytics, as well as partner and customer billing management, active mediation and online charging capabilities all in a single, unified platform.
If service providers start with their back-office systems and modernize their IT approach, they’ll be capable of delivering connectivity, content and communications services that consumers want—just like the web-scale companies riding on their networks today.
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