A recent survey conducted by Netcracker and European Communications found that 36 percent of service providers around the globe have not started preparing their BSS for virtualized services. Forty-four percent of survey respondents say they’re working on BSS enhancements while 20 percent say they are ready for virtualization now.
This begs the question: What does a service provider’s BSS need in order to commercialize, launch, support and sustain virtualized services?
Here are five components service providers should include when preparing their BSS for virtualized services.
Eighty-three percent of service providers agree that integrated self-care portals for customers and partners are either critical or very important to the successful launch of virtualized services. In today's fast-paced, ecosystem-driven environments, both customers and partners have come to expect the ability to access digital services through self-service portals. This means that service providers must enable portals that simplify the process of signing up, onboarding, approving, configuring, paying and shopping for customized services. Service providers need to bring together all necessary functions into one place and provide high-quality user experiences across all devices.
Pricing models for virtualized services vary greatly, from basic, recurring subscriptions to on-demand, consumption-based models in which service providers meter and charge for anything from VMs and VNFs to bandwidth. As a result, BSS must be assessed for the ability to support flexible, SDN-related rating schemes, elastic policy-based charging scenarios and real-time online charging capabilities. In fact, 77 percent of service providers in our survey said real-time transaction management is a must-have.
The concept of microservices comes up frequently in discussions about virtualization and cloud. Microservices address the need for speed in virtualized service launches, yet they continue to honor the role that legacy BSS infrastructure plays in shepherding millions of customer records and billions in revenue. The key with BSS microservices, however, is having access to a library of plug-and-play elements that are pre-integrated with the existing BSS. These standalone components can be deployed in public or private clouds and should provide ready-access to BSS functions like subscription management, settlements, partner management, real-time charging or even a product or service catalog.
Once an SDN/NFV foundation is in place, most service providers expect to accelerate the pace at which they roll out new services. Our survey found that although only 5 percent of service providers can currently roll out a new B2B enterprise service in less than a week, 25 percent expect to do so with SDN/NFV deployed. To achieve that pace, service providers should use pre-defined BSS templates—part of a virtualization-ready product catalog—for services like SD-WAN, vCPE, T-SDN, virtualized security and Gi-LAN to turn VNFs into commercialized, saleable products and enable self-customized product bundling.
Services based on partner-provided technologies are inherent to virtualization. A healthy partner ecosystem depends on an effective partner platform that makes it easy for partner tech to become product. Easy onboarding and visible compensation are crucial components for partners, making features like simple product catalog population, publishing to self-service portals and mobile apps, and ready-access to payments critical to an effective partner BSS.
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