While cost reduction remains important to CSP-BSS managed services provider (MSP) engagements, optimal efficiency in service delivery and application maintenance and development is absolutely critical. Consequently, deep knowledge of the telco network and the IT systems is also important. The integrated managed services model and end-to-end services operations for the multivendor environment is also key to the demands for BSS managed services. BSS MSPs are already responding to these needs by building capabilities that align well with them.
It's more about efficiency in service delivery than cost reduction
CSPs' demand for the services of a BSS managed services provider remains the same: to reduce cost and improve efficiency. However, due to competition from OTT service providers, the need for improved efficiency has never been more relevant to the CSP than now. These companies have business processes that have transformed what customers expect in terms of digital service delivery. Therefore, CSPs want managed services providers to take what they have and do it better, by improving the quality of experience (QoE) and quality of service (QoS) delivered to customers. CSPs expect their BSS managed services provider to deliver expertise they do not have in-house, and help reduce the cost for running their business operations by implementing best practices learned from other industries.
Well-rounded knowledge of the network and IT is critical
Vendors with platform-agnostic capabilities have dominated BSS managed services engagements. However, the platform-agnostic capabilities being sought today go beyond the BSS and now include the network technologies adopted by CSPs. To ensure delivery of end-to-end service assurance, BSS MSPs must assure and manage systems in a multi-technology environment where 2G, 3G, 4G, and the upcoming 5G networks can coexist. As the specifications for 5G are being developed, CSPs moving into IoT (Internet of Things) and M2M (machine to machine) will leverage older technologies, namely, 2G and 3G networks, to deploy these services. Consequently, MSPs with strong telecoms expertise can use their core telecoms capabilities to bring more value to their CSP customers.
CSPs to favor the integrated managed services solution model
In the past, CSPs would outsource single components of their BSS stack and operations to a single vendor; however, this approach now varies by CSP segment. Tier-2, -3, and -4 CSPs favor an integrated managed services solution model, where a single vendor manages the entire BSS stack and operations. Tier-1 CSPs still like to manage certain aspects in-house and/or choose best-of-breed vendors for separate parts of the BSS stack; however, they are also increasingly keen to have a prime or lead contractor assume responsibility for end-to-end operation. The drivers influencing the move towards an integrated managed services provider include: improved productivity gained by enforcing methodologies such as DevOps, and best practices and simplified accountability and governance across BSS managed services offerings for more streamlined service delivery and service management.
CSPs can look to their BSS managed services providers to support their needs
The BSS MSP space continues to evolve as vendors enhance their capabilities to satisfy demands in the market. CSPs need to consider consulting and systems integration companies, such as Atos, IBM, Infosys, and TCS, who offer broad business process, integration, and services skills, and their more traditional vertical partners, such as NEPs. Managed services providers at the convergence of the network and IT applications domains offer the most compelling vertical-focused propositions; these suppliers include BSS applications specialist Amdocs, Ericsson, Huawei, and Netcracker. Given their telecoms expertise and managed services specialization, these companies are best placed to help CSPs with their BSS managed services applications.
A full review and SWOT of all of the vendors' BSS applications managed services portfolios can be found in the Ovum report BSS Applications Managed Services for CSPs, IT0012-000154 (March 2016).
Adaora Okeleke, Analyst, Telecom Operations and IT
Clare McCarthy, Practice Leader, Telecom Operations and IT
Chantel Cary, Analyst, Telecom Operations and IT