After decades of being written off as boring, archaic, and obligatory, business support systems are finally gaining the allure they deserve. BSS has historically served primarily as a collection of systems necessary to manage the financial aspects of a business, such as generating charges, issuing monthly bills, and collecting payments, while its “sex appeal” has long suffered among key decision makers within the telco organization.
The digital revolution has cast BSS in a new light, however. Industry disrupters such as T-Mobile US and Reliance Jio as well as Internet content providers such as Google and Facebook have worked to force the hand of the industry, putting pressure on players to encourage quick change. More specifically, the need to differentiate services through customer experience has become a top priority and business challenge for telcos. More than 85% of telcos identify delivering a personalized customer experience as one of their most important business challenges for 2017, according to Ovum’s most recent ICT Enterprise Insights survey.
Furthermore, 70% of telcos are planning to increase their overall IT spend for the year, with improvements to the digital customer experience and self-service capabilities ranking among the top IT projects set for the next 12 months. BSS will play an important role in these objectives, as well as in many of the other IT priorities for telcos this year. The wealth of customer data stored in these systems – such as call records, Internet activity, and general account information – will enable telcos to make significant improvements in the operational efficiency of the business and to create a more dynamic and personalized customer experience.
Investment in simple improvements such as integrating customer and revenue management systems, integrating the BSS with policy control and other network management systems, and exposing data in the BSS to self-service tools will have a positive impact on business efficiency while at the same time improving the customer experience.
Things will get a bit worse before getting better, however. As telcos attempt to quickly bring these new capabilities and digital services to market, more business support systems (specifically revenue-management systems) are expected to be rolled out to support these efforts. The long-term goal remains, however: consolidating these systems to improve business agility. In the meantime, it is safe to say that BSS are finally getting their day in the sun.
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