Virtualisation and software-driven telecoms

One of the biggest shifts in technology is virtualisation. Increasingly virtualised and software-driven services are driving more and more digitisation in the lives of consumers.

The introduction of Wi-Fi, 4G and now 5G services, for example, has opened up countless possibilities for consumers to stay connected. Leveraging the new age tech, consumers can even integrate their mobile phones with home appliances and streamline their lives with more connectivity.

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Consumers also expect a more personal touch to their experience with a telecom provider. To meet these consumer expectations successfully, and encourage the growth of their own operations, telcos must adapt along with virtualisation.

The key to this, for many telco operations, is their OSS and BSS systems. As virtualisation becomes an integral part of telecommunications, conventional OSS and BSS systems are undergoing major changes. OSS/BSS vendors are looking to harness their systems towards software-focused products and services that telecom providers seek to offer.

This transformation of both OSS and BSS is being driven by a number of factors including:

• Multi-play digital services: Telcos are now focused on diversifying the products and services they offer, particularly in the scope of multi-play digital services. Whether looking for a telephone connection, a TV subscription or broadband, customers are looking for the most convenient deal they can find.

By offering a package deal for all of these digital home services, telco operators are looking to win customers in an increasingly digital market. With these demands in mind, OSS vendors must expand the system to provide these combined digital services to the customer.

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• Third-party partnerships: These partnerships are becoming increasingly important for telcos to remain competitive. As telcos expand into new products and services beyond their conventional reach, managing a growing number of third-party partnerships has become essential. OSS/BSS vendors must ensure their systems can be integrated with third-party information.

• Flexible infrastructure: Virtualisation has expanded the scope of service providers. However, existing BSS and OSS infrastructures are too rigid and complex to support these emerging changes.

OSS and BSS can no longer function separately, where the customer-facing BSS would process a customer order and pass this on to the network-facing OSS for fulfilment.

Now, there needs to be a constant negotiation between OSS and BSS, liaising over what could be provided to the customer, based on customer data and the information available with operations resources.

• Responding to the market: OSS and BSS need this flexibility to enable telcos to quickly launch and tear down services to respond to the market demands. In a constantly changing consumer-driven market, telco providers need to adapt their product strategy in near-real time in case a product does not resonate with consumer expectations.

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• The bill: With a number of services being provided to a customer at the same time, particularly for a digital home service, multiple services have to be integrated into the OSS and BSS systems and charged in a single bill. Telcos must also be able to use the information gathered through OSS and BSS for their pricing to be agile and creative.

• Consumer-centric: Underpinning these changes in OSS and BSS systems is the holistic shift in telecom from being “technology-centric” to “customer-centric”.

In a highly competitive industry, customer experience management (CEM) has emerged as a top priority for telcos to retain their customers. Digital service delivery, analytics and automation have become key drivers for significantly improving customer experience through OSS and BSS data.

• Business growth: A shift in focus from running a business to growing a business is pushing almost all telcos to look for opportunities to reduce their operational costs.

Particularly important is doing so without an impact on their subscriber growth or their capability to introduce products and services to begin with. OSS and BSS must evolve to reduce these costs as businesses seek to expand.

Conventional OSS and BSS employ multiple management systems for different segments of a network, which often requires a complex method of integrating and correlating information from these systems.

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As they stand, these traditional systems are not cohesive enough to match the speed and agility offered by next generation networks. Although OSS and BSS are not losing their relevance, these support systems need to evolve as they increasingly focus on virtualised products and services.

Telcos are continuously preparing to adapt themselves to software-driven and virtualised services. Most of all, they are driven by the consumer demand for accessible virtualisation in homes, seeking to expand their operations rather than simply running a business. As these technologies progress, OSS/BSS systems are transforming with them to provide the necessary infrastructure to support this evolution.

 

Sourced by Dominic Thomas, practice head – OSS/BSS Solutions, Wipro Limited

 

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is the editor for Information Age. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and cyber security.

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