Today, operators are faced with a plethora of challenges-namely-thinning margins, plunging ARPUs and cannibalization of revenues by the emergence of OTT service providers. To counter this, telecom operators must not only find new and innovative ways to bolster ROIs on their existing CAPEX spends, but they must do so without incurring any significant increase in their OPEX.
The way out of this dichotomy is to create a “no fuss” business environment based on a common set of rules and procedures that can be scoped out to any business role and function in a seamless fashion – and that too without incurring any major cost escalations.This is possible only by ushering in OSS/BSS transformation that has been quietly gathering momentum.
Market Trends in Telecom OSS/BSS
However, the emergence of OSS/BSS cannot be described as an overnight phenomenon by any means. On the contrary, the markets have been mulling over its potential for some time now. And if we go by the market analysts, there is no dearth of potential. According to Transparency Market Research, the OSS/BSS market will be worth $49.78 Billion by 2020. The report mentions that the global operations support systems (OSS) and business support system (BSS) market will report a 12.7 percent CAGR from 2014 to 2020 as it grows from its 2013 valuation of $ 21.86 billion.
According to the report, the demand in OSS is expected to come from the service fulfillment and service assurance in North America and Europe.
Similarly, in the BSS segment, strong growth is expected in revenue management and customer management services, with the former chalking a growth rate of 14.3 percent CAGR between 2014 and 2020.
These are on expected lines as shifting customer loyalty and decreasing ARPUs send operators on a course correction spree. Also strong growth is expected in the emerging countries as they pump in more dollars for establishing a strong network infrastructure.
Convergent Billing Systems Trends in the OSS/BSS Space
Technavio pegs the global OSS/BSS market at $48.54 billion by 2018, growing at 16.2 percent CAGR from 2012 to 2018. As a matter of fact, both Transparency Market Research as well as Technavio, have betted long on convergent billing systems to increase uptake of OSS/BSS systems in the market. A convergent billing system provides a typical voice and data customer with a single-invoice-one-charge account covering mobile voice, fixed voice, data, IPTV, broadband, pre-paid as well as post-paid. Ordinary billing systems are disparate and fail to provide a single unified of the customer usage and services. In a convergent billing system, the customer calls customer care and gets a complete overview of services opted. At the end of the billing cycle, the customer receives a single bill for services consumed and makes a single payment for all the services.Convergent billing systems is one of the fastest rising trends in telecom OSS/BSS implementations, which enables faster time to market, unified customer care and product discovery.
Custom built OSS/BSS Software
With the current narrative running on cost optimization and revenue maximization, it is hardly surprising when TechNavio points to more outsourcing of OSS/BSS functions to managed service providers in the future. This is because software implementation and maintenance is prohibitively costly in a market especially when operators are competing on cost among other factors.
There is also going to be growing demand for customized OSSS/BSS software with telecom operators shifting from a product centric model to a customer-centric model.
With the operator ringing in several changes in order to differentiate their products and services, customized OSS/BSS will become the flavor of the season. The demand for custom built software will also grow with the operator breaking into new territory through bundled offers. Increasingly, we will see operators bundling telco with non-telco products as they try to increase their revenues. However, this bundling of core services with non- core services has its own hazards, requiring custom OSS/BSS software for provisioning.
Fault-lines in OSS/BSS
However, there are several hurdles before the operators that are impeding their OSS/BSS transformation. Operators are carrying the burden of their legacy architecture developed in-house and consisting of a patchwork of niche systems that cannot support flexibility and the time to market that are the perquisites of ICT in the current age.
Migrating to new OSS/BSS structure poses its own share of problems. Taking a big bang approach could potentially disrupt business processes due to which operators have to take the middle path where old legacy infrastructure has to co-exist in the new OSS/BSS environment until the transformation is complete. However, this leads to the doubling of the costs.