The Importance of Strategic Architecture Consulting for an Effective BSS Ecosystem
With a wave of changes sweeping the telecommunications industry, CSPs are morphing as we speak. With further digitalization and 5G technology looming on the horizon, the Concept-to-Market and Lead-to-Activate domains are witnessing a host of changes, predominantly in the following ways:
- The diversity of product offerings is increasing, with the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G technology and digitalization.
- There is a varied sales cycle for different types of offers.
- Digital channels are increasing, customer touch points continue to proliferate and an omni-channel experience is a must.
- Multiple and virtualized services are possible on the same hardware.
- Customer data analysis needs to take place in real-time and be used during the acquisition process; it should not be treated as a back-end reporting exercise.
However, the BSS/OSS ecosystems of CSPs, built over years, have not taken an end-to-end approach across domains, but built in siloes. This siloed approach prevents adaptability to evolving business needs. Sometimes, new product launches require extensive customization to current workflows. A massive increase in number of service orders due to network virtualization and 5G industry offerings requires razor-sharp service activation.
From a solution standpoint, there are certain architectural principles that CSPs must adhere to, in order to take advantage of the opportunities that these changes bring. The first pertains to product data management. Product data and rules should be centralized and controlled from a single hub, with various stakeholders, including partners, having access to this data. Because product data is centralized, this should enable the definition of generic selling and fulfillment processes, based on business scenarios. The logic for product-related actions should be driven from the central hub described earlier.
The customer acquisition process should be unified across product areas and reside in a centralized selling engine which provides quote persistence, with open-API exposure to various channels. Similarly, a centralized and single source of truth for the subscription is required. This will result in real-time subscription management, where the subscription will be the point of reference for all future customer orders.
To implement these architectural principles, the solution design needs to follow a specific methodology. What is Sigma’s methodology to realize a To-Be architecture that caters to industry trends and business drivers? It is a levelled solution approach to:
- Define end-to-end business scenarios in the domains of Concept-2-Market and Lead-2-Activate, based on business functions to capture business drivers and define enterprise architecture principles based on certain best practices.
- Map business functions to IT functions and derive logical processes to define the key entities with data ownership, application logic of every function and detail the interactions between each function.
- Detail the processes into technical processes, thereby detailing the application, information and integration architecture.
- This is done taking an end-to-end view of the Concept-to-Market and Lead-to-Activate domains and adhering to best practices
and learning, where the solution is designed in a way that changes to products can be easily accommodated by the processes, without the need for massive customizations.
Adopting this methodology will result in better design processes and enable faster Time-to-Market due to a 360-degree product information model that will enable reusability. The architecture will also eliminate the need for expensive Product data synchronization. Other run-time benefits include enhancing the customer experience based on the contextual offer browsing and selection, providing an omni-channel experience. There will also be an improvement in operational efficiency from reduced fulfillment flows, resulting in lower application enhancement costs and subscription management built into the process as the single source of truth.
Sri Jagadish Baddukonda,