IT and network integration in telecom companies: Creating efficiency and customer satisfaction

November 4, 2013

Executive summary

The rapid proliferation of digital technology has created a surge in consumer demand and sophistication. Telecom companies have attempted to respond with an increasing focus on an excellent customer experience. However, the traditional organizational structure of telecom companies is ill-equipped to overcome the significant challenges — such as the complexity of the relevant systems, and the associated pressure on costs — presented by this changing environment. By integrating their business support systems (BSS) applications (in the past managed by the IT department) with operations support systems (OSS) applications (previously handled by the network department), telecom companies can boost the efficiency of their operations and better synergize the elements of the technology backbone.

Integrating the two platforms, however, will require companies to overcome several obstacles. Both IT BSS vendors and network OSS vendors are highly specialized and many have not yet acquired convincing experience in providing the integrated platforms that telecom companies now need. Other technological issues relate to fragmented systems architecture, with its disparate legacy equipment and multiple vendor systems, and the migration process for often inconsistent data. Meanwhile, on the organizational side, the fear of a loss of influence or position will inevitably create resistance to change. Furthermore, the customary executive mind-set, which views technology as more of a target for cost savings than a vehicle for growth, may also block the great opportunity for progress that now presents itself.

By changing this outdated mind-set, and by building the right technological and organizational capabilities to surmount these challenges, telecom companies can establish robust foundations, enabling them to offer the increased innovation and heightened customer experience now demanded by a new breed of consumer

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Key highlights

  • Telecom companies must integrate their BSS and OSS platforms in order to meet demands for innovation and excellent customer experience, prompted by huge digital growth and the resulting advent of a much more sophisticated consumer.
  • This necessary transformation will present a number of technological and organizational obstacles that companies need to overcome.
  • Only appropriate technological and organizational capabilities, and a new mentality that embraces the strategic potential of IT, can pave the way for this transformation.

Conclusion

The integration of IT BSS and network OSS is inevitable. Operators can either embrace it on their own terms or wait for vendors to propose converged solutions. Getting the timing right is a critical decision for executives. They will first of all need to determine a clearly defined set of necessary capabilities, and then build a road map for this process to ensure rapid and sustainable results.

To emerge successful from this process, operators will have to take a holistic approach to BSS–OSS integration that is aligned with commercial strategy, and reject a narrow technology focus. A well-planned BSS–OSS integration program will have two principal positive outcomes. First, it allows a telecom operator to better address customer needs, and second, it allows the operator to free up funds to invest in its strategic priorities and thus be better positioned to grow.

Such capabilities will allow the business to make full use of insights generated by customer and internal data and thus help to support innovation, cost-effectiveness, and customer experience. The revamped technology function will have to involve itself in strategy development to prioritize digitization projects where they add most value — namely where the business interacts with customers. Developing a technology plan enables BSS–OSS initiatives to be used strategically. Such a plan would also make technology spending more transparent, enabling management teams to cut costs quickly, and therefore opening up opportunities for growth.

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IT and network integration in telecom companies: Creating efficiency and customer satisfaction

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