We know that big IT transformations – and particularly BSS transformations – are expensive, risky and take far too long. We also know that if we want to become a digital service provider, we are now being forced to look at alternatives. It is no longer an option to transform into an entity that resembles Amazon, Google or Apple. Even giants such as Vodafone are wondering what Google would do if it owned the company.
It is timely, then, that telecoms software provider Openet published a recent survey among 112 operators from each major region on exactly what they think about transformation.
Among respondents there is no dispute over whether they should transform their business. The reason for doing it is to have a platform to “develop, deliver and monetize new digital services; enable a faster time to market and achieve an agility” that begins to look like Amazon, Google or other digital service providers.
There are, of course, (increasingly rare) scenarios where large transformation is the only possibility, but it is risky and costly. Sixty-eight percent of operators know of large transformation failures. Forty percent of those surveyed have seen ones that cost over $20 million, and 10% know of failures that cost over $100 million (which equates to over a billion dollars, just among this group).
The main reasons cited for failure is too much customized software development, over-complicated requirements and overpromising by vendors.
Operators see the impact of failure in delayed product launches, opex increases, customer complaint increases – and in the worst cases, they find themselves being slated in the press.
Transformations also take too long. Thirty-nine percent say that they take one to two years, while 28% say two to three years. This must obviously change – 49% of respondents say they should take between six months and a year.
So, what are the alternatives that deliver this speed and functionality? The most popular one is the “addition of new solutions for new use cases (e.g. new solution for shared data, sponsored services, VoLTE, etc)”. Next is the adjunct system approach, implementing real-time charging as an adjunct to existing billing systems, followed by “moving BSS to cloud – gradually, system by system”.