The need to evolve

Graham Carey, Oracle
27 Feb 2007

We know that today's telecom service providers are facing unprecedented change. There is a plethora of new services arriving by the minute and customers are more than willing and able to switch service provider at the drop of a hat.

However, the majority of the new services on offer are disconnected from other existing services and most are offered in isolation. These disjointed services are made available to the whole consumer market without focus because service providers actually know very little of the consumers, their interests and habits, even though they have a unique billing relationship with each and every one.

Today, the majority of intelligent consumer data is simply thrown away at the end of the billing period and not used to future business advantage. Some providers are realizing that, unless they connect the dots for the consumer and offer full end-to-end service delivery and support, they will be relegated to being carriers or bits pipes only.

The more enlightened providers can see that if they offer both a rich set of services and superior end-to-end support and customer care, they can fight the turning tide of declining revenue and win the consumers' respect and longer-term custom.

There has been much talk recently of the need to understand and monitor next-generation events as they take place, to charge the consumer and then appropriately share that revenue with the whole value chain.

These are significant and critically important issues and areas of BSS functionality that need to be addressed in an error-free and auditable fashion. We are all aware that the value chain is expanding and growing ever more complex for telecom service providers.

However, we must also consider how these new services and their delivery impact the consumer and the service providers delivering them. When the customer has a problem or complaint, who is really responsible‾ Does responsibility translate to accountability‾ Does accountability translate to the real ability to affect change‾ If there is a billing enquiry from the consumer, who has authority to answer or to make changes if a refund is required, for example‾

With the loosely integrated systems and even less integrated business processes, you would want to contact the help desk with a significant level of trepidation.

The service delivery systems used by the telecom providers are evolving to address the technical issues of interoperability and data/information exchange.

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