The 3 superpowers of cloud BSS

Discover the powers that make your BSS future-ready

By Shay Assaraf, CMO • January 29, 2021

There are constantly emerging challenges in the market that require BSS to have superpowers. Operators need these powers to best handle 5G rollouts, OTT competition, operational improvements, cost savings, and the dynamic market. 

Where are BSS superpowers best found? A cloud-native approach accelerates the launch of new services, saves costs, and underpins better experiences. And it’s not just incremental improvements in these areas. Cloud-native BSS is a vital part of your armor as you battle your competition, enable new services, and participate more fully in the digital value chain.

So, why do you need superpowers (and not just powers)? Regular, everyday BSS, according to TM Forum’s “Future BSS” report, is broken. Telecom operators are under significant strain, which demands a change in mindset. The days of complexity, technical debt, costly on-premise operations, and lengthy time to market can no longer be tolerated. 

The challenges facing telecom

The challenges threatening telecoms today can be categorized into groups such as expectations, unknowns, instability, and unpredictability.

The expectations are continually increasing. Consumers and enterprises keep raising the bar as today’s digital landscape drives customers to expect more, faster, now. At the same time, there are innumerable unknowns in the ecosystem (and the world). There are many things that customers will want tomorrow, but we can’t be fully sure what those will be. Therefore, operators need to be agile, dynamic, and able to move fast to remain relevant and ahead of the competition. 

While addressing customer expectations is not easy in light of an unknown ecosystem, it becomes almost impossible with the significant instability of the era we live in. We can discuss the pandemic, but it’s not only that. In the last few years, for example, instability has increased the demand for cybersecurity and changed how operators deliver services. Last, is industry unpredictability.  

For years, there have been conversations about 5G. But no one can forecast what capacity, bandwidth, pace of adoption, and exact use cases will be. There is also talk about mobile exploding and IoT becoming the predominant way machines, utilities, appliances, and devices in our homes and cities work.

What is the mission for operators? Simultaneously meet customers’ expectations, prepare for ecosystem unknowns, be agile in an unstable world, and be ready for industry unpredictability. Does it sound like an impossible feat? Enter superpowers (and cloud-native BSS). 

Superpower #1 — multi-capability

Superheroes with multiple superpowers are practically undefeatable. Maybe they can breathe underwater, fly and combat challengers midair. Future-ready operators, likewise, need to be well rounded with multiple capabilities. What does this mean to you?

It’s about how you expand your offerings and become more diverse through the products and services you offer to exceed customer expectations. In analyzing consumer and enterprise trends around the globe, we’ve observed four main streams of diversification. 

 

  1. Next-level quality and bandwidth — take 5G, invest in your network, and architect your value proposition around the enabled offerings. SK Telecom and Verizon are doing this by leveraging the quality and bandwidth of their networks to offer new, innovative enterprise and consumer use cases as their core value propositions.
  2. Convergence — we’ve witnessed the convergence of mobile, fixed, broadband, and TV. Now, operators, such as AT&T with its Time Warner acquisition, are taking convergence to the next level. Mobile connectivity is being delivered along with subscriptions, content, and other services.
  3. Reinvention of enterprise, machine-to-machine, and IoT — Truphone, Singtel, and China Mobile, for example, are innovating and reimaging B2B2X models and delivering new IoT use cases.
  4. Digital ecosystem players — operators are partnering with OTT applications and offering their own white-label applications to provide a wide range of services and ensure customer loyalty. Globe, Turkcell, and TSTT are examples of operators that are creating these value propositions and unique offerings.

 

To achieve this multi-capability service provider superpower, the goal is to converge your offerings across any entity you provide service for — devices, users, families, households, communities, and enterprises. And monetize across any business model, whether it’s a subscription, pre or postpaid, or bundling.

How do you do this? One thing required is to tightly integrate your policy to your charging and making policy a fulfillment function that can change pricing strategy and network quality and experience on the go. For example, offer different multi-policy per user and enterprise based on customers’ specific usage (e.g., gaming, video, calls) and adjust them on the fly to ensure they are constantly met. Leverage this to create a highly personalized experience to make your offerings more diverse and unique. 

Superpower #2 — launch fast in the face of the unknown

Unknown challenges can be difficult to prepare for. Ask any superhero, and they’ll tell you that their speed serves them well. In a constantly changing world, operators need technology that enables speed, agility, and fast time to market and value. 

 

5G, for example, requires new functionalities and capabilities. Some of them are not yet defined even. To manage these unknowns and requirements, speed to change and adapt is your friend. But it is largely governed by your software’s agility, capability to innovate, and capacity to evolve. This means that operators need a new type of technology and framework that will support the launch and monetization of new products, roll out of new functionalities, and introduction of new use cases rapidly. 

The best technology available for this is cloud, and many operators are now evaluating and adopting cloud approaches and technologies. There are recommended steps to the cloud, however, to provide you with maximum benefits. 

 

Superpower #3 — resilience and elasticity

Resilience is necessary to successfully deal with scalability and operational challenges, and elasticity is required based on the size and scale of the challenges. For operators, both help equip you to face the threats of instability and unpredictability in the world, industry, and market. In fact, resilience and elasticity can help you innovate and turn threats and challenges into opportunities.

 

But how can operators be constantly resilient to ensure business continuity? How can you be elastic to best grow rapidly when the demand requires and also be efficient enough to size down when scale is no longer required? Resilience and elasticity begin with end-to-end reliability, infrastructure, and automation tools to ensure smooth operation. 

Resilience requires high availability, self-healing software on compute, database, and the application itself to work seamlessly and scale when needed. This helps to ensure that mission-critical business applications such as billing and charging are running constantly and that KPIs and SLAs are met. Then, an ideal environment exists for elasticity and ensured business continuity. 

With the cloud, you can access unlimited resources and gain the elasticity to grow and scale up or down as needed. Capacity planning becomes obsolete. This also delivers cost savings as you pay only for what you use — whether you’re activating and provisioning testbeds, development environments, or disaster recovery. 

Your database also needs the capability to grow and scale. Replacing traditional databases with cloud databases prepares you to better support 5G use cases with more effective scalability, active-active capabilities to ensure business continuity, and lower cost. On the cloud, databases can auto-scale and provide built-in resilience, high performance, and low latency to maximize your elasticity superpowers.

How can you seize BSS cloud superpowers?  

BSS superpowers make you best equipped to win your customers’ hearts, deliver a superior digital customer experience, and stay ahead of your competition.   

Cloud-native BSS on the private and public cloud empowers you with new capabilities to: 

 

  1. Address growing capacity needs
  2. Launch fast in the face of the unknown
  3. Ensure business continuity
  4. Innovate and diversify
  5. Reduce overall costs and optimize operations

 

There are a variety of options for moving to new cloud technology. In recent years, we’ve seen operators focus on a migration journey for “big bang” transformation. Now, more operators are taking a gradual approach. They are identifying an initial use case that will allow them to experience the technology on the private or public cloud with minimal risk and quickly enjoy the benefits, such as agility, automation, and cost savings. Then, operators gradually migrate their services to the new platform.

With the rollout of 5G and new monetization models or the launch of a digital brand, some operators will build a parallel stack with capabilities or a partner ecosystem such as an MVNE platform that they can leverage to generate new revenues and lines of business. You can choose components of the BSS stack that are relevant for the use case you want to launch. For 5G capabilities, for example, this may be a new way of rating and charging, implementation of policy control and provisioning, instead of a whole new BSS. 

Regardless of the option you choose, the priority is — choose. Start your BSS cloud journey now. There’s no time to waste, and it’s no time to be doubting the future of your cloud BSS superpowers.

 

Learn more! Watch the on-demand webinar Get Future Ready: Cloud Powers for Your BSS and read the case study Demand for Agility Leads Tier 1 Telecom to Move BSS to Cloud.