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[EXCERPT] Bridging the OSS/BSS Gap - Strategies for Dynamic Order Management

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  • 1. Bridging the OSS/BSS Gap –An Excerpt -Strategies for Dynamic Order Management(OSSCS 11-11) January 2011
  • 2. AN EXCERPT - BRIDGING THE OSS/BSS GAP – STRATEGIES FOR DYNAMIC ORDER MANAGEMENT (OSSCS 11-11) 1Stratecast sees a newfunction—Dynamic INTRODUCTION 2Order Management—asa response to the In today’s competitive market for communication services, customers can literally pickbusiness need for faster, and choose from a menu of products including equipment, services, features, andmore interactive, and functions. They select handsets, offers, bundles, optional features, and pricing plans frommore reliable customer across Communication Service Provider (CSP) lines of business. Customers also have aoffer design and orderdelivery. larger say in offer policies including parental controls, mixing prepaid and postpaid services across multiple users in an account, or access to high-bandwidth sites and gaming. Stratecast research reveals that, in response to these new demands, CSPs continue to execute a linear product development and delivery lifecycle. On average, the time required to get a new product to market is 2-6 months, and 88% of CSPs still require 1-7 days to activate customer services. Efforts intended to accelerate time-to-market and implement seamless activation are exposing gaps in OSS/BSS integration. That would indicate that recent CSP implementations of centralized product catalogs and service layer environments are incomplete. What’s missing is the orchestration required to rapidly generate an offer and deliver that capability to a customer. Despite numerous efforts to extend existing OSS/ BSS, CSPs have discovered that current billing, CRM, fulfillment, and inventory systems are incapable of filling the orchestration gaps that are preventing end-to-end execution of product planning, product availability, and product activation processes. Stratecast sees a new function—Dynamic Order Management—as a response to the business need for faster, more interactive, and more reliable customer offer design and order delivery. Product managers, customer service representatives, and customers need to know that product offer components can be technically and operationally combined and configured across the network and operational infrastructure. CSPs face pressure to innovate at the customer offer level and tailor unique lifestyle products for each subscriber. Likewise, there is pressure to rapidly activate and operate new products as soon as the customer hits ‘enter’. Dynamic Order Management provides the orchestration necessary to deliver services quickly, reliably, and accurately. CSPs are generally confident in the ability of existing systems to handle the volume and complexity of new products. However, they are becoming painfully aware that the absence of the orchestration, integration, and oversight required to effectively and efficiently execute the end-to-end process of 1 This article is an excerpt from Stratecast report OSSCS 11-11: Bridging the OSS/BSS Gap – Strategies for Dynamic Order Management, December 2010. 2 Please note that the insights and opinions expressed in this assessment are those of Stratecast and have been developed through the Stratecast research and analysis process. These expressed insights and opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the company executives interviewed. 2 January 2011 © 2011 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved.
  • 3. defining a product and shepherding it through to customer delivery is jeopardizing customer relationships and encouraging churn. This excerpt discusses Dynamic Order Management as a way to orchestrate existing OSS/BSS investments and deliver on the promise of next generation lifestyle services while reducing errors and fallout. In addition to a discussion of the changing nature of order management, a profile is included that describes deployment of the IBM Sterling Selling and Fulfillment Suite for a broadband services provider. A NEW PRODUCT LIFECYCLE There has always been a divide between CSP network-facing operations (OSS) and customer-facing operations (BSS). This was traditionally a separation of convenience to balance the volume of customer interactions against the number of network transactions and events. However, customers are demanding new and individualized services that are delivered right now. Network access and infrastructure now extend from the user device to the network, to IT servers and delivery platforms. Transaction volume and complexity of service offerings have increased in both customer- and network-facing support functions such that any efforts to improve the time to deliver new services or expedite the order-to-cash process require that the gap be closed. The new CSP Product Lifecycle, shown in Figure 1, includes all of the functionality required to define products, create a customer offer, and deliver that offer. Dynamic Order Management is the key to seamlessly delivering that lifecycle using existing OSS/ BSS and data. Short of replacing all of the existing OSS/BSS and IT infrastructure, CSPs are evaluating ways to simplify and integrate operational processes, coordinate or consolidate existing functionality and improve productivity while reducing costs. Figure 1: Product Lifecycle Product Product Planning Support Customer Infrastructure Product Product Availability Activation Source: Stratecast 3© 2011 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. January 2011
  • 4. A major consequence of the OSS/BSS divide is a lack of coordination between the design of a product offer and the functional and technical realities of delivering that same product. Marketing and CRM systems handle product design and order capture functions while network-facing fulfillment systems do an equally good job of delivering against that order. But what these systems do not do well is communicate during the execution of these processes to establish the technical and operational feasibility of delivering the product, manage orders that have to be delivered across multiple fulfillment stacks, or handle changes to an order as it is being processed. The consequences of this gap include launch delays or orders that can only be delivered via error-prone and poorly coordinated manual process steps that introduce costly rework, and compromise customer relationships. Further, as CSPs define products based on a virtually unlimited combination of individual feature components, the importance of order orchestration becomes even more obvious. Communication services have historically been mass market products ‘manufactured’ with a fixed set of common features and few options. Products were designed and configured onto the network while the billing and customer management software was updated to include the new offering. The process regularly took more than 12 months to complete; but once deployed, the product remained largely unchanged; and with only a few new offerings being developed at any one time, the approach worked. In much the same way that factories require retooling to produce a new product, the quickest way to deliver a new communication product has been to deploy an entirely new OSS/BSS stack. While expedient and cost-effective in the past, the result was multiple silos of software, hardware and staff, each having its own associated operations and maintenance expense burden. But how can CSPs deliver that seamless experience when each customer order requires interaction with multiple product catalogs; multiple BSS for rating/charging/billing; multiple OSS for activation of each network/IT/application element in each access network; multiple service delivery platforms (SDPs); and multiple inventories? Delays in bringing new products to market are no longer just network issues. Rather, the focus has shifted to the OSS/BSS platforms and the business functions that are supported. The challenge in the area of Dynamic Order Management is to implement solutions that fill the gaps between existing OSS/BSS systems and execute a seamless process from Product Planning through Product Support. The ability to fill the gaps created by siloed OSS/BSS creates numerous operational efficiencies for CSPs, including: ▪ Creation of a consistent, horizontal view of the subscriber across CRM, network and OSS/BSS resources ▪ Reducing the time it takes to define a new offer – including mapping and testing ▪ Providing the flexibility to customize offers ▪ Applying rules, policies, and thresholds to ensure order accuracy and reduce fallout across all order and fulfillment channels4 January 2011 © 2011 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved.
  • 5. ▪ Tracking the progress of the order through delivery and initial useA NEW APPROACHDynamic Order Management is a new CSP requirement based on the need to orchestrateexisting OSS/BSS and business processes in a consistent and automated fashion. DynamicOrder Management captures the definition of an offer based on pre-defined componentsand policies while ensuring the consistent, automated execution of fulfillment functionsrequired to deliver that offer to a user. For business customers, CSPs have to spendmore effort on the up-front offer design activities because each implementation hasmultiple unique requirements. However, that uniqueness does not negate the need for aconsistent architecture and integrated data model. A Dynamic Order Managementstrategy should include: ▪ Component-based Architecture – Implementing a component-based product creation environment gives CSPs the ability to independently model products, connectivity, and even changes, using pre-defined components, processes, rules, and workflows. In that way, products are consistently defined and delivered across the business regardless of the underlying systems. On the activation side, automation of the fulfillment workflow, based on the product component definitions, significantly reduces the time required to deliver a new product or change to a customer. Orchestration across existing OSS/BSS is an effective way to implement a component-based architecture; however, that requires significant integration. As vendors develop, and CSPs implement, end-to-end operations platforms, the commonality of data and integration of processes becomes easier; however, the transformation from existing, independent silos of OSS/BSS to a common platform is time consuming and expensive. ▪ Data Alignment – The variety of sources and immense volume of data being collected and used requires that networks, applications, and OSS/BSS implement a common method for the capture, correlation, storage, and sharing of critical data. This need goes beyond order orchestration and affects all aspects of operations including assurance, billing, customer support, and business intelligence. Whether using a single, centralized catalog or multiple product, service, and resource inventories, CSPs require a consistent and trusted view of the data from the customer to the core of the network. Even if it is centralized, a product catalog that is implemented independently from CRM (customer data), fulfillment (service data), and activation (resource data) does not enable end-to- end orchestration—it merely adds another database. ▪ Interoperability – The daily operation and management of the IT and network assets required to deliver thousands of unique products will become a continuous challenge to ensure quality of the service, product performance, and customer satisfaction. Efficient operations and economies of scale dictate that standardized processes, applications, networks, data models and interfaces be 5© 2011 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. January 2011
  • 6. adopted. Several vendors are offering platform solutions that allow CSPs to select and integrate the functionality that they need using pre-integrated modules. Developing adaptors and maintaining integration is expensive and error- prone. As the volume and complexity of products increase, continuous development and maintenance of integration solutions is unsustainable. ▪ Commitment – CSPs must define and implement a long-term, customer-facing transition strategy that includes near-term, achievable goals that can be implemented quickly to deliver a positive customer experience, return on investment (ROI), and reduced total cost of ownership (TCO). Although most OSS/BSS transformation efforts imply commitment from the highest levels of the organization, that commitment must be continuously reinforced by the policies, budgeting, standards, and communication from the executive level. From the project level, there must be well-defined deliverables and incremental progress that is provable and delivers immediate value to the business, to ensure that commitment doesn’t diminish over time. If CSPs are to implement the increasingly complex processes and automation required to deliver advanced orchestration functions, a new layer of expertise and staffing is required. This new functionality requires the definition and design of components, modeling of products and offers, as well as the continuous maintenance and modification of rules, thresholds, and policies. Those individuals must possess an understanding of the processes, systems, and data being used and accessed as well as standards for service quality, interoperability, data modeling, and process optimization enforced by the business.6 January 2011 © 2011 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved.
  • 7. DELIVERING DYNAMIC ORDER MANAGEMENTSterling Commerce, an IBM Company, is an order management vendor that hasrecognized the need for a product that delivers dynamic order orchestration andexecution functionality. Sterling Commerce has effectively added fulfillment orchestrationto its centralized product catalog, and multi-channel order configuration and capturecapabilities to bridge the gap between OSS and BSS. The IBM Sterling Selling andFulfillment Suite, as shown in Figure 2, is designed to become an order hub for CSP multi-channel selling, in addition to multi-enterprise fulfillment that relies on partners andthird parties.Figure 2: IBM Sterling Selling and Fulfill ment Suite Sales and Contact Channels Customer‐centric Orders IBM Sterling Catalog and Offer Management Catalog Product Pricing Offer Synchronization Catalog Management Modeling IBM Sterling Order Configuration and Capture Order Order Quote Channel Configurator Capture Management Integration IBM Sterling Order Management Order Order Availability & Order Store Order Decomposition Sourcing Feasibility Orchestration Management Order  Jeopardy Order Returns Integration Service Delivery Fabric Monitoring  Management Analytics Processing Pack Network & Delivery Integration Points Service Service Physical Resource Workforce Customer Delivery Inventory Activation Inventory Management Management Billing Partners Source: Sterling Commerce, an IBM CompanyTier 1 CSP/Sterling Commerce, an IBM CompanyA deployment at a large US broadband provider demonstrates the IBM Sterling approachto dynamic order management. This broadband provider was struggling with a failed ERPdeployment that left it challenged when delivering bundled broadband-based services toover four million subscribers. In addition, the lack of automated returns processing wasresulting in high costs and low customer satisfaction. The CSP chose IBM Sterling Sellingand Fulfillment Suite to provide consistent ordering support to all customer channels,including call center and reseller affiliates for orchestration of end-to-end orderfulfillment transactions. 7© 2011 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. January 2011
  • 8. The solution, shown in Figure 3, includes the Sterling Commerce order capture hub, order management, order sourcing, delivery and service scheduling, and reverse logistics components. Integration with external OSS/BSS—including Cramer inventory, multiple provisioning platforms, and reseller delivery systems—is required to ensure seamless, end-to-end orchestration.For more informationabout Sterling Figure 3: Tier 1 CSP Deployme ntCommerce:http://www.sterlingcommerce. Broadband Order Management Platformcom/communications- Sterling Commercemedia/home/ Order Capture Order Sourcing Order  Hub Engine Decomposition CallTo contact Sterling CenterCommerce: End‐to‐End Order Decomposition & Returns Processinginquiry@stercomm.com Affiliate Customer Prem. Equip. Orders Work Order Work Order Work Order Work Order Work Order Messaging Customer Video xDSL Network VoIP Wireless Video Transport IP Voice Installation Inventory Domain      Domain Domain Domain Domain Domain Masters (partner) (partner) Network & Delivery Integration Points Source: Sterling Commerce, an IBM Company The broadband provider reports that the new system is handling in excess of 90,000 orders per day during peak times. Automation delivers triple play offers to multiple delivery partners and returns processing is faster and more reliable. The Sterling Commerce distributed order orchestration platform reduces revenue recognition delays and offer fallout while enabling the CSP to efficiently include selling partners and third party fulfillment points. 8 January 2011 © 2011 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved.
  • 9. Stratecast The Last Word Dynamic Order Management is a new function that bridges the gap between OSS and BSS to deliver true end-to-end process execution. Product Management and Fulfillment can no longer exist as standalone functions but need to be driven by the same catalog or consistent federation of product, service, and infrastructure inventories. Navigating the miasma of OSS/BSS to define a product, create an offer, capture an order, execute an order, and deliver that product to a customer is unmanageable and unsustainable given current OSS/BSS operating environments. Alignment of systems and, more importantly, data is the focus of CSPs worldwide, and while approaches may vary, the need remains the same. A factory approach has been defined for CSPs that combines a component assembly approach with the ability to offer a variety of pricing and bundling options. The global CSP survey conducted by Stratecast and ConceptWave reveals that CSPs generally believe that core OSS/BSS—fulfillment, assurance, billing, and CRM—are basically sound. However processes intended to integrate core functionality and deliver products to customers leave gaps that are harder to fill as customer demands increase in both volume and complexity. As processes are implemented using existing OSS/BSS, missing pieces prevent smooth end-to-end offer definition and order execution. CSPs and vendors alike understand that a complete overhaul of OSS/BSS is both exceedingly expensive and unlikely given current economic, competitive, and operating conditions. That does not, however, negate the need to address the gaps in coverage of current systems with new solutions that meet near-term tactical needs while enabling on-going strategic OSS/BSS consolidation and transformation efforts. Dynamic Order Management solutions target the orchestration gaps that are causing otherwise reliable OSS/BSS processes to fail. These solutions also streamline and integrate major CSP operating processes including Idea-to-Availability, Order-to- Activate, and Order-to-Cash into a single customer-focused Idea-to-Delivery process that reduces time-to-market, order fallout, process work around, errors, and cost. Nancee Ruzicka Director Strategy – OSS/BSS Global Competitive Strategies Stratecast (a Division of Frost & Sullivan) nruzicka@stratecast.com 9© 2011 Stratecast. All Rights Reserved. January 2011
  • 10. Silicon Valley 331 E. Evelyn Ave., Suite 100 Mountain View, CA 94041 Tel 650.475.4500 Fax 650.475.1570 San Antonio 7550 West Interstate 10, Suite 400, San Antonio, Texas 78229-5616 Tel 210.348.1000 Fax 210.348.1003 CONTACT London US 4, Grosvenor Gardens, London SWIW ODH,UK Tel 44(0)20 7730 3438 Fax 44(0)20 7730 3343 877.GoFrostBeijing myfrost@frost.comBengaluru http://www.frost.comBogotáBuenos AiresCape TownChennaiDelhiDubaiFrankfurtKolkataKuala LumpurLondonManhattan ABOUT STRATECASTMelbourne Stratecast assists clients in achieving their strategic and growth objectives by providing critical, objectiveMexico City and accurate strategic insight on the global communications industry. As a division of Frost & Sullivan,Milan Stratecast’s strategic consulting and analysis services complement Frost & Sullivans Market EngineeringMumbai and Growth Partnership services. Stratecasts product line includes subscription-based recurring analysis programs focused on Business Communication Services (BCS), Consumer Communication Services (CCS),Oxford Communications Infrastructure and Convergence (CIC), OSS and BSS Global Competitive StrategiesPalo Alto (OSSCS), and our weekly opinion editorial, Stratecast Perspectives and Insight for Executives (SPIE).Paris Stratecast also produces research modules focused on a single research theme or technology area such as Connected Home (CH), MS and Service Delivery Platforms (IMS&SDP), Managed and Professional ServicesRockville Centre (M&PS), Mobility and Wireless (M&W), and Secure Networking (SN). Custom consulting engagements areSan Antonio available. Contact your Stratecast Account Executive for advice on the best collection of services for yourSão Paulo growth needs.Seoul ABOUT FROST & SULLIVANShanghaiSingapore Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, enables clients to accelerate growth and achieve best-Sydney in-class positions in growth, innovation and leadership. The companys Growth Partnership Service provides the CEO and the CEOs Growth Team with disciplined research and best-practice models toTel Aviv drive the generation, evaluation, and implementation of powerful growth strategies. Frost & SullivanTokyo leverages 50 years of experience in partnering with Global 1000 companies, emerging businesses and theToronto investment community from more than 40 offices on six continents. To join our Growth Partnership, please visit http://www.frost.com.Warsaw