Change is constant: OSS/BSS today, tomorrow and the future
- It’s all about change in the world of mobile networks. How a service provider prepares and underpins that change is what will dictate how successful it is.
- In the run- up to the OSS/BSS Summit 2023 in Madrid, Telefónica and Ericsson look at what’s truly driving transformation in telecoms.
There is a saying that holds true regardless of where it’s applied: “A windy day is no time to fix the roof.”
Surveying the telecommunications industry as a whole, this idea of preparedness as well as ensuring key bits of infrastructure are up-to-date and fit-for-purpose seems to be well accepted. However, there’s little room for complacency.
Transformation in mobile networks, always present, is reaching a true point of inflection with several elements now converging at once.
5G is maturing, and expectations are correspondingly high. Industry partners, private network operators, and subscribers on the personal and enterprise side all unite in the hope of a robust service experience from 5G, new features, and genuine differentiation from previous generations of connectivity.
We have moved beyond a place where early questions about the value and necessity of an upgrade to the new standard have been addressed. Now, we look to questions of revenue generation and choices regarding underlying technology that will support us now and through the next decade of further change.
Bridging these two areas of expectation and delivery is the complexity that the 5G network creates – an explosion of data, multi-system multi-vendor coordination, and scaling challenges – that need to be addressed.
Delivering on the elevated expectations placed on the communication service providers (CSP) and vendors who make up the telecoms industry, as well as addressing the need for monetization and sound technical infrastructure, is largely the role of Operations Support Systems and Business Support Systems – OSS / BSS. It is with this technology area we see the vast opportunity to progress and meet the challenges above (and others) head- on. Through OSS / BSS the essential work of breaking down technical and organizational silos can be done, and, aligned with a resolute focus on service experience, the promise of premium connectivity through 5G can be realized.
Service Provider Priorities
As an industry, telecoms can count itself lucky there’s a generally agreed- on main driver of transformation: Everyone sees the value in developing and perfecting the service experience. Whether that’s basic connectivity for calls and messages, or the more complex requirements involved in highly specified network slices, evolution is essential to accommodate new needs from all stakeholders.
Closely linked is the commercial imperative – CSPs need to generate a profit while serving their customers. This means reducing OPEX and CAPEX, and being creative to find and develop new revenue streams.
In meeting these aims, the value of developing a strong OSS / BSS organization is clear. It is, for example, the essential engine, which powers the creation of monetizable services around industry standard, open, APIs.
Further than that, though continuing the theme of API (Application Program Interfaces) access, by developing flexibility and openness a CSP can be well positioned to offer next-generation valuable and much-needed novel services to the general market. For example, being able to offer Network as a Platform / Service (NaaP / NaaS) as a highly sophisticated pay-for-use asset to innovators in telecoms and other industries not only helps grow an ecosystem to serve a region or population but can also provide commercial growth and opportunities beyond just the payments generated for API access to the network capabilities.
Value of OSS / BSS
Through OSS / BSS CSPs can create competitive differentiation from the assets available to the whole industry.
Its value lies in supporting the reduction of complexity 5G brings. As the data created and carried by the network intensifies, the management needs increase almost exponentially. And this is before considerations of extracting intelligence and insight come in. Breaking through the siloes between distinct functions, systems, solutions, business areas, and even corporate or industry walls to manage both operational efficiency and stability and make the best use of the data available is where we look to OSS and BSS infrastructure.
“The OSS/BSS architecture is evolving to support superior 5G service experience. Digitalization is critical for efficient service creation and management, as is the journey to cloud OSS/BSS, in enabling CSPs to fully monetize business, technical, and operational investments. In today’s networks, OSS and BSS must work together for more significant impact and efficiency. This means designing new ways of working and implementing OSS and BSS applications that are cohesively integrated within industry-standard API frameworks. A transformation is required to enable new ways of working and to develop new capabilities which address time-sensitive business challenges quickly and cost-effectively while striving for new revenue streams,” says Mats Karlsson, Head of Ericsson Business & Operations Support Systems.
CSPs will set themselves (profitably) apart through their ability to tame the deeply complex system that supports a premium 5G connectivity and harness it to achieve more efficient operations and better business outcomes as well as offer new and superior services and network capabilities to partners and customers.
Through this mastery of complexity, the CSP can transform its network into a future-ready platform to be used by partners and enterprises (via NaaS as noted above), one of the most promising new revenue stream opportunities supported by OSS / BSS.
Ensuring these services are robust, flexible, and responsive enough to handle demands raised by 5G now and in the years to come means eliminating manual processes and implementing automated, zero-touch processing workflows where possible. Automation (and the associated realignment of organizational and technical silos) reduces the risk of error, and speeds up processing, time to market for new features, and overall order fulfillment. In brief, automation truly is the only way possible to manage operations of this demanding nature and deliver superior service experiences.
Importantly, while it is easy to say succinctly, we must not underestimate the effort it takes to bring automation to life. A huge array of hardware, organizational, and software transformational components are needed and would draw from BSS, OSS, Industry-standard Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and frameworks, DevOps Tools and Methodologies, cloud computing, AI and ML technologies, and more.
So, while automation and a strong OSS / BSS estate is the way to meet the challenge of managing a 5G network (and beyond), achieving automation is itself a challenge.
We feel there is no better way to meet these challenges than as a community. The OSS/BSS Summit has been designed to bring together the key global CSPs pushing the industry forward to debate strategies, learn from each other and celebrate achievements and success.
Across the two days of the Summit in Madrid, we will have representatives from major global CSPs such as AT&T, Etisalat by e&, MTN, Singtel, Swisscom Telia Group, and, of course, Telefónica. The delegates will have a packed agenda, with discussions covering experiences and lessons in how to capture and monetize the new service opportunity; best practices in architecting the operational transformation; ideas on how we may deliver superior service experience; and overall how to best guide technology innovation.
Through sharing our journeys and obstacles at the Summit we are looking forward to becoming more prepared as a collective OSS/BSS ecosystem, ready to take telecoms forward to an automated, commercially successful future.
Click here to the registration page for the event for more details and to put your name down for this great opportunity to set the course in the OSS / BSS industry for the next year.
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