By Ben Bannister, Product Marketing Director
Supporting requirements for fast time-to-market, lean operations and agile service provisioning is an essential need for network operators across most developing markets. Operators need to be able to squeeze the highest level of performance from their networks. This is crucial for their prosperity and many now see a combination of cloud delivery and managed services as a means to accomplishing this.
Facing paper-thin wholesale margins and intense competition, operators in the developing regions need to be able to implement new services quickly, to drive revenue and margin growth, but at a low CAPEX threshold. It is here that operators are increasingly seeing the business value a managed service proposition can bring, particularly when they consider the cost and complexity involved in supporting back-office processes for wholesale business management. Interconnect fraud protection, wholesale revenue assurance, interconnect billing and roaming traffic management can all benefit from cloud-based process management and cloud-based IT environments. Different aspects of wholesale and interconnection management are becoming increasingly acceptable for operators in emerging markets.
For example, by deploying interconnect billing and reconciliation systems in the cloud, operators benefit from optimum process efficiency, improved economies of scale and even substantially reduced revenue leakage, through error rate reduction among other things. While the benefits to the bottom line from a high-quality wholesale billing solution are clear, operators in emerging markets are concerned about the CAPEX needed to deploy this in-house, as well as the unacceptable associated project risk. The implementation of OSS is usually a lengthy and expensive affair, demanding time and resources. This goes against the instincts of many operators, who place a higher value on agility, to ensure that they cannot be outmanoeuvred by their competitors.
By opting for a cloud-based approach, operators benefit from rapid implementation, no CAPEX and cost of ownership directly associated with usage and revenue. The cloud approach also negates the need for software licensing or hardware procurement, while providing a solution that can quickly scale to meet demand and rapidly demonstrate a return on investment. Under these arrangements a managed service provider focuses on providing the system infrastructure and its back-end management. This eliminates the need to retain a pool of highly skilled employees to operate these systems and frees the operator’s in-house team to focus on securing the best commercial relationships with its partners. In fact cloud-based managed service options offer both flexibility and control through online user portals, near real-time reporting and web-based dashboards. This provides exactly the same or better levels of commercial control compared to an in-house solution.
Given all the advantages associated with cloud-based wholesale business process management, operators in emerging markets are increasingly asking several questions: Why manage multiple wholesale partner systems when the processes they support can be managed for you? Why maintain multiple, costly in-house systems when you can enjoy the economies of scale and expertise of a specialist managed service provider? Why wait to make the move to cloud-based, managed services?