Transformation of OSS/BSS systems has become essential in order to enable the evolution of an operator into a new-age digital service provider, characterised by customer-centricity, and agility. Experts delve on the points to keep in mind and ensure a profitable transition.

EXPERTS-

Ashish Singhal, principal, CMT practice A.T. Kearney Middle East

Dr. Riad Hartani, partner, Xona Partners

Farid Faraidooni, chief operations officer, DU 

Atul Madan, senior VP and head of digital lifestyle solutions, Mahindra Comviva

Indranil Das, head of digital services, Ericsson Middle East and Africa

-----------------

CommsMEA: What kind of evolution have you witnessed in the realm of OSS/BSS? How do you see the market for the same shaping up in the region?

Ashish Singhal: Like most other regions, operators in the Middle East have also undergone OSS/BSS transformations with a special focus on CRM and Billing. In more recent years, the focus has been on analytics.

OSS/BSS market in the region has been quite active, with several multi-hundred million USD transformation programs underway. Operators are driving these programs primarily to enhance customer experience, and apart from the usual IT system integrators, and COTS product vendors, the network vendors have also been engaged.

Dr. Riad Hartani: OSS/BSS has been evolving to be less in-house developed, to using 3rd party solutions, using new software development models, and more interoperable than it has been in the past. This includes the use of NFV solutions and the evolution towards models where OSS/BSS is seen as an application development platform for telcos. The same is happening in the region, but relying way more on turnkey solution providers.

Farid Faraidooni: We are currently witnessing an evolution in supporting cloud applications, enterprise mobility and security solutions, adoption of rich and automated digital channels and network virtualisation. In the days ahead, the introduction of disruptive technologies and non-telco players are expected to grow. Another trend now is for vendors to get into multi-vendor approach to compete in the market and to be more attractive to operators from convenience and cost perspectives.

Indranil Das: Convergence of telecom and IT along with the introduction of new digital native players in the market created a different level of demand and push the evolution in OSS/BSS ecosystem. Some of these evolution aspects are including but not limited to extreme operational efficiency, real-time, configurability, re-usability, self-service, modular architecture, instant TTM, cloud readiness/virtualisation and finally artificial intelligence/analytics. What we see more and more these days is that the boundaries between OSS and BSS are melting and we are evolving into one unified digital framework covering both.

Globally, there is a shift in the architecture moving away from traditional solution stacks and monolithic giant blocks to smaller pieces of easily configurable, interchangeable and re-usable solution bits. The tendency is to develop smaller functional pieces and deploy them as they get ready (Dev-ops model).

Atul Madan: BSS now needs to support and manage a vast network of interconnected partners and the growth in digital. As the services provided by MVNOs continue to evolve, BSS/OSS technology is also evolving with it. Within the past couple of years, the focus has shifted away from infrastructure enhancement and integration to improving the business side of things. Today, BSS/OSS technology is being actively used by MVNOs to drive customer experience.