Remember when subscribers waited six weeks to get their repaired device back from the manufacturer? Or stood in line for a rep to recommend the latest device, even if it was clearly not a fit? Nowadays wireless subscribers expect an experience similar to Amazon’s with:
- Highly personalized experiences and recommendations that meet their budget, experience, preferences, history and more
- Superior customer service. Everything from excellent product tracking to continuous innovation about better ways to serve the customer. For example: same-day returns so customers can reorder faster
- An online site with an outstanding user experience (UX) including a host of user-friendly features and quick delivery options
But, many telecom companies can’t deliver on these digital expectations because their legacy, code-based BSS software isn’t equipped to integrate with new systems, nor can adapt to new requirements quickly. Often, large-scale digital conversions take much longer than expected and incur millions of dollars in cost overruns, with little to show for it.
Telecom companies are not alone in this struggle to digitize. A 2017 study of US-based senior executives indicated that “One in five say their company’s digital transformation is a waste of time.”
Another survey hit on the same theme, suggesting that despite 95% of respondents agreeing that the aim of digital transformation should be to offer end-users a truly unique experience, 90% of digital projects failed to meet expectations and only delivered incremental improvements.
While the surveys cite many reasons for the failure, two that comes to the forefront are lack of agility and struggles with integration.
Low-code: Increased agility
While low-code technology can’t solve legal and regulatory problems, it can address many parts of the agility challenge: It can help teams innovate fast, collaborate more effectively, integrate quickly, and make changes and updates in minutes, versus months.
That’s because, through the use of graphical interfaces instead of tradition procedural computer programming, low-code eliminates, or greatly minimizes, the need for custom code, which is one of the biggest costs in both time and labor in the software development lifecycle.
It also makes customization fairly easy, which is important because BSS applications – everything from debt collections management, order management, product catalog, etc. – require much customization.
BSS applications are deployed and expanded up to five times faster than traditional technology
Low-code developers use a visual modeling environment to conceptualize the BSS software application as well as customize and integrate it. Processes, workflows, and rules are all represented visually, using a graphical language. The model can be easily modified, just by moving around the graphical elements.
Just as importantly, developers can create entirely new functionality that was never scoped. All with configuration, only.
The upshot: low-code developers spend their time configuring BSS functions, instead of coding them. This enables far quicker software launches and an ability to make changes rapidly. Adopting brand new requirements or tweaking existing ones can often be done in hours.
At the same time, low-code keeps the digital transformation on track because large-scale, mission-critical applications launch on time and within budget. This reduces not only the financial risk to the business but enables operational continuity and competitiveness.
Integration is simpler too. Many low-code platforms include tools to integrate the software with older legacy systems as well as any potential new software. SOAP web services and Rest APIs can be plugged in, often without any hand coding. Moreover, it’s simple to update data sets, external data sources, data transfer destinations, as well as manage all data mapping and transformation.
Software can be validated or tested.
Unit testing tools validate the application’s integrity every time something is changed, and make sure it works as intended. If it doesn’t, the functionality is easily modified. Once ready, the application or solution (which uses multiple applications) can be pushed to another environment, including production. Cloud services, on-premises, or a combination of the two can run the application or solution.
Launch MVPs in weeks or months
By deploying low-code BSS software, telecom companies can build entirely new digital experiences and more easily experiment with new products or processes.
In just weeks or months, developers using low-code software can launch minimal viable products (MVPs) allowing marketers to test product or service viability, before rolling out large implementations. Real-time analytics can be integrated, too.
Plus, with low-code software, processes can be changed and optimized easily. For example, adding a new vendor product, service channel or medium often means adopting a new workflow (not changing custom code).
Plus, it’s simple to change interfaces and optimize for multiple platforms. So new services, like offering repairs via a mobile service, or creating concierge delivery services, are all doable, fast.
Benefits of low-code
The benefits of low-code software for BSS systems are many. But mostly, it lets the carrier innovate, optimize and expand their digital projects much faster than traditional software development.