CSG’s COO and President of Revenue Management and Digital Monetization, Ken Kennedy, shares the importance of TM Forum’s Beyond Connectivity Board and his view on the key trends that shape the 5G market.
The industry we serve has shifted. It is no longer about providing a connection to a person or a thing. Today, the need is for connecting technologies. The focus is on leveraging the most relevant mix of technologies to deliver a desired outcome. This necessitates coordination across a multi-party ecosystem.
The ambition of the Beyond Connectivity Board is focused on enabling connectivity as a service, enabling automated partnering within ecosystems, and facilitating the rapid deployment of new services through software marketplaces.
What excites me most about these initiatives is the potential for communication service providers (CSPs) to deliver ground-breaking services and extract more value for the service they provide. Not only will CSPs win in this scenario, but so will partners, enterprises and consumers, who all rely on each other through this interconnected environment to succeed.
CSPs can generate the best possible return on their 5G network investment by reinventing how their services are created, delivered, and consumed. 5G is driving a revolution in the B2B and, by extension, the B2B2X market for CSPs and this is where the real revenue growth will happen for those who are ready. CSPs must pivot from pure connectivity providers to delivering targeted business outcomes for their customers. They can pivot by leveraging strategic partnerships in new and exciting ways.
But for many CSPs, the biggest challenge to their 5G success lies within their existing systems. These legacy systems cannot deliver the openness, flexibility, and scalability needed for 5G. Their often highly manual business processes simply can’t cope with the complexity needed to create multi-sided business models to leverage these new partnerships. To seize the 5G opportunity, CSPs need to evolve from the inside out and capitalize on future-ready, SaaS technologies that can meet their needs for today and drive success for tomorrow.
CSPs must partner with the domain experts, device manufacturers and solution providers that, when combined with connectivity, deliver compelling new services to their target market. Different industry verticals have different needs and will require industry-specific services that are tailored to match their desired business outcomes. Manufacturers require different services to hospitals, banks, and retailers, and CSPs cannot create new solutions for every type of industry on their own. They must collaborate and co-create with partners, and a critical part of their 5G success revolves around their ability to attract and maintain these valuable ecosystem partnerships.
Partnerships are not a new concept for CSPs; they have been adding value to their offerings by reselling 3rd party products and services for many years. The difference now is that 5G and its associated technologies enable CSPs to transcend traditional reseller-type agreements and build digital ecosystems based on co-creation, collaboration and even coopetition.
As with any new technology, first-mover advantage is critical. CSPs need the capabilities now to combine new exciting digital services with their connectivity assets to co-create truly differentiated offers targeting industries like agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation and retail. CSPs can leverage open, standardized digital architectures championed by the TM Forum to enhance the digital commerce journey for all ecosystem players, shortening the time to market and time to revenue for all services.
Key features like seamless integration with zero-touch onboarding, automated catalog ingestion, and comprehensive settlement features are all critical for the optimization of ecosystems now and into the future.
It is time now for CSPs to rethink their existing BSS architectures and look to invest in technology that can unleash their commercial creativity. Choosing the platform and partners that best suit their company culture and growth ambitions will help CSPs to lead the digital services market. Strategically choosing a BSS solution that can drive new customers, revenues, and market share for the future is therefore imperative.
This also means that CSPs need vendors who understand the complexity of the B2B and B2B2X markets. This is an area in which CSG continues to make significant investment. Building on our over 40 years’ experience in delivering impactful customer and revenue management solutions, we have recently launched CSG Encompass to manage the complexity of these dynamic multi-sided business models. By unifying complex commerce journeys of CSPs, partners and customers, Encompass makes delivering a 5G B2B2X ecosystem easier. The platform supports any offering across any network type for any customer while scaling to a limitless number of partners and services. It is an investment in CSG’s and our customer future – a cloud-based, modular platform built on the TM Forum standards for Open Digital Architecture (ODA) and open APIs.