What is driving BSS to the cloud?

By 2020, almost 15 percent of operators we surveyed said they expect to migrate all their BSS to the cloud, compared to 4 percent in 2016. And 44 percent believe that more than half of all BSS will be in the cloud by 2020. What’s driving them and, more importantly, how will they get there?

Although migrating BSS to the cloud has started slowly, TM Forum’s reserach earlier this year found it is gathering momentum. We surveyed 50 professionals from 49 unique CSPs. Our respondents included CIOs, CTOs, chief compliance officers, chief architects, vice presidents in transformation and IT architects.

For most operators, migrating BSS to the cloud is going to be an evolutionary process. It is not an all-or-nothing decision. They can start transitioning to cloud and adopting hybrid models by taking one of two approaches:
1. migrating specific functions or groups of functions into the cloud (for example, customer management); or
2. migrating BSS for specific products into the cloud.

This is what they said when we asked which functions they would be moving to the cloud in the next two to three years:


What the benefits are our respondents seeking to gain from this migration? The number one benefit, by a big margin is scaiablity, followed by consolidation, reduced OpEx, then savings from less CapEx more agility tied for fourth place.

These are all sensible and worth goals, yet our respondents ambitions for 2020 are surprising, given that it is not clear how they will overcome two of the biggest barriers to cloud BSS adoption –  latency for mission-critical functions and rules and regulations around data privacy.

To meet such ambitious targets, operators must adopt one or more of the following migration strategies:

  • implement an ambitious digital transformation program to migrate the BSS portfolio into its own
    private cloud;
  • introduce one or more cloud-based services for a specific demographic or comprising a specific product and, over a period of two to three years, flow a large proportion of the existing customer base into the new service offering;
  • deploy a new cloud-based overlay system that sits on top of legacy systems; or
  • slice the BSS suite horizontally (customer management, revenue management, product management and order management) and migrate all non-mission-critical functions into the cloud.

While we are aware of operators who have embarked on each of these strategies, we remain skeptical that the migration of BSS functions as a whole will meet the expectations or predictions of our respondents. The responses we hear most often from CSPs – with the exception of some Tier 1s that have clear visions and roadmaps – is in effect: “We believe that most of our BSS will end up in the cloud, but we’re not entirely sure how we will get there.”

The operators who aggressively migrate BSS to the cloud will be those with a bold vision of their future business, in terms of IT and network architectures, customer experience, and new services and lines of business.

The report, Cloud BSS: The migration begins, looks in more detail at the roadblocks and possible ways round them.


About The Author

Chief Analyst

Mark Newman is an analyst with 25 years of experience delivering insights on the future of the telecoms sector to senior level executives and audiences. Mark’s recent research has focussed on telecoms operator business models, digital transformation, service provider diversification, and the intersection between Internet and telecoms. He delivers analysis, presentations, strategy sessions and workshops to global audiences, helping them to plan for the changes that technology and disruptive new business models that will fundamentally transform their businesses. Mark was Chief Research Officer at Informa Telecoms & Media and Ovum before leaving to set up his own research firm, ConnectivityX, in 2016. He joined the TM Forum as Chief Analyst in February 2017.

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