One of the biggest challenges facing today's communications service providers (CSPs) is achieving market differentiation. Essentially, this means that they have to successfully navigate the transition from providing ‘dumb pipes' to creating and delivering high-margin services, like application-aware networking, Carrier Ethernet-based services and cloud. So how can CSPs ultimately get there?
The key to offering these types of services–and profiting from them–is operational excellence. Like TM Forum has suggested, operational excellence can be broken down into three main areas: cost reduction, which helps with the margin squeeze and enables some pricing flexibility; operational agility, which enables CSPs to rapidly respond to market changes; and efficiency improvement, which allows CSPs to do everything better and faster.
When looking at what works and what doesn't to establish operational excellence and support CSPs' business goals, standardization is essential. By breaking down heavily siloed and proprietary technologies and processes, CSPs can shift from customization to configuration and open interfaces that simplify integration–and ensure that their operations / IT run like well-oiled machines. And this success more than always comes down to a common OSS/BSS architecture that enables repeatable processes, which then drive automation, resulting in both tangible cost reductions as well as efficiency improvements.
Collaboration is also at the heart of an OSS/BSS framework that supports operational excellence. Enabling all CSP organizations (engineering, operations, product management, customer care, etc.)–and empowering each functional area–to make decisions based on the same information is critical. This can accelerate adoption, which can, in turn, lead to organizations not only doing things well, but doing the right things.
Operational excellence can be the difference between success or failure. With these components, CSPs are enabled to provide real value to their customers and effectively differentiate today.