What OSS Forest?

Looking Up Into Trees

It may sound simple but sometimes when we’ve worked in an organization for a long time, we can miss the obvious. It’s a sentiment captured well in the saying “cannot see the forest for the trees”. How does this apply to a business? Well, the reason that we go into business is to make money. It’s pretty obvious, right? However, I’ve noticed that sometimes different departments can get so wrapped up in the day-to-day running of the business that the bigger picture can be missed.

Even if the day-to-day operations of a business runs smoothly, it doesn’t automatically mean that the company will be profitable. The key to success is to identify areas that will either generate or save money. For a service provider, this can mean many things.

Let’s address the main areas where you can generate new revenues and make cost savings, without forgetting the overall goal: to generate more profit.

Efficient Processes

Efficiency is important from a billing perspective. The quicker a service can be delivered, the sooner the subscriber can be charged. Activating the service quickly not only provides the ability to generate new revenues faster but it also saves on costs. This is because overly complex processes can be incredibly cumbersome, generate error scenarios, and be difficult to support and maintain.

Automating provisioning and service activation also improves operational efficiency. If you can reduce the complexity of managing and activating customer orders to a simple button click, then everyone’s life becomes a whole lot easier. Ordering becomes more transparent, less error-prone, and extremely efficient. There may still be manual steps within the process, such as a truck roll, but this can be automated to some extent within the process flow. For instance, the work order ticket may be automatically created and sent to the installer.

New revenues: More installs; faster time-to-market; bill customers more quickly

Cost savings: Simpler processes; fewer errors in the provisioning process; removal of the “swivel chair” environment; less time spent debugging

Configurability

Configurability is key to generating new profits. The rapid enhancements in various technologies means that service providers need to be able to create new packages and service offerings quickly. If your systems aren’t configurable, you risk falling behind the competition. For example, if a competitor offers a new product and you can’t follow suit, then you leave yourself open to losing subscribers.

A lack of configurability also makes it more expensive to introduce new products to market. If you need to go back to your vendor, then you’ll need to invest more money than you originally thought necessary.

New revenues: Attract new subscribers through new service offerings and promotions

Cost savings: Retain current subscribers; no need to re-engage with vendors to roll out new offerings

Standards

Applying relevant standards removes your dependency on any one vendor. Standards apply across a wide range of the IT and network processes and functions. For example, at a device or network level there are multiple standards such as SIP, PacketCable, WiFi, DOCSIS, and TR-069. These can apply across a wide range of technologies such as cable, fiber, DSL, WiFi, and satellite. The many vendors providing these services and technologies may use various API standards such as REST, SOAP, TL1, CORBA, etc.

One of the main sources of new revenue generation and cost savings comes from standardizing business processes. In my experience, while many service providers support similar technologies, the processes used to manage customer orders can vary greatly. Standards such as BPMN 2.0 are essential to allow both functional and technical users of a system to understand and agree on key business processes, ensuring increased visibility to track orders and reduce errors.

New revenues: More installs

Cost savings: Fewer errors in the provisioning process; greater transparency

Strong Security

Securing data and processes is a key area for revenue assurance. There are many mechanisms available to combat security but one loophole can spoil many layers of security. A great design will ensure there are many layers of security and if standard security processes are breached, then there are still processes in place to counteract attacks.

New revenues: More available bandwidth resulting in less congestion and higher quality of service to attract customers

Cost savings: Reduces outages and reactionary troubleshooting

Replacing Legacy Systems

Replacing legacy systems can be a major headache; however, the return on investment can be substantial. You’ve really got to ask yourself, “what do I want my legacy to be?”

The most successful business people are the ones with a plan. Don’t put yourself in the position where you’re left thinking “what if ..?” Technology has come a long way even in the last twenty years. Don’t let a decision from decades ago reduce your profits now.

New revenues: More installs; potentially reduced time-to-market

Cost savings: Fewer errors in the provisioning process; system transparency; less time spent debugging; improved workflow and efficiencies

Learn more about how you can increase profits and protect your existing revenue here.

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