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May 5th, 2020

The Shift to DSP: Keys to Digital Transformation for Wholesale Communications

Conversations about digital transformation for communications service providers (CSPs) have been growing increasingly urgent in recent years. And for the most part, internal strategic discussions have shifted from “Should we do this?” to “How can we do this?”

But we’ve reached a point where continuous strategic discussions that never lead to actionable digital transformation are putting your business at significant risk. That’s why the TM Forum found it “alarming that a third of our respondents say they have not even started a transformation program yet.” 

Don’t lose hope, though. Our own findings in the field have shown us how some major telcos are approaching digital transformation.

Two Key Goals for CSP Digital Transformation

The fact that a third of CSPs say they’re only just starting with digital transformation doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any progress. Rather, many more CSPs are starting down the path of CSP to DSP and getting stuck with slow progress and unsatisfactory early results, according to the biannual TM Forum Digital Transformation Tracker survey.

If getting started is an issue, goal setting can give you greater direction in your digital transformation strategy. The TM Forum survey confirms what many industry leaders already know—that the top priorities on the CSP-to-DSP journey are improving operational efficiency with agility and strengthening the customer experience.

At the same time, the primary barrier to digital transformation is the lack of a clear, aligned vision and strategic goals. Just because you know you want to increase operational efficiency and improve customer experiences doesn’t mean you know how to get there. That’s where the other primary barriers come into play. In addition to inflexible legacy IT technology, leading CSPs also struggle with cultural and organizational issues on the path to DSP.

It’s important not to treat this as an all-or-nothing task. One conclusion from the TM Forum survey says:

“Looking at a telecoms operator from the outside, it is all too easy to assume that it is a single entity with the right systems and processes in place to bring together different departments and functions. Unfortunately, this is not the reality for many. A transformation program should focus on these gaps in the organization—be they issues with regards to collection, cleaning, and reuse of data or the setting up of new tools and systems that meld together the ‘production’ part of the organization, i.e., the network and the business and finance functions.”

This is especially problematic for wholesale providers of carrier-to-carrier services. The lack of a common or consistent order orchestration approach and APIs for trading and fulfilling network or cloud access services (e.g., Carrier Ethernet, dedicated internet, broadband internet) leads to provisioning errors and service delays that hurt operational efficiency and weaken the customer experience.

Three Case Studies for Wholesale CSP to DSP

In our work with the world’s largest CSPs, we’ve found that end-to-end service fulfillment is an important point of digital transformation that can help achieve your overarching goals.

While each telco had different goals and objectives, our universal order management (UOM) platform for end-to-end service fulfillment has alleviated backend inefficiencies and created an easier path to digital transformation.

1. Major MSO/Cable Company

One major MSO wanted to expand its services for enterprise customers with locations that were outside of the MSO’s existing footprint. The IT organization was under pressure to integrate backend systems and streamline processes to support this objective.

However, the siloed legacy systems couldn’t easily be simplified. And the MSO struggled to streamline complex, manual ordering processes. They chose UOM because of Neustar’s 10+ years of experience with inter-carrier ordering. Also, it fit into the established workflows, while enabling the MSO to seamlessly order from any trading partner.

Before UOM, the six systems used for end-to-end service fulfillment created a complex quote-to-cash process. Reducing the steps in this process increased operational efficiency, while future-proofing the fulfillment processes with a solution that can support new standards and technologies as they emerge.

2. Mobile Carrier

With 5G networks creating opportunities for new revenue streams and driving the CSP to DSP evolution, it was important for this major mobile carrier to expand its 5G capabilities. That meant increasing backhaul capacity, from cell towers to the core network.

Because of competitive pressures, this mobile carrier couldn’t afford operational inefficiencies in its order processes. Its existing systems couldn’t take on the scope of a project including 50,000+ orders per year; but with UOM, it can seamlessly order from any trading partner.

Streamlining end-to-end service fulfillment enables the mobile carrier to make 5G a strategic priority without worrying about cumbersome provisioning processes for backhaul capacity. As a result, the carrier increases speed to market in the midst of fierce competition.

3. Major Telecom Carrier

One major telecom carrier is trying not only to maintain but also expand its positions in the enterprise and SMB market. However, customer expectations are increasing, while the slow process involved in going from quoting to order entry to provisioning is causing delays and increased operational costs.

This carrier is beginning to consider and implement new solutions to improve the quote-to-order process through smart automation. With smart automation, the carrier can gain access to better decisioning data at the start of the quote-to-order process. As the solution rolls out, the expected results are dramatic improvements in overall cycle time and reductions in both downstream order fallout and delays.

In each of these cases, carriers and operators are supporting digital transformation initiatives by revamping service fulfillment. Even though this is just one aspect of your business, treating digital transformation as focused projects rather than a massive, overwhelming undertaking gives you a better chance of unlocking operational efficiency and improved customer experiences.

If you want to learn more about UOM and how it can support your digital transformation needs, check out our solution data sheet.


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