There was a time when BSS and OSS were virtually siloed platforms, with little integration and even less interest from either party in the other. Times have changed, and the increasingly complex mix of mobile products and services made possible by improved networks have fostered the convergence of both platforms. What’s happened?
Greater bandwidths, mobile services, and subscriber demands, that’s what. Ironically, the wider the bandwidth has grown, the narrower the differences between OSS and BSS wants and needs. In the dim mobile past of a relatively few years ago, the OSS team would operate in its own little world – maintaining the network, SMS services, voice mail platforms, and quality-of-service as networks rapidly evolved and both MVNOs and subscribers experienced glitches that occurred and were fixed along the way.
BSS teams were preoccupied with credit approvals, billing, payment options, PCI compliance and the myriad tasks and functions associated with revenue management. In many cases BSS functionality would even utilize databases separate from subscriber-facing operations, completely missing out on CRM opportunities that can arise when all subscriber data is available and visible across the entire MVNO infrastructure.
Then things began to open up. As networks evolved and matured, technical issues melted away and MVNOs were able to focus their attention on the subscriber experience and not so much on connectivity and service quality issues. 4G LTE really sped things up in a number of ways, including introducing standards of communication that were familiar to both BSS and OSS teams as elements of both began to interact more closely with the expansion and variety of services and subscriber interactions. New products were introduced that forged the bond even closer, such as:
- Personalized service capable of provisioning individual accounts with data, video streaming, and custom packages that could be purchased and added to accounts without penalizing the basic, underlying plan.
- Targeted offers based on growing volumes of subscriber information (Big Data) and real-time usage data.
- Over-the-top (OTT) partnerships with outside content and service providers interested in subsidies and access to mobile subscribers, requiring integrated BSS/OSS systems to provide, manage, and invoice those services.
All of this requires a robust Customer Experience Management (CEM) system that’s part of a seamless BSS/OSS platform, capable of providing both the OSS and BSS teams with end-to-end network and subscriber activity visibility. Real-time billing and revenue management are also critical for providing real-time usage control that’s an integral part for creating a satisfying subscriber experience.
Subscriber delight – the ultimate goal of any MVNO – occurs all along the BSS/OSS interface – where back office services and subscriber-facing operations merge to create a seamless, efficient, and positive subscriber experience that creates subscriber loyalty and MVNO success and profitability as a result.