Posts tagged ‘Support System’

OSS/BSS worldwide

Having been involved in the very early days of independent OSS and BSS companies—in the very distant past (nostalgia sounding background music) it is rather interesting to see the demands placed upon current OSS/BSS providers by their customers.
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Telcordia Gets HOT

Telcordia today announced that it had reached an agreement with Hydro One Telecom (HOT) to provide increased Operational Support Systems for the Canadian Broadband provider.
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OSS Key to Customer Service

Customer service in the telecom industry, in recent years, has fallen to an all time low. With companies providing poor service, some off-shoring all service and a few having no service at all it’s no wonder that the industry is reaching to find ways to draw customers back. We’ve always held that effective OSS and BSS can be customer retainers. Seem other folks think so also.

Customer Service leverages OSS & BSS

A site we follow has published an interesting read on the connection between systems and improving customer service. You can check it out at Telesperience. The article clearly covers the territory that relates underlying support systems to the customer experience.

Some more for the list

In addition to the areas mentioned in the article there are a few items that need some further consideration.

“OSS is operations, it’s not really relevant,” said one guy I spoke to recently when we were talking customer experience. I’ve had this same argument so many times recently I thought I’d write a little piece explaining why, if you’re serious about your customer experience, you just have to look long and hard at your OSS.

Teresa Cottam

The three areas we believe that carriers fall short of leveraging their value to customers is;

  1. Order Management—in many cases orders are not managed as a continuous flow. Updates are lacking, information is missing and the result is a missed commitment leading to a poor customer service experience. A small number of great OSS companies provide an overarching process flow for orders that telecoms should adopt.
  2. Service Representative Flexibility—In many cases service reps have access to your customer information ONLY while you are on the call. For us this routinely happens on service calls. This is patently stupid and leads to much wasted time for a customer. Is it that hard to allow a representative to take down the call information, complete the research, fix the problem and then call the customer back?
  3. Clear Display of Service Costs—In more than one instance, in the process of requesting service changes, we have discovered that the service rep, and our own information from the carrier’s web site, did not provide any clear delineation of service charges. In at least three times this year we requested a particular service, were provided with a service charge, and had the service activated. Later we found that the service charges were wrong, and in one instance the service conflicted with another on our plan. These were resolved after numerous hours on the phone (see item 2) above.

So what’s your opinion? Is customer service improved by good support systems?

Network Monitoring—Plug and Pay

A few friends and I were talking about network monitoring last week. We’d all lived through the pain and anguish of the evolution of the network monitoring process. We had nightmares of routers linking large corporate clients not being visible on monitored circuits and dreading the late night call “my circuit is down!”. From the early days of hand configuring routers, installing monitoring tools that did not interconnect, to cascading network failures. It was so much fun!
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Support Systems Multiplying like Rabbits

Having cut our teeth in both the world of OSS and Convergent Billing we understand your pain. All forms of support systems seem to proliferate faster than the speed of profit.

Dredging up the past

The old adage;

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

lives large in the mobile industry (among many others). It seems to us that they should have learned from the wireline world. You didn’t have to be too alert to understand the problems of multiple billing & support systems and the creaking infrastructure that it ultimately causes.
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OSS, BSS Musical Chairs

Alcatel-Lucent’s recent announcement of a major restructuring of its organization leaves us somewhat confused by what it is trying to accomplish. It has now 11 presidents! Maybe more, but that’s what we counted on the announcement. You can read bios here. Smells like matrix management to us.

Whither goes Support Systems?

A interesting note is that they’ve shuffled the Operations and Business Support Systems group from the Services Group into the Appplications Software group. We are quite interested in seeing how this plays out in the long term. Its been our observation, in the past, that the further an OSS or BSS product moves from the Services group the less likely it is to be successful in the market.

IMS Redux

In the telecom industry the difference between the hype of new technology and actual implementation of solution sets, that includes that technology, is anything but rational thinking. As a long time colleague of mine used to say, “between vision and reality there lives hallucination”.

IP-Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) started out as the brainchild of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), which incidentally is celebrating its tenth anniversary as a specifications body—a rather long time given the turbulent world of mobile telecom. IMS was part of its Release 5 specification, back in mid-2003, and further revised in Releases 6 & 7. While there is nothing wrong with the basic premise of IMS, there is a world of hard work in going from the concept to the reality of service delivery.

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Talk To Me

Intercarrier business information exchange for most of the history of telecommunications has involved mixed messages, delayed billing, dial routing, complex rate schedules and settlements generally involving copious amounts of alcohol. A trend we have been following for some time is the ‘neutral broker’ model for data interchange between Carriers.

One company, iXLink, a creation of Telarix, Inc. has been on the scene for just over a year. In July of this year they ground out their one-millionth transaction and have been generating a lot of press lately. It’s an interesting BSS model that has compelling economic opportunities (we think). The company claims that more than 150 carriers worldwide are now using iXLink. A remarkable feat given the short time they have been in business.

A couple of suggestions to iXLink; 1) Your website is impenetrable - could you give us OSS/BSS dweebs a bit more info? and 2) Ever think about a broader market of interaction? Huge numbers of smaller players need to talk to those 150 you have on board, but might like a pay-as-you-go model?

FCC Ensures Life For Complicated Intercarrier OSS’s

In a rather surprising move (and probably mostly political, as it is election day!) yesterday the head of the FCC struck, from the agenda of today’s meeting, an item relating to both intercarrier settlements and the Universal Service Fund (USF). The former allows for a labyrinth of charges to be levied between carriers for access to each others networks and for the carriage of traffic. The USF was the means by which the FCC created its $7B war chest to subsidize telecom services in poorly served areas.

The intercarrier market has always been a hot bed for support systems, and suppliers in this area were watching this FCC activity with some concern, as the FCC was proposing to dramatically simplify and streamline the charges (read lower rates). The deferral of this decision is seen a bit of a stay of execution as many of the OSS’s in this area are generally complex behemoths. An article by Joelle Tessler of AP details the situation.

Sorry my dance card is full…

Seems like with all the courting and consolidation in the OSS and BSS arena lately  it’s rare to see an OSS company ’stay home and wash their hair’. That’s just what UK billing provider, Intec Telecom Systems announced today. In the past it has been courted by many suitors including the likes of Oracle (back in 2006).

M&A activities drain the life out out of the participants and cause the board and company executives to be distracted from the main mission. Intec has been at the negotiation table a number of times in the past. However, with current economic realities, and the urgent need for businesses to focus on their core strengths, this decision should bode well for the future.