Catalog-driven Fulfillment Gets Validation, Concept-to-Cash Gains a New Guise

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Catalog-driven Fulfillment Gets Validation, Concept-to-Cash Gains a New Guise

Comptel is encouraged to see that Sigma Systems’ recent acquisition of Tribold further validates our lead in terms of championing catalog-driven fulfillment for communications service providers (CSPs). Comptel initially introduced the catalog-driven fulfillment concept in 2010, and affirmed our market leader position through the Comptel Fulfillment platform release in 2012, which is now in active deployment with customers appreciating the real value of the catalog-driven approach.

At that time, many of our customers were questioning the difference between our catalog approach (technical abstraction and simplification for faster time-to-market through process repeatability) and that of the commercial catalog (product definition and linkage to the commercial process such as CPQ). This debate was further discussed in blog posts “Viewpoint – The Single or Dual Catalog Conundrum” and “More on the Catalog Conundrum.”

In catalog-driven fulfillment, the service catalog acts as the brains of the system. This means that service order management, provisioning and activation systems are able to not only retrieve product decompositions from the catalog, but also use that information when orchestrating and fulfilling orders. Additionally, in a well-architected solution, workflow components can be designed within order management, which can be published for discovery by the service catalog.

Comptel’s catalog-driven approach to service fulfillment works independently of workflow design, effectively decoupling product lifecycle management from the technical processes required to implement services. When technical product information is managed in Comptel Catalog, a customer has better visibility on deliverable products. Additionally, he/she will find it easier to define new products that can be delivered without complex and lengthy workflow creation and modifications.

It’s interesting that Sigma has chosen the concept of “Idea to Install” to explain the joint value of the aforementioned companies. Effectively, it’s another phrase invented to explain a traditional fulfillment northbound (BSS) and southbound (NEM) integration, accompanying phrases such as Order-to-Activate and Concept-to-Cash (which brings in the additional vector of revenue management).

There is trend forming among CSPs towards operational transformation, aimed at aligning systems closer to actual customer processes and the management of the customer experience (also known as the creation of the “Customer Company”). So is this north – south level of pre-integration relevant anymore when you consider the need for a more multi-dimensional integration approach towards Over-the-Top (OTT) providers and value-added applications? Only time will tell.

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Globally Evangelising #MWC13 – “Barcelona-in-a-Box”

Posted: May 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Mobile World Congress 2013 (MWC) in Barcelona had the highest attendance ever with 72,000 visitors. Every year, many of our customers do not have the opportunity to attend or meet us there, and to that end we created a customer workshop concept ‘Barcelona-in-a-Box’.  The idea is simple – if you couldn’t attend MWC, we bring it to you.

We built the workshop concept on three key industry topics which were discussed during MWC and continue to be on the agenda of almost every CSP.

To set the scene for the Barcelona-in-a-Box sessions, we shared our observations on the industry, based on extensive and in-depth discussions with major operators across the globe, insight we have gained from industry analysts and an independently commissioned report.

These observations addressed increasing smartphone penetration and how it’s driving up data usage, but not necessarily increasing revenues – largely due to pressure by OTT services such as WhatsApp, Skype, YouTube and Facebook (to name a few). Secondly, we discussed how bundled tariffs and packages are increasingly attractive to mobile subscribers, assisting CSPs with customer “lock-in” and positively driving up revenues. We highlighted the next evolution of the bundled approach through creation of fully shared data plans, as seen in the US market for example. Finally, as an observation we deliberated that while LTE rollouts are still in their early stages, the importance of attracting the right high-use customers to adopt the highly valued (and highly subsidised) handsets is key for accelerating ROI on those infrastructures.

To ensure that we have the correct data on consumer needs in place, we at each session discussed the locally relevant results of the consumer survey, Customers Yearn for the Personal Touch from Their Mobile Operators, we made at the end of 2012 with Vanson Bourne, an independent research firm. We polled 6,000 consumers from 12 countries across EMEA, Latin America and Asia Pacific on their service usage and spending habits, as well as their relationships and satisfaction with their mobile operators.

In addition to vivid discussion on the common challenges and local consumer needs, some of the sessions included live demonstrations that showcased the solutions that Comptel has developed to address the needs of its customer. We showed the benefits of the Comptel Event-Analysis-Action strategic framework with:

  • Robust and highly automated Comptel Fulfillment that supports service innovation and better customer interaction while reducing costs
  • ‘Plug ‘n’ Play’ Catalog-Driven product creation that allows building and adapting marketable products quickly from established service components, accelerating new revenues and allowing agile responses to market changes
  • Comptel Social Links, predictive analytics to improve and automate every-day decision-making at each customer touch point and serve customers based on their individual needs and techniques of finding the right customers for new products.

We have already taken Barcelona-in-a-Box across the Middle East, Europe and Asia receiving great acclaim for our initiative and its content, being quoted as having “a fresh approach” to actively engaging with our customers. The Comptel team has enjoyed the lively debates and sense of shared understanding of the industry state and prospects for the future. Based on the feedback, we have validated that Comptel is in-sync with CSPs and our solutions suitably address their needs. We are excited to see which topics are on top of the agenda for Barcelona in 2014!


Viewpoint – The Single or Dual Catalog Conundrum

Posted: September 27th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Advantages of a catalog-driven fulfillment philosophy

We’re regularly faced with our Service Provider customers and prospects questioning the inclusion of catalog within the Comptel Fulfillment stack – stating quite categorically that “they already have a product catalog” and why would they need another? So I just wanted to put a few words together to demonstrate the real advantages behind the service catalog approach.

More than ever, increasingly complex services depend upon efficient, fast and accurate time-to-market, but too often in many OSS and BSS implementations, product specifications are intrinsically linked to the workflow that implements the service. In the most extreme cases, the workflow itself is the specification of the service. This practice leads to an unmaintainable and inflexible architecture, because every time a change is required to a product, the workflow must be modified. The more changes that are made, the lengthier the workflow becomes, and the more unreadable, unmanageable and unviable it is as a practical architectural solution. Unfortunately, in many cases this tends to be the case for single catalog implementations.

In catalog-driven fulfillment, the service catalog acts as the brains of the system. This means that service order management, provisioning and activation systems are not only able to retrieve product decompositions from the catalog, but also use that information when orchestrating and fulfilling orders. Additionally, in a well architected solution, workflow components can be designed within order management which can be published for discovery by the service catalog.

Comptel’s catalog-driven approach to service fulfillment works independently of workflow design, effectively decoupling product lifecycle management from the technical processes required to implement services. When technical product information is managed in Comptel Catalog, a customer has better visibility on deliverable products. Additionally, they will find it easier to define new products that can be delivered without complex and lengthy workflow creation and modifications.

Therefore, specifying technical product information in a data definition, rather than in a workflow design delivers immediate efficiencies in terms of building, delivering, enhancing/customising and supporting a product. Taking a catalog-driven fulfillment approach will allow a CSP to:-

  • Launch products and services faster. Increasing the profitable lifespan of new services, accelerating product launch to meet market expectations for new service and quickening competitive alignment.
  • Reduce product launch and management costs. Enabling access to new low volume niche markets, protecting margins in the face of reduced profit on mass market services.
  • Enable greater innovation in product and service creation. Customer expectations for tailoring is growing, so maximising the ability to convert network potential into innovative marketable products, particularly products built together with partners, is key.

Compelling Cases: Comptel Fulfillment in Action

Posted: August 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Compelling Cases | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

As part of our “making data beautiful” initiative here at Comptel, we’d like to share real-life examples of how we’ve helped communications service providers (CSPs) put this idea into action. Today, we’re launching an ongoing series, “Compelling Cases: Comptel in Action,” that showcases the various successes of our work with CSPs through mini-case studies. These stories will illustrate real-life examples of Comptel’s solutions in action, starting off with today’s inaugural post on increasing productivity through streamlined service delivery.

Context
Realising the need to stimulate growth and accelerate revenue generation, a mobile service provider based in Southern Europe embarked on a task to achieve these goals. To do this, the service provider sought to more efficiently introduce new products and services to its customers and to better manage its assets. After considering several competing vendors, the CSP opted to deploy Comptel Fulfillment, which would enable it to achieve its goals of offering a broader portfolio of products and services and simplify its service creation process.

With Comptel Fulfillment, the CSP would be able to take a multi-dimensional approach to solving its challenge. Specifically, Comptel Provisioning and Activation fully automates the process of activating subscriber orders, Order Management for end-to-end control of customer purchases, and Comptel Catalog for breaking down a sellable product bundle into technical network capabilities.

Conversion
After beginning work with Comptel, the CSP was able to increase its process and IT efficiency, plus increase operational staff productivity by up to 10%. On top of this, a return on investment (ROI) is anticipated in just 18 months from the time of deployment. Ultimately, the CSP’s fully integrated approach to service order orchestration means they now have streamlined service delivery, improved asset management and a lower total-cost-of-ownership.

This and other third-party validated case studies are available at TechValidate-Comptel Solutions