There is a great surge of new services, applications and devices that communication service providers (CSPs) and telecom equipment vendors have to deal with today. Voice, data, video, Internet, content, gaming, location based services, enterprise integration and commerce are being rapidly bundled with a baffling number of heterogeneous devices in association with a growing number of independent partners. On one hand, these are exciting developments as they serve customer needs and open fresh revenue streams. While on the other, they present a threat to customer satisfaction levels and customer retention. This is because a complex product portfolio impacts order management and fulfilment in ways that CSPs are still trying to understand and optimize.
Why the Order-to-Activate Process looks different today
- Product lifecycles are getting shorter - Product and service upgrades (and new products) need to be delivered to customers with a higher frequency, placing tremendous stress on operations. In addition, customers want everything instantly, in real time.
- Increasing competition - Competition from other CSPs and non-traditional players offering mobile services is growing. With the availability of more options, the customer is in greater control and has begun to demand a higher level of service.
- Error prone order management systems - Customers don’t have the patience to wait while an error in the front end (typically at customer touch points) or at the back end (with service provisioning and configuration) is being corrected.
- Growing inventory costs - In an effort to ensure timely provisioning, inventories are getting bloated, leading to excessive costs. These must be reduced and optimized to ensure insulation from inventory obsolescence and inventory carrying costs.
- Regulatory pressure - CSPs are becoming increasingly vulnerable to reputation loss, penalties and legal costs as a consequence of not meeting customer service level agreements (SLA).
Several CSPs have attempted to address the challenges posed to their order-to-activate process. The outcomes have largely fallen short of expectation. This has made CXOs cautious as they want to do more with less and they want to do it faster.