Operators in consumer mobile business are under enormous pressure –while revenues from services are falling, high costs deter operators from reaching under-served population in far-flung areas. Operators address this limitation through multiple channel partners. This adds significant scale and enables timely response for delivery.
However, the efficacy of such sales is dependent on an efficient Sales & Distribution (S&D) network. Supply chains have to be agile and responsive to react to new market dynamics, operational efficiencies of inventory and logistics management are critical to control costs and ensure adequate and timely supplies to the end-points of sale. Unlike CRM or Billing, S&D has many market-specific nuances. Solutions that address this should have flexibility to model these differences rather than imposing their own structure to which business has to adapt. This paper lays out the building blocks required to build a robust S&D solution that addresses the above issues.
Unlike other industries operating in mass-market consumer segment that have relied on IT systems for good effect, Telecommunications industry has lagged behind in adopting a standards-based technology in this space. Systems that catered to the traditional Sales & Distribution activities were originally limited by being too rigid in their capability to adapt to the differences in processes and functionalities arising from different markets1.
Is your integrated Dealer Network Strategy in Place?
Does your Channel Have Right Quantity to Sell at Time?
Is Your Channel Motivated to Sell?
Are You Able to Track Serialized Inventory
Typical Challenges in Sales & Distribution
In the classical era, with limited automation, operators had to struggle with the below challenges across all processes:
Sales: Includes primary and secondary sales only. It does not support push sales based on campaign or past sales trend.
Inventory: Telcos have to track each individual serial number within systems, with huge volumes of data required for serialized inventory.
Product & Price: In order to influence distribution channels, operator needs a flexible product and price model that allows different pricing, product eligibility for partners based on their tier level or their location.
Marketing & Miscellaneous: It is important to maintain brand presence, get consumer-buying behavior and seek regular market intelligence.
The solution comprises of major components – A Web based system, and a Mobile Application. It acts as a decision support system for operators and distributors, giving insights into channel sales, monitoring sales, check stock levels in the distribution chain, compliance and monitoring. It streamlines and automates workflow, thereby increasing productivity significantly.
S&D is a differentiating process for operators – this implies that most operators would have deviations from standard out-of-the-box processes provided. There is a strong need for a system that is flexible to accommodate these differences without too much customization.
Product & Price
Marketing & Others
Standard Process and Systems for Channel Partners – Single View of Operations
Holistic Inventory Management
Effective Sales Performance Management
Flexible Building Blocks
Success of any application depends on how flexible its fundamental building blocks are. Figure below shows the fundamental entities of the solution:
Transactions within S&D are essentially an inter-play of these base components and hence it is important to have a solution that brings in richness in modeling these entities as well as the flexibility to accommodate future changes. Further, every operator has a different flavor of usage of these entities.
Transactional Building Blocks
This section shows the key transactions that work upon the basic building blocks:
In the era of rapidly falling ARPUs, efficiency in S&D operations is critical to boost profitability. While distribution channels are critical to reach customers, these have to be agile and responsive to react to new market dynamics.
Operational efficiencies enhanced by IT systems are critical to control costs and ensure adequate and timely supplies to the end-points of sale.
Often systems tend to impose a standard process. This is limiting for an operator in the case of a differentiated process like S&D.
An architecture that allows processes to be realized through a composition of individual process blocks created as micro-services will be the way forward. This alone will provide the necessary differentiation to operators while bringing in benefits of system-driven supply chain operations.
1. June 5, 2015, CSP Thought Leadership | Point of View: Sales and Distribution in the Digital Era; Source: Wipro Internal Communication. http://www.wipro.com/documents/sales-and-distribution-in-the-digital-era.pdf