Telcos avoid customized fulfillment processes

Recent Frost & Sullivan survey shows communications service providers find customization of OSS/BSS processes too expensive to justify.

SINGAPORE--Most global communications service providers (CSPs) are looking to stop customizing their operating and business support services (OSS/BSS) fulfillment processes, instead asking vendors to provide off-the-shelf products with modules that can be mixed and matched, said an analyst.

Susan McNeice, global program manager, OSS/BSS global competitive strategies at Frost & Sullivan division Stratecast, noted most CSPs have either adopted in-house development customization processes or are using best-of-breed commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products for their fulfillment strategies.

Referring to a recent Stratecast survey of 20 global CSPs, she noted most respondents said they hoped to move from the two fulfillment models to eventually adopt one comprising best-of-breed COTS common processes.

The respondents said they required the generalized product set to also be "highly adaptable" and more agile for the enterprise, said McNeice at a Frost & Sullivan event on OSS/BSS Friday.

She added that companies are finding customization an expensive undertaking to implement and maintain, making it difficult to justify. "Some respondents said they are paying too much for changes and flexibility...they want multiple functions that can be linked and integrated, instead."

And cost is an increasing concern. Stratecast predicts CSP spend on fulfillment systems to grow at a 16 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR), from US$1.5 million this year to US$2.6 million in 2011.

This figure includes spend on order management, provisioning and activation and inventory systems revenue, excluding network equipment, hardware or professional services revenue.

McNeice quoted several responses that she found humorous: "Anyone in my team who authorizes customization will be sacked.

"We don't want to be a software development house," she said, quoting another respondent, a large wireline CSP.

Those polled in the survey included some large CSPs with residential and business customers, as well as other smaller business-only CSPs with fewer customers but higher average revenue per customer.