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Digital Transformation Initiative for a Telco Customer

Telecom
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4.9
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Digital Transformation Initiative for a Telco Customer

About the Client

Andersen was approached by a B2B/B2C mid-sized Telecom company and mobile network operator. The company provides a set of services that are focused on mobile communications, Internet, and IPTV products. As of today, the company serves more than 10 million users in the European market.

Location:Austria
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Project overview

duration18 months
technologies
Digital transformation: IT and BSS audit
Java
React
Redux

Specialists

    • 3 Solutions Architects
    • 2 BA/SA specialists
    • 3 Web Front-end developers (HTML/JavaScript/CSS)
    • 3 Web Back-end developers (Java)
    • 1 DevOps engineer (AWS)
    • 2 QA engineers
    • 1 UI/UX designer
    • 1 Delivery Manager

Business challenges

The increased competition forced the Telecom company to rethink and redesign their commercial offerings to win clients. It then took more time, money, and resources to extend and maintain such product portfolios. Therefore, some of the customer's operations turned out to be inefficient as they were processed via outdated legacy systems by different vendors. As a result, the company decided to implement a digital BSS transformation project for their business support system and entrusted us to perform an audit of their entire IT architecture.

Among the business challenges faced by the customer, we identified the following:

Concept illustration

Project goals

The key request from the customer was to modernize their IT architecture so that they could optimize customer services, launch products faster, and reduce operating costs. Andersen's BSS telecom architecture specialists defined more specific goals as follows:

Decreasing costs:

  • Lowering license costs by choosing a single BSS vendor that would provide the best-matching end-to-end BSS solutions for Telecom;
  • Reducing operations costs by simplifying the solution, improving its stability, and decreasing its support team.

Agility:

  • System should have a single unified product catalog is integrated across multiple components, incl. billing, sales/support channels, and customer management;
  • System should follow clear architecture guidelines and expose a comprehensible set of APIs that allow to easily extend functionalities of the system;
  • Order management should support clear customization points that allow to modify the existing order flows, with little to no code changes needed.

Performance/Stability:

  • System should have a microservice-based architecture to simplify its horizontal scaling and improve its performance and scalability;
  • Order management should be stable and robust and support a proper retries / rollback logic to ensure the correct state of the customer whenever possible;
  • System should follow clear KPIs that consider the time needed for an E2E process completion (e.g. package activation within 5 seconds across systems).

Transparency:

  • System should expose its internal data via APIs and events and/or regular dumps to ensure its data is accessible via other components and DWH.

Market trends

The current state of the Telecom market is shaping the distinct demand for holistic, personalized, and fast services. Communication service providers cannot be bogged down by legacy BSS that are simply not designed to cater to an ever-increasing demand for new products and services, as well as incapable of supporting the new revenue and cost models emerging alongside 5G services. Thus, a BSS transformation project is the only viable solution to tackle the challenges of a fast-paced digital landscape.

Solution

Andersen's team of analysts and digital BSS architecture experts reviewed the existing IT architecture and suggested improvements.

After careful consideration and numerous discussions, we came to a conclusion that only a major BSS transformation project, with a complete swap of most of the existing BSS systems, would make it possible to achieve the goals set by the customer. Despite being an extremely complicated process, it would significantly improve the customer's Telecom business perspectives and decrease long-term operational costs.

Due to the customer team's lack of experience in major Telecom transformations, Andersen was asked to assist them in drafting the initial solution architecture, organizing a tender process to select the best matching primary BSS software provider, and supporting the general transformation process.

Tender preparation

The current market offers a broad range of BSS solutions for Telecom, with varying levels of maturity, extensibility, and price. Andersen's knowledge of existing Telecom products and the operator's current IT landscape became crucial when it came to organizing a tender, evaluating the participants, and shaping the ultimate solution.

Requirements matrix

To select an optimal BSS solution, a list of requirements for all affected components needed to be clearly formulated via a requirements matrix.

Andersen's BSS architecture specialists and analysts conducted multiple workshops with the customer's representatives in various departments — business, finance, marketing, etc. — to clearly describe the existing solution, identify which components required transformation, and draft requirements for the new ones.

Concept illustration

Business processes

Apart from the requirements matrix for specific components, it was essential to ensure the E2E implementation of the needed business processes because such processes usually affect multiple systems simultaneously. The tender preparation stage also included formalizing, describing, and drafting high-level architecture for the operator's processes in all domains, including client management, revenue assurance, dealer management, etc.

All this allowed the participating vendors to deep-dive into the required functionalities, so the operator's representatives could easily identify gaps in proposed solutions.

In order to understand the complexity of the described business processes, let's have a look at a sample diagram for the “Creation of a new B2C subscriber via eShop” use case.

Concept illustration

As you can see, this business process affected multiple BSS and OSS components:

  • eShop – as the primary channel for customer interaction;
  • Order management – orchestrates requests;
  • Physical inventory – a stock of SIM cards at the office location;
  • Logical inventory – changes the status of a SIM card and MSISDN from 'available' to 'in use';
  • Customer management – creates new clients and subscription entities;
  • Billing system – generates initial charges for new clients and subscription entities;
  • Real-time charging system – charges for prepaid calls;
  • Provisioning – sends information about new subscriptions to HLR and network components.

Preliminary architecture

All Telecom software components can be divided into three categories:

  • BSS – covers business and client-facing activities;
  • OSS – an intermediate layer that supports network components and binds them to BSS;
  • Network – a network layer that heavily relies on network hardware.