The telecoms revenue management market will be worth $15 billion by 2017, according to Peter Dykes, OSS/BSS Analyst with Informa. He made this prediction on day two of the Next Generation BSS Summit in London. 40 percent of operators surveyed recently by Informa will use the cloud for billing – and billing from the cloud will be worth $5 billion by 2017. Dykes also noted –unsurprisingly – that much of the impetus will come from online charging and business intelligence.
A panel session that followed these numbers put the cloud questions to the test amongst the operators present. Certainly there was a feeling that there are issues that linger about security, latency and privacy and the conclusion – albeit amongst established operators – is that the cloud is good, but they would only trust private cloud. The conclusion was that for smaller, agile entrants the public cloud was certainly an option, but that once operators become mature then they tend to migrate to a managed services or in-house model.
In other sessions, there were discussions and presentations about M2M, a market that has been around for decades, according to Machina Research’s Jim Morrish. M2M is turning pipes into capillaries and spreading connectivity through our world. At the moment, when it comes to M2M the application developer is king. Meanwhile operators are struggling to find a sustainable business model. Although the obvious strategy is to partner with experts in various verticals, the costs of maintaining connections is in danger of rocking the boat too far. As industries move to a connected model, mission critical connections need to be maintained, and players in those industries need to be sure that whoever owns those connections will still be around in five years’ time. In telecoms, that is not an easy prediction, even amongst the largest of operators.
Much ground was covered during the day and some of it will be covered in more depth over the coming days.
However, some insights are worth repeating. The SME market is still being largely ignored and yet is the largest opportunity for telcos. The key is to understand that in many there is no IT department and little IT knowledge, so providing simple options and proper advice is the way to address this market.
And we learnt, from KPN, that IT needs to migrate from single systems that support single products to generic systems that support a wider and wider range of products. This sounds easy, but is an on-going and highly complex task. We also heard, from Tecnotree this time, that IT is messy, always has been and always will be. The key to making sure that the customer is not affected by this is to disconnect the touch points from IT as much as possible. By doing this not only is the customer experience better but the costs – such as training – can be dramatically reduced.
An excellent conference.