The increasing complexity that service providers are grappling with is self-evident. With the new opportunities being opened up by technology, the business side of service provider companies are increasingly knocking on the door to explore the opportunities. As one vendor said during the Mobile World Congress, “we have never seen so many CMOs so excited by the possibilities that they now see opening up through their IT platforms.”
Maybe this is because the technology is better, or maybe because the vendor side of the industry is now talking the same language as their customers or perhaps, finally, they are talking to the right people.
Whatever the reason, the consensus is now that service providers are looking for new revenue streams – ones that they can invest in and implement, now.
What is interesting is that, while we were all a little vague about which way service providers were going when it came to implementing the platforms that support all this business urgency, the answer is not what you might expect.
A new survey, commissioned by Amdocs, says that service providers have increased their number of services vendors over the past five years – according to 75 percent of the respondents. Just over a quarter of respondents said that they had doubled the number of vendors over the period.
This is interesting. More and more we thought that the large, end-to-end suppliers were in poll position, offering a comprehensive range of ‘don’t worry about a thing,’ services.
When risk taking is a requirement in an environment which is naturally averse to taking risks, such a vendor strategy would seem sensible.
There are, of course, more and more domains that service providers need to become the trusted choice for – cloud, customer experience (supported by analytics), self service and all the while suffering from an increasing skills gap. Finding one partner to support all this, plus the new business opportunities of Direct Operator Billing, Machine-to-Machine and OTT services is a tall order.
The core IT domains remain the biggest buyer of services, with BSS being identified as driving the largest increase in services by 64 percent of respondents.
With this increase in the engagement of services vendors to support an increasingly complex environment, which would bring a traditional IT project pipeline to its knees, comes a new job title. Once or twice over the past two years we have heard the term Chief Services Officer, in environments where innovation is a business fundamental and yet margins are wafer thin.
In a world where partnerships are becoming the only sustainable way to survive, not only will there be an office that co-ordinates the eco-system of platforms that drive the modern service provider, but one vendor will increasingly take on the role of co-ordinating its own competitors.
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