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A Guest Blog from Cloud Age Solutions

Many service providers do a great job acquiring customers, but fail at delivering services on time, maintaining quality, and managing their wholesale costs.

This leads to customer satisfaction issues, customer churn and revenue loss.

To succeed, service providers need to perfect their network facing back office functions, as well as the customer-oriented aspects of their back office processes and systems. To illustrate my point, here are the characteristics of a well-performing network facing back office ecosystem. 

Quoting involves the processes to solicit pricing for network services, such as circuits, to connect end-customers to the service provider’s network. This type of quoting is a prerequisite to customer quoting and the two functions must be integrated. Real time quoting methods, such as APIs or automated contract quotes provide the following value to service providers:

  • Rapid generation of customer quotes, as the underlying real-time wholesale network quote data can be quickly integrated into the customer quote. From a sales team standpoint, this keeps them motivated and productive, selling and managing customers and not chasing wholesale carriers or waiting for information. From the end-customer’s standpoint, the quoting process is often their first real touchpoint with a service provider. Making it rapid and seamless gets your relationship off to a great start.
  • Automation enables quick analysis of quote data, leading to lower network services / process costs, and increased customer acquisition scalability.

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Provisioning / order management are the processes around network service selection, ordering and fulfillment of carrier (vendor) provided network services. This should include network inventory management, and electronic order tracking and notification, which provide the following benefits:

  • Shorter customer implementation cycles, resulting in happier customers and increased revenues.
  • Better asset utilization from performing effective inventory management.

Network service management that’s done well includes functions such as inventory management and fulfillment / disposition of network services, and provide the following benefits:

  • Reduced network services costs due to timely decommissioning of network services, maintenance of optimal quantities of services, and reconciliations to inventory.
  • Faster response times to trouble issues by leveraging accurate network inventories.

Cost management involves the analysis, validation and disputing of network services invoice data, as well as the monthly processing of this data through to payment. Perfecting this important competency requires access to electronic invoice data and system automation to validate and process this data, which provides the following benefits:

  • Reduced network services costs and improved margins.
  • Improved payables processing, lowering processing costs, late payment costs and a lower chance of service shut-off due to late payments.

Contract management involves the sourcing function and deals with ensuring network services are optimally contracted and monitored to meet compliance regulations. Performing this function well involves integration of inventory and contract information, which benefits service providers as follows:

  • Reduced network services costs due to timely renegotiation of carrier contracts and avoidance of contract compliance penalties.
  • Improved decision making driven by ready access to contract terms, etc.

Usage management involves managing the subscriber's use of network services such as voice, internal switch to carrier call detail recording (CDR) reconciliation, carrier CDR validation, call routing, usage mediation (billing) and CDR analytics. In order to perform usage analytics well, service providers need to employ automation and various big data / cloud technologies, which result in the following benefits:

  • Reduced network services costs through optimally routed voice traffic and by identifying / resolving vendor billing errors.
  • High quality user experiences from enhanced voice quality, improved network agility and carrier selection.

Offering the best unified communication service is not enough! A back-office infrastructure that includes these characteristics, will help service providers create scalable customer growth, derive maximum profitability and deliver a superior experience to their customers experience.

Get started today. For more information, visit http://cloudagesolutions.com

About the Author

Chris Lee is the founder and CEO of Cloud Age Solutions, a BroadSoft Solutions Partner that provides operational, business and network focused consulting and software solutions to cloud-based service providers. Gpxcloud, Cloud Age’s flagship SaaS platform, brings digital transformation to the cloud service provider back office by providing automation and management of circuit quoting, ordering, network inventory, network cost management, contract management, usage management and analytics.