All posts by Rohan Rendalkar

Leveraging partnerships to succeed in the digital ecosystem

The Fourth Industrial Revolution has dynamically altered the global communications landscape, creating both challenges and opportunities for communication service providers (CSPs). Consumers have become increasingly demanding with respect to consistent experiences across multiple devices, and CSPs are gradually transforming into providers of advanced digital services such as bundled broadband, mobile apps, and interactive customer-centric content. This transformation into a digital service provider (DSP) is not easy and CSPs are fraught with multiple process and software challenges during this shift.

Moving from Interconnect Partnerships to Strategic Partner Management

In an intensely competitive market, CSPs face immense pressure from over the top (OTT) content providers such as Google and Facebook who have direct consumer outreach. Provision of more customized, automation enabled services through large partner ecosystems is the norm. The increasing complexity of emerging markets coupled with initiatives such as smart cities will open big digit growth opportunities capable of being handled only by huge curated partner collaborations.

Earlier, telecom operators entered into interconnect partnerships with other telecom operators mostly to leverage mutual networks for voice and messaging services. However, the proliferation of smartphones and high-speed internet services has led to a burgeoning increase in the number of partners providing a diverse range of services, leading to a shift from conventional interconnect systems to complex partner management relationships.

The Partner Management Market Is on an Upward Swing

And rightly so, considering there are about 23 vendors offering a certain level of partner management functionality globally. According to analysts, the partner relationship management market (including software and services) is estimated to stand at US$ 850 Million today and is projected to increase to about US$ 1.65 Billion by 2023[1]. The entire ecosystem is expected to undergo certain strategic functional shifts, industry and geography notwithstanding. The coming years will witness new buyer personas across diverse channel types – and channel sales and marketing professionals will realize the importance of third-party influencers in reaching new buyers. The thrust will be on providers of partner management solutions to function as trusted partners – helping widen a brand’s outreach and influence the success journey in unimaginable ways.

The need for Converged Partner Management

The telecommunications wholesale market is growing rapidly with fierce competition and dwindling profit margins. Given the enormity of transactions and immense complexities surrounding a multi-party ecosystem, it is necessary to adopt effective partner management solution to ensure better service quality levels.


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Converged Partner Management: Will It Address Telco’s Concerns?

Over the past decade, we have seen how the growth of IP-enabled networks has impacted Telco’s business models. The competition from Over-the-Top (OTT) players brought drastic decline in their traditional voice and message revenues. The discussions on improving Average Revenue per User (ARPU) for Telcos thus chiefly revolved around enabling new service models around Digital, but without compromising the overall budget. The transition of Telcos from traditional Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to Digital Service Providers (DSPs) thus became indispensable but at the same time challenging. One of the top challenges faced by DSPs during this transformation is to manage the diverse ecosystem of partners linked to their business.

Why Converged Partner Management is Important?

Considering the complex business environment a DSP operates in, partner management becomes crucial not only to simplify operations but also to optimize revenue streams. Legacy partner management systems have limitations especially due to their lack of flexibility and automation capabilities. By implementing a converged partner management strategy, Telcos can maximize profitability and minimize partner disputes. By integrating the service with ERP and other connected processes, they can also reduce the operational costs considerably.

Before going deep into the converged partner management solution, let’s explore the scenario in a DSP partner management landscape. The complexity in partner management starts right from “defining the partner business.” Here we have the traditional partners like wholesale and roaming providers whose contracts may revolve around setting bilateral deals for defining traffic and event details for voice, data, and SMS services. On the other hand, there are digital partners like OTT players, VAS/content providers, and IoT players whose contracts may revolve around other metrics such as clicks/impressions, downloads, meter readings, etc.

The wide variety in partner businesses also brings associated challenges in partner settlement, another major worry for DSPs. Each business entity requires different sets of rules, which need to be applied to the events to generate the final revenue reports. This is not easy considering the exhaustive DSP ecosystem comprising the traditional  interconnect, wholesale, and roaming providers  as well as the new digital partners for services like OTT, content, VAS, IoT, and M2M. Then, there is another set of entities like MSOs, integrators, dealers and resellers who require different types of contracts and settlement rules.

The dynamic and evolving DSP ecosystem also makes partner onboarding a tricky affair. There needs to be a system that can track frequent partners and in multiple formats, and build mediation capability across them in a seamless manner. Attaining real-time visibility across each platform is important for accurate rating and charging, without which the DSP ecosystem will not work smoothly.

The concerns over partner management prompted us to think about a converged partner management solution that could deliver an all-in-one package for DSPs. The innovation aimed at delivering real-time visibility into DSP’s end-to-end wholesale business and revenue sources. Our interaction with stakeholders in the telecom landscape helped us sort out the pain points quickly. With the insights gained from the industry, we have now come up with a new ROC Partner Management solution that addresses all aspects of partner management including partner onboarding, partner self-care, end-to-end revenue visibility, and communication under one umbrella.

As mentioned in the beginning, converged partner management strategy helps Telcos gain end-to-end visibility and drive cost optimization across its service channels. The scalable partner management architecture makes partner onboarding hassle-free. It also enhances the DSP’s service capabilities as it allows them to identify, test, and analyze different contracts before they are implemented.

To understand more about Subex ROC Partner Management offering, please download the whitepaper.

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