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Category Archives: Partner Management

How Industry Trends are Impacting Telecom Partnerships

Trends that are creating a shift

With democratizing access to technology, more and more people are embracing it and telecom is one of the industries which is most affected by this shift. More and more people will have mobile by 2020 and the amazing thing is the revenue of this user acquisition will be driven by data consumption as compared to voice/SMS or other traditional services which were the base of telecom offering till recent time.

Operators are sensing the shift happening in the user choices and trying to figure out ways to stay in the competition. Mobile broadband connection to increase from 55% of the total in 2016 to 73% by 2020. The number of smartphone users will reach 5.7 billion by 2020 which means more and more people will be using data as a telco service and be a part of the digital ecosystem. Mobile data is expected to grow at a CAGR of 47% till 2020.

If we see the driving factors behind this shift, OTT, content and other digital service providers have played a major role. See the below graph on how the composition of services has changed over time.

It’s not only the addition of new partners to the digital ecosystem, but the traditional wholesale is also evolving. Here are the new trends which we can see happening in wholesale.

Implications on Telcos due to digitalization

Telcos no more work in silos as they are disrupted by the new age service providers hence looking for new partners to offer competitive and exciting services to its consumers. The below chart shows the changes happening in the telecom industry. This is forcing telcos to search for innovative and unique economic models.

 

New Possibilities for Telcos

These trends have opened a lot of possibilities to explore additional business avenues and try new economic models. The telco revenue mix is also changing with the partner mix as we can see in the graph and it is impacting the way telcos operate and manage partnerships in a traditional format. Hence the partner lifecycle management is also becoming imperative for telcos to embrace the digital revolution. For example, there will be 25 billion connected things by 2025 with enterprise verticals as the main drivers. Blockchain in telco has so far been limited to roaming but experimentation could take this further, especially if eSIM came to smartphones.

Smartphone connection will increase to 79% of the total mobile connection bringing in new customers. Over a fifth of the world’s markets will have launched 5G by 2020, spending a combined $244 billion on networks in the process which will bring new capabilities for telcos.

How Telcos can Embrace Digitalization Successfully

The need of the hour is a unified solution which can cater to all the requirement of the ecosystem. The system should be able to provide visibility for everyone in the ecosystem to establish trust among the partners. Right from efficiently managing the partner onboarding, to partner settlements and dispute management, the system should be able to make the whole journey seamless for both traditional and digital service partners. The below image shows some of the capabilities of the system.

This unified solution will allow telcos to transition through the changing paradigm and add agility and scalability to the business to embrace any new technology and consumer behavioral shift.

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Choosing the Right Converged Partner Management Solution

What is a Converged Partner Management Solution?

Converged partner management is a unified solution which caters to the entire gamut of partner needs of a telecom operator. The platform addresses the needs of both traditional and digital partners by spreading across different domains and helps to handle the complex relationships between the suppliers and vendors of the telecom operator.

Why you need a Converged Partner Management Solution

Over the last decade, digitalization has transformed the communication service provider (CSP) landscape. It has created a need to achieve market differentiation in response to the evolving customer profiles and prevail over emerging challenges from disruptive services. Telco revenues from legacy voice and SMS are on the decline and there is high CAPEX associated with network innovation. Telcos can turn this around by evolving as Digital Service Providers (DSPs). But the biggest challenge in this transformation is to bring both traditional and new digital partners together to create an integrated industry specific solution. But the success rate of these partnerships and integrations is very low as it comes with multiple challenges. Inefficient partner onboarding process, tariff management for multiple plans, billing and invoice reconciliation while taking OPEX into consideration. Based on a research 70% of partnerships fail due to trust and clarity of business relationships. There is a need of sustainable partnerships which can create value for everyone in the ecosystem.

In this scenario, a converged partner management approach proves beneficial from both business and service perspectives. From the business perspective, a converged platform will help to visualize the partners’ business. It will consolidate partners into a single contractual binding and bundle the offerings, settlements, and payments across the entire domains. A converged partner management solution packs features that give CSPs freedom to experiment with NGN service offerings such as content management without having to worry about the scalability of its billing function. The solution enables telecom operators to have all their business partnerships in one single place and makes it easier to access information and make efficient business decisions. This is especially important as different partners insist different models in measuring the business impact and ROI.

How to Choose the Right Converged Partner Management Solution

Selecting a partner management solution to manage your partnerships efficiently is not an easy decision. The solution should complement the operations of the service provider and offers features and functionalities that remove operational errors and smoothen the partner management process.

Below are the key features you should look for in a Converged Partner Management Solution

Partner Self Onboarding: The partner onboarding platform can support self-boarding, manual onboarding and in some cases, a mix of both. The self-boarding platform will play a significant role in the digital era, giving the DSP the ability to perform most of the onboarding activities by automating the process like partner scoring on configurable KPIs and other partner details.

Partner Scoring- Pre-Onboarding & Post Onboarding: Partner scoring can assist an operator to take pre and post onboarding decisions based on business KPIs, and this can be combined with standard agreed contracts to make the complete process automated.

Defining the Partner Business: Defining the businesses of both traditional and digital partners is a complex process especially in the context of service offerings, revenue sharing and service agility. The business for traditional partners such as interconnect revolved around exchange of voice, SMS and usage of other services so the contract includes bilateral deals for settling the traffic and event rates. On the other hand, contract with digital partners like OTT players, content providers, VAS companies, MSOs, integrators, app developers, IoT and M2M service providers involves complex revenue sharing model as the settlement may be based on usage of resources, impressions/ clicks on the website, readings from metered equipment, among others. A converged partner management solution will help telcos to implement revenue sharing models that can be fixed, shared or a hybrid depending on the nature of the partner business.

End-to-End Billing and Settlement: Helps the business to define rules and apply them to the events acquired to generate the final revenue figure to both the DSP and the partner. The system achieves this through accurate rating and charging, real-time updates, and on-time bill and statement generation.

ETL (extract, transform, load) to Track and Process Events: The ETL tool is required to process different types of events from various sources and transform them to respective entities by extracting the relevant information. Considering the dynamic and open nature of the DSP ecosystem, the ETL tool should be flexible enough to handle the frequent onboarding of new partners and build mediation capability supporting ingestion and normalization of data from multiple partners in different formats.

Partner Communication and Self-Care: A converged platform should enable a consolidated communication portal to manage all the operational aspects of the business including contractual updates, bills, settlements, credit debit notes, trouble ticketing, and dispute management. The portal should also be integrated to the backend systems to orchestrate each operational aspect towards the respective system for action and resolution. Finally, it should feature open APIs that enable quick integration with third-party systems.

Visibility of Partner Business: Real-time visibility ensures transparency across the businesses. Through real-time analytics of reports, alerts and notifications, the converged platform can enhance the visibility and reporting across different channels.

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Are You Ready?

New age partnerships require transparency and trust between the partners to create a robust ecosystem. A Converged Telecom Partner Management solution will help telcos to manage these new age partnerships efficiently and enable them to drive new business models. This will also reduce the time to market for new offers and packages and allow telcos and partners to acquire new customers and add new revenue streams.

Are you ready for a converged partner management solution to succeed in the new age digital ecosystem?

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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.

[1] https://go.forrester.com/blogs/partner-relationship-management-prm-comes-of-age/

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