& cplSiteName &

BSS Is BS, Says KPN Tech Boss

Iain Morris
5/16/2017
50%
50%

NICE, France -- TM Forum Live -- The billion-dollar investments that operators have made in billing support systems (BSS) represent a colossal waste of funds, judging by comments from KPN's chief technology officer.

Eric Hoving says he cannot understand why there is any need for BSS in the modern age, and that the industry should not conflate operational support systems (OSS), which he calls the "central core system of an operator," with unnecessary BSS.

"We've spent zillions of dollars on BSS but who is in need of a bill?" said Hoving during a panel session at this week's TM Forum Live event in Nice. "No over-the-top company sends a bill and nobody ever uses the data of the billing system. Why do we have a billing system at all?"

The comments triggered a round of applause and peals of laughter during a morning panel discussion, despite the obvious implications for executives working in the BSS area.

Hoving expressed puzzlement at the use of the term OSS/BSS 2.0, which was included in the description of the panel on which he spoke, and said he could not understand why operators used the terms almost interchangeably. "OSS and BSS have nothing to do with each other," he said.

He reckons those systems were originally linked only because of billing needs associated with certain old-fashioned telephone services, implying that operators today could unravel the stitching and dump the BSS.

Hoving's assessment received a surprising degree of support from Ulf Ewaldsson, the head of digital services for Swedish vendor Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), which has prospered partly by selling OSS and BSS technologies to service providers worldwide.

"Like everyone we have legacy but we are now looking to the future," said Ewaldsson. "The table stakes have changed and it is now all about customer experience management."

Ericsson's OSS and BSS business last year suffered a big drop in sales that was blamed partly on the decline of legacy products, and Ericsson is now looking at potential takeovers to bolster its new-look digital services unit, Ewaldsson told Light Reading earlier this week. (See Ericsson Eyes Takeovers to Bolster Digital Services Unit.)

Acquisition targets could include companies developing more dynamic revenue management and customer management systems, said Ewaldsson, as well as players in the analytics and automation areas.


Want to know more about cloud services? Check out our dedicated cloud services content channel here on Light Reading.


Phil Jordan, the CIO of Spain's Telefónica , urged some caution on the topic of digital transformation, pointing out that "legacy technologies underpin a multi-billion-dollar industry," but similarly envisages a post-BSS future.

"We need to kill some of these old terms like OSS and BSS," he said. "I think we can get rid of the billing engine at some stage and charge in real time like digital companies."

But Hoving's attack on the current state of the industry was not limited to BSS, also targeting some of the other practices that are in widespread use.

"We ship SIMs to customers and then have to activate them but why? Who came up with that idea?" he mused. "Why can't we pre-activate SIMs? The philosophy is just wrong."

Another Hoving gripe is that the industry has been too focused on the consumer market in the past and that operators need to think more about B2B as well as B2B2C opportunities.

Jordan said operators to take steps to ensure they can address opportunities in the B2B area.

"There is not a magic wand -- we have a lot of legacy and have made the business complicated and now we need to re-engineer," he said. "Is it enough to create a winning proposition in digital consumer? Probably not. But we have still got huge value in B2B."

— Iain Morris, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profile, News Editor, Light Reading

(14)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/22/2017 | 9:49:43 AM
Re: BSS
Legacy businesses are a mixed bag of good (predictable revenue) and not so good (more often than not based on outdated stuff). It's really hard to blow up what works, even if the end result is marked improvement. It's pretty clear that older CSPs know their back-office systems are holding them back, but the cost and effort to replace them are scary.
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/18/2017 | 7:57:43 PM
Re: BSS
Old, established companies think in old, established ways, even after those ideas are long outmoded.
brooks7
50%
50%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/18/2017 | 7:19:02 PM
Re: BSS
Phill_britt,

And the challenge is that the automation is a completely solved problem and deployed on Massive Scale in places like Amazon, Facebook, and Google.  The problem is that this works in no way that a Carrier would work.  And that is the problem.  You can't build a virtualized network company this way.  But they already exist...and everybody is ignoring it.

seven

 
Phil_Britt
50%
50%
Phil_Britt,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/18/2017 | 7:11:11 PM
Re: BSS
brooks7, 

You are correct that all of these services under the same umbrella should be automated. The key word here is "should." Companies have been attempting to automate these for years, but are still trying to solve issues of how to achieve this.
SeniorMa17343
50%
50%
SeniorMa17343,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/18/2017 | 5:41:38 AM
Time for Telcos to do away with BSS
Read my point of view here - http://digicaas.com/blogs/post/Telcos-Dont-Need-BSS/
GypsumFantastic
50%
50%
GypsumFantastic,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/17/2017 | 12:50:48 PM
Re: "B" as in "Business" ??
You and a few others beat me to that obvious point :-)

Been in IT departments of UK telcos since 1996 and since then BSS has always meant Business Support Systems e.g. CRM and BI/MI/Data Warehouse are different functions from Billing and are often classed under BSS.

And ironically Billing systems themselves are one area where I've seen some exist in OSS instead of BSS e.g. wholesale rating. Mediation (my SME subject) is another 'beauty' where I've seen it classed under BSS, OSS, or as a Billing system...(my personal view is that the modern Mediation system spans them all and should be classed more like an integration platform).

Regarding doing away with invoice-based billing, the reality is that post event batch file based processing and invoice generation for billing isn't going away anytime soon. I'd happily bet it will still be around in 10 years. In many companies in the UK there are still billing records being generated by ancient TDM voice switches that are still creating revenue and those switches certainly won't be interfacing in 'real time' for billing. In fact I seem to recall as far back as 15 years ago those old TDM switches would all be gone within 5 years if you believed some commentators... :-D
Head,Com71314
100%
0%
Head,Com71314,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/17/2017 | 12:01:01 PM
BSS is passe
The dichotomy between BSS and OSS is artifical. Some components of present day BSS like Billing are fading away with OCS taking over . Enterprise catalogues and quoting engines and are more relevant than ever; Orders have to be managed, decomposed and executed. Front end systems are in the cloud on the SFDC model, Billing goes away, order management reaches further downward.. huge investments into BSS are a thing of the past. 
brooks7
0%
100%
brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/17/2017 | 10:28:06 AM
Re: BSS
 

I think what he was driving at is that the products sold under those umbrellas are problematic in the future.

Those past systems were inward facing towards operator personnel.  New systems want to have service selection by customers.  In a business setting having the ability to track tickets,manage services, and manage users through a portal is where we are headed.  Automation is intended to replace human action within the service provider.

Think about NFV (or any virtualized framework).  These need to automatically add themselves to all business flows, whether they are triggered by customer choice or by network imperative.  This includes Billing, Network Operations, and Customer Service.  That is very different than the way that tradition would have it.

So, at that level...yeah it all needs to get tossed.  All the existing frameworks are useless.  Many of the concepts and protocols can work.  But we need to start with an assumption that there are no service provider people involved and see how that impacts your view of OSS/BSS systems.

seven

 
James_B_Crawshaw
100%
0%
James_B_Crawshaw,
User Rank: Blogger
5/17/2017 | 6:33:32 AM
BSS
Operators can abandon most of their Business Support Systems if they become state owned utilities. For those that remain commercial entities I think BSS will remain a necessary evil. However there is clearly scope to simplify and improve BSS. Perhaps that is what Mr Hoving meant to say.
sarcher60555
100%
0%
sarcher60555,
User Rank: Lightning
5/16/2017 | 5:01:30 PM
Re: He's here all week
KPN's Hoving is right.  Just do away with Mobile Operator Billing.  Make it free like the OTT Players.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
From The Founder
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
BT's McRae Sheds Light on 4K Strategy

5|25|17   |   4:45   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's Big Communications Event 2017 in Austin, Texas, BT Group's Chief Network Architect Neil McRae talks about what it took for BT to broadcast live sports in 4K. Catch up with all our BCE coverage at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
From the Founder
How the NIA Aims to Advance NFV

5|25|17   |   08:07   |   (0) comments


Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
LRTV Custom TV
Better Solutions That Address Growing Scale

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


For Comcast, the X1 rollout and 17-fold increases in broadband speeds in the past 16 years are among factors driving the need for Energy 2020 solutions that reduce cost and consumption, says Mark Hess.
LRTV Custom TV
Ethernity Network Delivers Instant Offloading of Network Functions With All-Programmable Intelligent NIC

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


David Levi, CEO of Ethernity Networks, explains that programmability of the hardware makes the company's All-Programmable Intelligent NIC uniquely beneficial for communications service providers that need advanced data appliances with agile support of virtualization. Utilizing the company's patented network processing technology, Ethernity offers data path ...
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Vodafone Gets Obsessed With Cloud-Native

5|25|17   |     |   (0) comments


Vodafone's Matt Beal updates us on Project Ocean and explains why simple virtualization isn't enough of a goal for network transformation. Catch up with other BCE 2017 keynotes and news at http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE 2017: Intel's Take on Network Transformation

5|24|17   |     |   (0) comments


In this BCE 2017 keynote, Lynn Comp discusses Intel's vision for areas such as analytics, automation and service assurance. For more videos and BCE coverage, see http://www.lightreading.com/bce.asp.
LRTV Documentaries
Order From Chaos: The Steve Saunders BCE Keynote

5|24|17   |   17:27   |   (0) comments


Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability testing.
Think of this as the video sequel to the recent columns he's written about NFV and the prospect of a telecom app store. (See

LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
LRTV Documentaries
Agent of Change: A Q&A With AT&T's John Donovan

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson talks with the man leading AT&T's transformation efforts about the challenge of change.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE Service Provider Panel: The New Business Realities

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


For virtualization to happen, the telecom industry first has to grapple with key functional aspects of SDN and NFV that need to be universal, such as onboarding of virtualized network functions and federation of software-defined networks.
LRTV Interviews
BCE Service Provider Keynote: CenturyLink

5|16|17   |   22:32   |   (0) comments


Aamir Hussain leads the Product Development and Technology organization at CenturyLink, which includes the company's information technology function. He is an experienced senior technology executive with more than 25 years of proven success in the implementation of global technology operations, operationalization of complex technology, infrastructures and business ...
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Cities Clamor for More Clout at FCC
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/23/2017
What's Blocking 4K TV Today
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 5/22/2017
Sonus & Genband Finally Combine to Form $745M Company
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/23/2017
Fright Wigs & Cocktails: BCE 2017 in Pics
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/19/2017
Apple Looking to Cook 5G Test Devices
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.