We’ve all heard the stories about the communications services industry being ripe for disruption. In fact many over-the-top (OTT) players, like Skype and WhatsApp have already proven this fact for basic communications services, let alone the value-add applications that leverage CSP connectivity.
As much as the innovative technologies they’ve built, the OTT players have thrived via some really interesting business models to service gaps in the market. The oft-quoted examples here are platforms like Airbnb providing clients with access to accommodation without having the capital costs of building housing.
In thinking about the disruption of the CSP industry and how OSS can provide an innovative vehicle to meeting customer demands, the framework below builds upon the basic principles of supply and demand:
The objective of the diagram is to identify areas where innovative OSS models could be applied, taking a different line of thinking than just fulfillment / assurance / inventory:
- Supply – how can OSS influence supply factors such as:
- Identifying latent supply (eg un-used capacity) and how incremental revenues could be generated from it, such as building dynamic offers
- Unbundling supply by stripping multiple elements apart to supply smaller desirable components rather than all of the components of a cross-subsidised bundle. Or vice versa, taking smaller components and bundling them together to supply something new
- Changing the costs structures of supply, which could include virtualisation, automation and many of the other big buzz-words swirling around our industry
- Demand – how can OSS / BSS build upon demand factors such as:
- Identifying unmet demand, which could be in layer 1-3 connectivity services or more likely in application connectivity
- Unbundling demand to remove the un-needed (but cross-subsidising) components or bundling (think the three needs that Apple bundled into the iPhone in this brilliant launch – phone, email, Internet)
- Identifying demand inefficiencies, which includes enrichment of information and connectivity, to meet the ever-growing expectations of customers
- Marketplace / Platforms – how can OSS / BSS better facilitate trade between a CSP‘s subscribers, who are both producer / suppliers and consumers. CSPs traditionally provide data connectivity, but the OTT players tend to provide higher perceived value of trade-connectivity including:
- Bringing buyers and sellers together on a common platform
- Providing end-to-end trade support from product development, sales / marketing, trading transactions, escrow / billing / clearing-house; and then
- Analytics on gathered data to improve the whole cycle
- Supply chain – how can OSS / BSS help customers to efficiently bring the many pieces of a supply chain together. This is sometimes overlooked but can be one of the hardest parts of a business model to replicate (and therefore build a sustainable competitive advantage from). For OSS / BSS, it includes factors such as:
- As technologies get more complex, but more modular, partnerships and their corresponding interfaces become more important, playing into microservices strategies
- Identifying delivery inefficiencies, which include customer impediment factors such as ordering, delivery, activations. Many CSPs have significant challenges in this area, so efficiency opportunities abound
These are just a few of the ideas coming out of the framework above. Can the questions it poses help you to frame your next OSS innovation roadmap (ie taking it beyond just the typical tech roadmap)?Read the Passionate About OSS blog for more.