Is commission management the key for next-gen OSS?

Relationships with the things we ‘consume’ (rather than ‘own’) are increasing, and are being governed by ongoing supply arrangements between customers and vendors. What sits at the heart of these relationships, from a financial perspective, is billing. The entity that has the billing relationship with the customer essentially ‘owns’ the customer – they have the right to communicate with the customer regularly, and this can form the basis of a far deeper customer relationship.”
David Werdiger
in his article “The Own-Lease-Rent-Subscribe Continuum“.

The snippet above is just a small part of a very interesting article about asset utilisation and ownership structures. The continuum that David speaks of is increasingly presenting opportunities towards the subscribe / consume end and breaking down barriers to entry for those with entrepreneurial spirit.

This has implications for our OSS from a number of angles. OSS are typically expensive to buy or build or run, as are the networks that they manage. As a result, in years past the only opportunities arising from these assets were for their owners, the communications service providers (CSPs).

The subscribe end of the continuum allows CSPs to share the capital risk with customers, which has traditionally been done via the selling of comms services. But with comms services commoditising, innovative subscription models become a more attractive way of sharing the risk. These include virtual network operators, off-payroll sales agents, managed service offerings and the like.

We’ve spoken previously about how APIs allow third-parties to uplift and upsell services offered by CSPs. From a similar, but slightly different perspective, efficient / effective commission management functionality within your OSS / BSS effectively extends and incentivises the sales arm of any business (whether internal or external). You don’t need as many (any?) salespeople on the payroll, but you are still selling… if you incentivise the commission management process and associated earnings.

Whether additional selling and consumption is supported via human interfaces such as portal / UI or via machine interfaces such as API / microservices, it’s ultimately the billing that allows ownership of the customer. CSPs still have a significant strength from their billing base and clever design of our OSS / BSS can help to leverage that further in the consumption economy.

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2 thoughts on “Is commission management the key for next-gen OSS?

  1. Very interesting idea indeed..but what would be the key enablers to facilitate this architecture?

  2. Great question Uday,
    There are many potential pieces of the puzzle. There’s the commercial agreement and billing/payments part. There’s the interface part (eg portal, API, etc) between CSP and commissioned agent. There’s the workflow enablement (eg fulfilment, assurance actions). Many pieces of the puzzle will probably be in place at big CSPs… but might require a mindset shift as a key enabler

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