The pyramid of OSS pain

The diagram below is a crass over-simplification of where the source of OSS pain (ie complexity) tends to originate from.
The pyramid of pain

If an organisation has complexity in the upper-most layer (ie products), then this is bound to flow downstream, amplifying along the way and culminating in increased complexity at support systems like OSS/BSS.

If there are many products, with many different variants of features, bundles, offers, incentives, credits, etc, then all of these need to be supported by front of house people (eg sales), who then need systems to record their processes and details in. The greater the number of processes and systems required to support them, the greater the likelihood of fall-outs, not to mention integration effort and data grooming.

I can understand that the products / marketing department (or equivalent) needs to justify their existence by creating the momentum of newness in the marketplace. That’s what drives the revenues that indirectly fund the OSS projects that we have the opportunity to work on.

However, I suspect there is little thought into whether creating a new product that is seen as being successful (eg generating an extra $1 of ARPU compared to other existing products), actually considers the downstream costs to the organisation.

Also, to follow on from yesterday’s blog about what to focus on when selecting a new OSS, I always try to build simplification efforts into the migration planning (eg subtraction projects). Start from the top and seek simplification at every level downstream, shrinking the shoulders of the pyramid of pain.

One final thought. There are many entry points into the pyramid of pain where you could start the pain reduction process:

  • It could be top down by reducing grandfathered or non productive services/products (see the Whale Curve)
  • It could be from the bottom, by identifying and categorising the user journeys that are resulting in customer contacts (eg contact centres, IVRs, live chat, email, etc). Customers don’t want to contact you, so their feedback will help identify areas where their journeys are broken
  • It could be from the middle by tracking fall-outs in the OSS/BSS, between front-of-house and back-of-house, etc, etc
  • It could be by tracking journeys through the entire stack… if our OSS/BSS were actually able to track all user journeys across all channels
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