The risk of doing nothing with your OSS

When facing a reputation problem, most organizations simply rebrand. This is the safe route: stick with what you know but tell the public you are innovating, hoping they won’t notice you’re doing nothing of the sort. But Avaya CEO Kevin Kennedy saw the deeper problem behind Avaya’s NPS score and knew radical change was necessary… Even though the transformation Avaya underwent was risky, Kennedy saw an even bigger risk in that unfortunate NPS score. If customers didn’t like Avaya’s services, it was a bigger risk to stick to the game plan than it was to roll the dice on some new approaches.”
Uri Neren
on HBR.

If there’s a statistic that’s taken telco by storm, it’s the NPS or Net Promoter Score (You can find some service provider NPS scores here BTW). NPS is a pseudo or indicator of an organisation’s ability to leverage word-of-mouth marketing, positively or negatively.

By measuring and tracking their NPS metric, companies are being transparent about how customers perceive them, taking the risk that the perception might not be great, but establishing a benchmark against which to seek improvement.

What do you think the outcome would be if OSS vendors / integrators took the risk of opening themselves up to NPS evaluation? Would the metric be highly positive, negative, or somewhere in between? If I were to judge the industry as a whole, I would give it a strong positive (the PAOSS domain name says it all), but I suspect the broader user community might judge OSS a little more harshly.

Now assuming that there are some OSS providers with negative results, is it a bigger risk to stick to the game plan than it is to roll the dice on some new approaches? I’d never thought of NPS through this risk lens before, so hat tip to Uri Neren for this insightful perspective.

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4 thoughts on “The risk of doing nothing with your OSS

  1. Very creative application of NPS. OSS vendors approaches to market and rigid thinking in incumbent telcos have together created a muddy operations environment. Frequently OSS thinking oscillates between what I call PDH mentality (great for its time but past its useful life) and MANO mentality (next best thing since sliced bread). My experience has been to focus on value vs cost, time to minimum viable results and grow from there. That approach will vary from client to client in the design and implementation.

  2. Hi Seshan,
    Thanks for these great insights.
    Personally, I see complexity as the root of (almost) all OSS evil. Complexity is thrust upon us by products (product variants), engineering (feature variants), etc, etc. And then we add our own complexity into the mix by showing off just how smart we are and how many things we can do (because we can! 🙂 ).

  3. So true Ryan – I think the emphasis on complexity flows from the wearing the lens of network engineering and traditional IT programming for too long. If I borrow the terms “last mile” and “first mile” they both refer to the same thing, i.e. the customer’s access into the provider’s network. The perspective however are polar opposites – with last mile being a network-centric view and first mile being a customer centric view. And so we have the complexity around products, engineering because of the network-centric view. Without a doubt the stability, performance and security of the network is vital; where I differ with traditional OSS approaches is the thinking that it is mutually exclusive to simplicity and customer value (the customer being the rest of the telco business who is forced to cope with the pedagogy of OSS.

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