Managed Services

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”
Anatole France.

In the past, CSPs had such significant barriers to entry and economic clout that they could price almost any smaller player out of the market. I’ve seen community buyer’s groups set up to break monopolies and generate beneficial cost models only to disintegrate after the big CSPs made loss-leading offers to the biggest users within the group. Monopoly maintained. Clever strategy by the CSPs.

In the past almost all innovation came from the major players, the CSPs or their equipment suppliers too. However, the revenue model of the past has been flipped on its head and start-up innovators can create their own niche based on innovation, flexibility and speed.

The demand for innovation is being driven from outside the CSPs as information-age organisations become more heavily reliant on their communications since their whole business models are built around these technologies (eg Facebook, eBay, etc).

CSPs are being forced to adapt to this change, particularly within managed service contracts where customers now expect more visibility and flexibility from their CSP.

Managed services are one of the areas where CSPs still hold sway because they are able to provide the diversity of voice, date, video, collaboration, etc and geographical coverage that the niche players can’t. As such, this is a very important revenue source to CSPs where their old cash-cows (eg voice, ISDN, etc) are drying up. CSPs are increasingly offering services that go beyond the old network termination demarcation point and into the customer’s LANs (Local Area Networks) and processes.

But with this comes a huge shift in mindset for the CSPs. Flexibility, customer-specific customisations, customer-led innovation, cost-benefit viability, network health transparency. Basically the CSP’s customer experience motto needs to shift from “you’ll take what we’re prepared to give you” to “we’re prepared to adapt to your specific business requirements.”

The biggest CSPs are now burdened with legacy OSS that have undergone many years of modifications but are often still underpinned by frameworks that don’t really support the new motto. The aircraft carrier analogy is one OSS strategy that allows the big CSPs to meet the needs of information-age enterprise customers.

What other techniques have you found to be successful to help CSPs make this transformation? How have your OSS helped lead CSPs along the path of transition to standing up managed services?

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