The Secret Truth About OSS Innovation Limitations

It’s said that the best way to sell hardware is to have compelling software and the best way to sell network services is to have compelling information to share.

In the halcyon years for the telcos, they had both the network services and the singular mechanism for sharing compelling information. Voice / telephony was THE “compelling information sharing platform (CISP)”.

These days, compelling information is ultimately shared via network services (as data streams), but the CISP mechanisms / companies are far more diverse (eg voice & messaging like Skype, video like YouTube, social like Insta, publishing like Medium, conferencing like Zoom, business tools like hyperscaler platforms, etc, etc). The CISP is now a very long tail of platform / service offerings. The telcos lost the CISP dominance long ago.

In the halcyon years, customers joined the telcos not for their network services but for the CISP. This remains true today. Clients seek out the CISP providers and (generally) hope to get cheap/reliable network services merely as the delivery mechanism.

Our OSS/BSS (generally) only support the network services. If we do things right, we provide a competitive advantage for cheap/reliable delivery of network services. But are we too constrained in this thinking?

We’re currently creating a new report, “The Most Exciting OSS/BSS Innovations for 2022” (due for release in a couple of weeks, with more info to come). This process has stimulated thinking into what exactly is innovation in terms of OSS / BSS and what problems need to be solved. It’s not just limited to innovation in terms of cutting-edge products or exceptional talent. The report looks into innovation across:

  • DESIGN – usability, user interfaces
  • MARKETS – profit models, partnerships, structures, ecosystems, channels
  • TECHNIQUES – processes, delivery models, customer engagement
  • TECHNOLOGY – products, product performance, services, integrations

The challenge for telcos and OSS/BSS vendors alike is that we have the opportunity to think outside the box of providing platforms that support network services. How do we better tap into and/or better facilitate the CISPs? Do we simply target the big CISPs or do we target the entire long tail of vendors / products?

The OSS/BSS market is highly fragmented. There are 400+ vendors in our Blue Book OSS/BSS Vendor Directory. There’s a lot of overlapping functionality amongst this list. Lots of innovation exists, but usually only in incremental improvements.

I can’t help but think that the next big innovations in OSS/BSS/telco, the radical or exponential improvements. To start with thinking about solving problems for / with the broader ecosystem in which we operate. The partners. The adjacencies.

We’d love to hear your suggestions for innovations we must consider for our report:

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