|Issue:||Europe I 2014|
|Topic:||Seven key BSS/OSS requirements for supporting enterprise BYOD|
|Title:||Director of Strategy|
|Organisation:||Netcracker Technology Corp.|
Ed Finegold is a Director in the Strategy team at NetCracker Technology. He works closely with Marketing and Corporate Communications to direct and shape content and market engagement. Ed has more than 17 years of telecom and cable industry experience. He has authored two books on OSS/BSS strategy and architecture and has been sought out for views and insights by industry publications and mainstream print and TV media outlets.
Edward J. Finegold graduated from the Hackley School University of Michigan.
BYOD is gaining momentum at the enterprise. While it brings many benefits, both enterprises and carriers must address the new requirements that BYOD imposes on OSS/BSS systems. Users must be considered at their work environment as well as at their personal space, with combined pricing plans, local and roaming. Devices may be purchased by instalments, separately from network usage. Billing arrangement, currency and regulation need to accommodate international mobility. Policy control must be applied, differentiating business from personal activities, and remote provisioning and ‘unprovisioning’ (including remote sensitive data wipe) must be facilitated.
The Large Enterprise segment represents massive revenue for mobile operators. This involves substantial stakes, because churn at an enterprise-level represents thousands of accounts gained or lost. BYOD (bring-your-own-device) is taking hold en masse, and large enterprises wish to realize its potential benefits. Therefore, mobile operators need to cater to the phenomenon. Operators will need to accommodate large enterprises’ mobility needs and contractual terms while providing value to employees for their personal usage. In turn, this will create specific BSS and OSS requirements to facilitate BYOD and support end users’ hybrid personal-business usage.
Nearly 30 percent of the global workforce is considered mobile, according to Forrester Research, and the global enterprise mobility market is projected to reach US$220 billion by 2018, according to Global Industry Analysts. The rise in enterprise globalization and the increase in workforce decentralization drive growth in this segment. With so much of the digital lifestyle flowing through personal mobile devices, the BYOD trend is beginning to expand. Put simply, people want one device of their choice and are moving away from the two-phone shuffle that separate work and personal devices creates.
This phenomenon may break down the barriers between personal and corporate products, rate plans, devices, discounts, promotions, and billing practices. Consider that a mobile operator may have to compete for an employee’s consumer business – which can include their entire family and all of its devices – but through the lens of the corporate account. Remember that large corporations typically contract with multiple mobile operators in any given market, so operators compete for their share of the enterprise’s user population. With BYOD in the picture, operators may have a chance to win employees and their families, but will have to do so competing both on enterprise pricing and customer experience, as well as consumer offers and value-adds.
BSS/OSS to facilitate BYOD
Given the inherent complexities of a user base that may become increasingly oriented around combined work and personal mobile usage, here are seven BSS/OSS requirements mobile operators may have to consider in order to accommodate – and compete successfully around – the BYOD trend.
1. Hybrid price plans
One revenue opportunity BYOD may offer is the chance to win a user’s enterprise business, personal consumer business, and their family’s business as well. Group sharing is becoming standard practice in the mobile space. Now, operators may face users who belong to a corporate group for work purposes, and a family or social group for personal purposes. The enterprise relationship represents a direct and potentially low cost channel to large consumer groups who are likely to be good customers – after all, they’re gainfully employed by the enterprise. From a BSS perspective, this means implementing the ability to create and assign hybrid price plans. They will have to be highly configurable on the enterprise side to adjust to one-off, negotiated corporate pricing, while bringing the most valuable consumer share offers – potentially adjusted by negotiated corporate discounts – on the personal side.
2. Financing the upgrade cycle
Given the gradual rise of no-contract plans in which customers pay per month for devices rather than obtaining them at a subsidized price, there may be a greater opportunity for operators to roll out financing models akin to those car manufacturers offer. Through the enterprise – which provides some risk mitigation – operators can offer to finance or lease devices and bring users into an ‘upgrade at will’ cycle. This provides great incentive for a customer to stick with one operator while offering recurring revenue to the operator via the finance model. It reduces the upfront cost of customer acquisitions that subsidies represent. It also provides benefits to enterprises because it alleviates their device acquisition costs as well. Shifting into this business model will require modifications to billing and cost accounting while introducing new requirements around sign up, upgrades, terminations, and payments to facilitate financing models’ nuances.
3. 720 degree customer view
The concept of a 360 degree customer view is often discussed as a requirement for proper and proactive customer experience management. In a sense, that becomes a 720 degree view considering the hybrid work-personal BYOD model. To support a BYOD customer properly and ensure an intelligent and high quality customer experience, the operator’s marketing, sales, care, and support channels will need a view of each customer that spans their work and personal services, experiences, usage, bills, and preferences. This view is not only required in the contact center, but across all interaction channels – online, mobile app, retail, and enterprise management portals.
4. Smarter billing and payment
As BYOD becomes more sophisticated, it will make for more complex billing. Usage collection, rating, charging, billing will need the ability to differentiate between work and personal usage. This is not only necessary to assign charges to the correct parties and to deduct, for example, data usage from the correct group share bucket, but also to drive usage analytics-driven offers and proactive notifications to the correct users in the appropriate context. On the payment side, BSS infrastructure will need to understand how to apply payments to the correct balances which can become particularly complex in cases like of partial payments, pro-rata, and credits and adjustments. Multi-currency issues can also emerge with regard to charging and mobile pay as corporate users travel to different parts of Europe – such as from Germany to Norway to the UK – where currencies remain distinct. Furthermore, as roaming rules change across Europe and Asia, it puts pressure on billing teams to keep up with the rules and – in some cases – roaming agreements built on a country-by-country and operator-by-operator basis.
5. Policy control to enforce corporate use policies
Policy control use cases for BYOD can range from the simple to the ridiculous. In a simple sense, there’s certain content a user just should not be able to stream or download via their mobile in a corporate setting. In a more complicated scenario, enterprises may not wish to allow proactive upsells of consumer services within a corporate – or client – setting. Or, consider that an enterprise may not want to allow a user to access corporate email or data from an operator’s WiFi hotspot in a public setting, such as a café, but do so without interfering with the user’s personal experiences. Furthermore, privacy rules come heavily into play across Europe for everything from sharing of personal data for marketing to healthcare and banking information. Compliance is required because lack of compliance represents a major risk. BYOD will drive more complex policy definitions that will have to be specific to each enterprise, will differ based on which country a user is working from, and must be relatively easy for a corporation to modify as their mobile use policies and regulatory rules evolve.
6. Remote device management
Managing a large device population is a consistent challenge for any enterprise; smart phones have made the challenge more difficult. BYOD adds further complications that make more precise remote device management a key feature operators may want to extend to enterprises. OS, app, and security upgrades ideally would be conducted en masse, on an automated basis, and at times that don’t disrupt the user’s work or personal experience. Push downloads of new features and apps, such a new corporate expense management app, may also be necessary. Certainly, if an employee is dismissed, they are likely to keep their device, but the enterprise will need the ability to wipe all data, apps, browsing history, VPN access, private numbers, etc. from the user’s phone without modifying or deleting their personal information. This becomes particularly complex for multi-national corporations because employees who start in one country with a particular operator can move almost seamlessly to other countries where they are served by a local operating unit, but are still ‘owned’ by the unit in their original country. This places greater emphasis for the operator on group-level coordination where an individual can be recognized without national divisions creating opacity.
7. Provisioning and fulfillment
BYOD is likely to generate a variety of more nuanced fulfillment scenarios, but consider a pure BYOD example. A new employee chooses to bring his existing smart phone into the corporate environment. That device and the user will need to be recognized as having joined the corporate group. That may trigger some or all of the requirements mentioned above, such as remote loading of apps, application of policies on the network side, and application of hybrid plans and corporate discounts in the billing system. This would require substantial intelligence to automate, but would be necessary in order to minimize the cost and complexity – for both the operator and the enterprise – of on-boarding new BYOD users.
BYOD is only in its earliest stages but is gaining adoption across an increasing number of corporations, according to IDC reports. It raises specific and sophisticated BSS/OSS use cases and potential requirements, for which operators may wish to begin planning as BYOD’s true scope and impact on enterprise-level customer relationships and competitive differentiators is ascertained. The new BSS/OSS requirements should not represent substantial overhauls of an operator’s IT infrastructure, if they have already or are in the process of transforming their operations to well integrated and highly configurable BSS/OSS solutions