The business-to-business market is providing communications service providers (CSPs) with the ability to capture new revenue by offering advanced bundles of connectivity, compute, hardware and applications.
By enabling SMBs, enterprises and government customers to more easily buy tailored products and services that meet their specific digitalization needs, CSPs can increase their value in the market while at the same time improving customer satisfaction.
In this context, Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) software – a well-established part of the sales process – emerges as a strategic enabler. In order to address the diverse technical and commercial challenges presented by B2B, CPQ must also evolve to provide a flexible and modern tool for growth. So, what does next-generation CPQ look like?
Before we look to the future, it’s important to remember that at is heart, CPQ must enable CSPs to accelerate revenue and meet customer requirements for flexible, customized solutions. With enterprise customers demanding more choice in the way in which they purchase ICT services, mixing subscriptions with on-demand models and using multiple channels to interact, these core CPQ capabilities are more critical than ever.
At the same time, the need for flexibility and agility, along with the demand for solutions integrating hardware, software, connectivity and computing, means CPQ software needs to be able to scale from handling simple transactions up to increasingly complex B2B orders alike.
Monetizing next-generation capabilities
This is especially true as CSPs look to grow their revenue by providing advanced connectivity services, mobile private networks, edge and cloud computing – all of which need to be seamlessly sold and delivered.
The increasing maturity of 5G in particular is enabling differentiated services for enterprises – and the ability to effectively monetize these capabilities is critical for B2B success. Network slicing and ultra reliable, low latency connectivity are paving the way for a whole new set of mission critical enterprise applications, increasing the value of the network as a business enabler and solidifying the position of CSPs in the enterprise.
5G – supported by other network and infrastructure advancements – is a game-changer for CSPs in the B2B segment. In order to provide the digitally-driven commerce experience customers expect, CSPs will need to manage the complexity that underlies delivery while allowing customers to focus on the value that can be derived from them.
Enabling the ecosystem
The massive diversity of use cases that will be adopted by business customers across a wide variety of vertical markets means CSPs will not be able to do everything on their own. This is where the ability to sell partner products with the same visibility and flexibility as their “native” connectivity offers will be key to meeting enterprise customer requirements. Here CPQ will be the key enabler: from configuring and validating bundles to managing pricing and other commercial terms, partner ecosystem enablement and monetization will become a critical capability.
When we look at the B2B market, much of the discussion comes down to how to offer products and services that meet the needs of customers working in specific vertical markets. But there is an important parallel for CSPs as well: you need to be sure that your CPQ software is designed to handle the unique characteristics and complexity of the telco industry, from product configuration through to fulfilment and delivery. If you want to sell tailored ICT products to customers, why would you use generic, cross-industry CPQ software to do it?
While the overarching goal of CPQ – enhancing sales efficiency – is common across industries, the way in which that is achieved will be very different from one sector to another. That’s why future CPQ platforms need to be industry-specific – not only to handle sales but also to integrate with product catalogs, order management, fulfilment, orchestration and billing systems. For CSPs specifically, this will help deliver the seamless commerce experience customers require, while maximizing their own profitability.
The Generative AI advantage
Taking all these considerations (and more) into account, a theme emerges – complexity. But as CPQ software advances, there is an important tool that can not only to address this, but also improve customer experience and drive new sales: generative AI.
Using generative AI to streamline the sales process, for example using natural language customer inputs to generate tailored configurations, helps improve time to sell and enables faster alignment with customer requirements. Generative AI-enhanced deal analysis, identifying the probability of acceptance and generating alternative scenarios which deliver different outcomes, can improve success rates. And the use of GenAI to aid order management and fulfilment integration and identify future roadblocks means customers can be sure they will get what they ordered, when they need it.
With proper integration into the core CPQ workflows, a generative AI copilot can be a valuable ally for sales agents, enabling them to get deals done more quickly, with unparalleled accuracy. This not only supports enterprise revenue growth for CSPs, but also transforms the customer experience, driving satisfaction among demanding enterprise buyers.
Changing with the times
While CPQ as a concept is far from new, the key to fully realizing its B2B value lies in its evolution. This means ensuring flexibility and agility in a complex and diverse world, using the latest technology to improve the experience for customers and sales agents alike.
At Amdocs, we’ve combined our unparalleled strengths in BSS, OSS and network software with our pioneering amAIz generative AI framework – underpinned by our experience supporting customer across the globe – to create a telco-focused, generative AI-infused CPQ solution – called Amdocs CPQ Pro. Equipped with this powerful tool, CSPs will be well-placed to fully capitalize on the B2B revenue opportunity.