In April 2020, the European Union (EU) decided to establish an EU recovery fund to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, agreeing on a €750 billion recovery package. One of the key focus areas for the initiative was "Connect."
“Connect” was aimed at accelerating the rollout of super-fast broadband services such as fiber and 5G networks. Europe has been playing catchup to other regions (namely North America and Asia) in delivering 5G, but 2021 has so far seen a rapid rollout of 5G across the region, with 1Q21 financials demonstrating early signs of an economic turnaround for global operators.
With global 5G rollout in full swing, CSPs are exploring ways to capitalize on their investments, namely by monetizing 5G-enabled use cases, across industry verticals such as supply chain, manufacturing, travel, and healthcare. But what are the key building blocks to help CSPs deliver new 5G services, for both consumers and enterprises?
The importance of reducing TTM and IT dependency on new services
CSPs need a next-generation catalog that can accelerate product innovation and reduce time to market for new services, ultimately to drive top-line growth. But today's catalog management principles will not scale to match the needs of CSPs, and legacy catalogs have become cumbersome and difficult to maintain, without a single source of truth to serve the commercial and network needs of the telcos. Current challenges will be exacerbated by adjacent digital services from partners as new applications emerge in line with global 5G rollout.
With a myriad of use cases and new business models yet to be defined or developed, CSPs need to build new products leveraging new service capabilities that can be easily defined and configured through a unified, business-driven product catalog, spanning BSS and OSS, including external third-party catalogs to create bundles and offer generic and vertical-ready solutions within a partner ecosystem.
It's also important to highlight that the competitive landscape for CSPs is diversifying with the influx of digitally native players into the market. With 5G acting as a catalyst for digital transformation and innovation, new revenue opportunities from non-telco players are being recognized and tapped into for 5G-enabled use cases.
The benefits of a unified, business-driven product catalog
To compete, CSPs need to consider a centralized catalog that can deliver a consistent view for all products, services, and resources across the business. This will be more critical than ever as CSPs are expected to adopt a more modern, open, and multivendor approach together with an ecosystem of partners to deliver beyond the traditional use cases in the 5G era:
- A key feature of a 5G-ready catalog is that it must be a collaboration platform that empowers business users to be part of the overall product creation process (from conception to retirement).
- The platform must also offer those next-generation services dynamically, leveraging a data-driven approach to recommend the right campaigns and promotions to rapidly respond to market demands and conditions.
- It must also automate the operational definition of associated network assets for legacy and virtualized networks and offer flexible deployment frameworks that incorporate agile methodologies and leverage a microservices-based architecture.
The value of a single source of truth for a consistent experience
CSPs must improve their agility when introducing new products and services to the market. Disparate legacy systems with scattered product data across multiple systems increase operational costs with data duplication and manual processes, ultimately hindering product innovation. To be successful, CSPs need to rapidly define and deploy new innovative services, with a 5G-ready catalog vital to reduce time to market as new waves of services are introduced in the 5G era.
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