Telcos need agile IT systems

Telecoms companies are facing an increasingly complex and challenging operating environment.
 
To be able to retain market share effectively, network operators need to build an ecosystem of new services that includes music downloads, app stores and streamed movies to attract new users and create brand loyalty. However, to capitalize on, and manage, this new business model brings new IT demands to manage the content monetization and royalty obligations.
 
Network operators’ IT departments must be able to build new business applications and services quickly. Without this agility operators will find it difficult to take advantage of the opportunities to maximize new revenues from the growing and diversifying portfolio of services.
 
For some operators, one option may be to create new monetized services in collaboration with other OTT applications and content providers to produce paid-for services. Carriers may also choose to change pricing models as a way of capitalizing on new transactions. However both of these approaches put considerable demands on the IT function to quickly build and develop applications that are able to meet the changing requirements of the business, including the ability to manage complex payments, royalties and revenue shares.
 
All too often when looking to capitalize on new opportunities or expand their business portfolio, organizations build new applications in isolation from their existing and new systems as it is perceived to be faster. The problem with this approach is that these applications are then unable to communicate with each other, and the business can end up with a number of silos, making the implementation of business change with any degree of agility difficult. To avoid this problem, telecoms operators need to reassess their business IT infrastructure and find ways of linking and consolidating their existing IT systems to enable all data products and services to be quickly and efficiently mixed and matched (bundled), and then processed.
 
Streamlining processes can often be a challenge when working with a number of legacy systems. However, by unifying the whole IT infrastructure using an efficient enterprise application integration tool this challenge can be overcome. All applications and services are able to function as a complete system, leverage shared data and – ultimately – allow the operator to deliver an excellent customer experience.
 
 
A unified IT infrastructure will also bring the benefit of providing a holistic overview of the business. This can include clear insight into customers, products, services, profitability, transactions and finance, all tied together with data from the CRM system, the ERP and other business IT systems. This coordinated and in-depth insight can, in turn, lead to a better understanding of the business and customer needs and the easier creation of new offerings in the future.
 
As the pace of business change continues to accelerate and telecoms operators move into this relatively new domain of mobile content services and applications, they will need to have the ability to leverage smarter ways of implementing new software quickly whilst ensuring the overall integrity of their business and IT landscape. An agile and easily adaptable infrastructure will be essential to quickly and cost effectively fulfilling these requirements without building a maintenance and support nightmare for the future.
 
Martin Redington is senior vice president of Microgen 

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