Spend some time within the Telecoms Industry and you'll likely come across the terms Business Support System (BSS) and Operational Support System (OSS). You may however be confused as to what exactly each term encompasses, and where, if ever, these two systems interact or overlap.
What is BSS
To start with let's look at what operations a Business Support System would be expected to undertake within a telecommunications company. The term BSS typically covers the business and customer-facing components of an organisation's functionality. This can include;
Product Management – Handling the sale of products, deals or bundles to customers.
Customer Management – This will often encompass the support systems used by customer care agents to maintain and improve customer relationships.
Revenue Management – These systems focus on billing, taking payment and settling customer accounts across the network.
Order Management – These systems work to break down the specific requirements of an order, orchestrate how it will be fulfilled or flag and manage any ongoing issues.
All these systems work together under the umbrella term of a BSS to ensure the telecom can fulfil its customer-facing and business requirements.
What is an OSS
An Operational Support System (OSS) on the other hand describes the systems that operators use to manage their communication networks. The systems within an OSS include;
Network Inventory – These systems will manage the infrastructure from which their networks are built and operate on.
Service Provisioning – Preparing and equipping the network and the end users device from the initial connection to ensure it can operate correctly
Network Configuration – This will ensure the network is continually connected and operating with end users.
Fault Management – Detect, diagnose and correct any malfunctions that occur within the telecoms network.
What is the Difference
The difference between the BSS and OSS can be distinguished as the systems that maintain a telecom's network operations and the systems that maintain the business operations that rely on that network to generate revenue. While the OSS maintains network inventory, management and operations. A BSS will handle Orders, Customer Relationships and Billing management. The two systems will often work closely together, which is why you will often see them grouped together in terms like BSS/OSS, despite them being two separate entities.
Why are they Important?
For Telcos, a well-functioning BSS and OSS can have massive benefits. Firstly they are a key component in the revenue-generating side of the business. While an OSS can work to quickly onboard customers to a network and ensure they remain connected, a BBS can be deployed to ensure the correct billing is enacted whilst also building an understanding of the customer's needs and wants to allow telcos to generate extra revenue with carefully timed offers and promotions. Secondly, a comprehensive OSS and BSS work as an extra layer of security for the network. An OSS can detect outages in the network and ensure connectivity for customers is not lost and revenue depleted. A BSS on the other hand can be used to detect fraudulent behaviour from customers and quickly ensure minimal damage to both the network and the customer.
Effective BBS and OSS systems can also ensure that telecoms protect themselves from customer churn. Customer churn occurs when consumers leave a network for the services of a competitor. Customer churn is damaging not only to a network's immediate revenue streams but also to its long-term business goals. By having a BSS and OSS in place, however, networks can be confident that are offering the customer the best end-to-end customer experience. From the moment a customer takes out a deal from the network to the initial connection, to billing and renewing, at each stage the customer is ensured a smooth journey.
As telecoms look to build at scale, OSS and BSS systems become even more important. As each system is made up of a series of processes a good OSS or BSS will allow for some degree of automation. This means Telecom can expand rapidly without the need to deploy more staff or outlay more investment. These processes can also be mapped and optimised further with intelligent automation and leverage to provide additional revenue. For example, systems can trigger communications to consumers coming to the end of phone contracts with new offers based on their network usage in the past. To do this you need to leverage your customer data effectively, but luckily a BSS will help you do this.
Lifecycles ALLinOne BSS offers a comprehensive suite of modules to support wholesale and retail telecom providers with Product, Customer, Order and Revenue Management. Find out more here or speak to a member of the Lifecycle team.