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The Importance of Strategic Architecture Consulting for an Effective Commerce Ecosystem

With a wave of changes sweeping the telecommunications industry, CSPs are morphing as we speak. With further digitalisation and 5G technology looming on the horizon, the Concept-to-Market and Lead-to-Cash domains are witnessing a host of changes, predominantly in the following ways:

  • The diversity of product offerings is increasing, with the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G technology and digitalisation.
  • There is a varied sales cycle for different types of offers.
  • Digital channels are increasing, customer touch points continue to proliferate and an omni-channel experience is a must.
  • Multiple and virtualised services are possible on the same hardware.
  • Customer data analysis needs to take place in real-time and be used during the acquisition process; it should not be treated as a back-end reporting exercise.

However, the business and operational platforms of CSPs, built over years, have not taken an end-to-end approach across domains, but have been deployed in silos. This siloed approach prevents adaptability to evolving business needs. Sometimes, new product launches require extensive customisation to current workflows. A massive increase in number of service orders due to network virtualisation and 5G industry offerings requires razor-sharp service activation.

From a solution standpoint, there are certain architectural principles that CSPs must adhere to, in order to take advantage of the opportunities that these changes bring. The first pertains to product data management. Product data and rules should be centralised and controlled from a single hub, with various stakeholders, including partners, having access to this data. Because product data is centralised, this should enable the definition of generic selling and fulfilment processes, based on business scenarios. The logic for product-related actions should be driven from the central hub described earlier.

The customer acquisition process should be unified across product areas and reside in a centralised selling engine which provides quote persistence, with open-API exposure to various channels. Similarly, a centralised and single source of truth for the subscription is required. This will result in real-time subscription management, where the subscription will be the point of reference for all future customer orders.

To implement these architectural principles, the solution design needs to follow a specific methodology. What is Hansen’s methodology to realise a To-Be architecture that caters to industry trends and business drivers? It is a levelled solution approach to:

  • Define end-to-end business scenarios in the domains of Concept-to-Market and Lead-to-Cash, based on business functions to capture business drivers and define enterprise architecture principles based on certain best practices.
  • Map business functions to IT functions and derive logical processes to define the key entities with data ownership, application logic of every function and detail the interactions between each function.
  • Detail the processes into technical processes, thereby detailing the application, information and integration architecture.
  • This is done taking an end-to-end view of the Concept-to-Market and Lead-to-Cash domains and adhering to best practices and learning, where the solution is designed in a way that changes to products can be easily accommodated by the processes, without the need for massive customisation.

Adopting this methodology will result in better design processes and enable faster time-to-market due to a 360-degree product information model that will enable re-usability. The architecture will also eliminate the need for expensive Product data synchronisation. Other run-time benefits include enhancing the customer experience based on the contextual offer browsing and selection, providing an omni-channel experience. There will also be an improvement in operational efficiency from reduced fulfilment flows, resulting in lower application enhancement costs and subscription management built into the process as the single source of truth.