Blog Digital Transformation

Europe’s Largest Telco Operators Learn How Diversity, Adaptability, and Automation Are About to Change Billing Forever

Brendan O'Brien

29 June 2022

Since 1991, ETIS has been gathering Europe’s largest telecommunications providers in a forum where knowledge is shared, best practices are learned, problems begin to be solved, and operators can better position themselves for continued success in their respective regions.

This is a critical time for the telco industry. Operators continue to digitally transform their business models seeking to monetize 5G and fiber opportunities and deepen relationships with customers by delivering new subscription-based product and service offerings. At the same time, they are eager to decrease their reliance on commoditized services like data, voice, and messaging, which have long been their primary sources of revenue.

Transformative operators have quickly come to realize their existing BSS systems, intractable systems designed solely to support old-school telco business models, do not have the flexibility or capabilities to support the new service offerings they crave. With this recognition, Aria was invited to join ETIS and participate in the organization’s most recent Community Gathering, held in Rome in early June.

Speaking to business and IT executives representing telecommunications operations from 19 European countries, Aria Chief Innovation Officer Brendan O’Brien identified the three core characteristics that transforming operators must embrace in their billing practices for success: Diversity, Adaptability, and Automation.

Operators are highly motivated to diversify their service offerings and deliver more than just connectivity and rigid, network-centric data products. Following billions of dollars of investment in 5G, the proliferation of open APIs, and more, the opportunity to incorporate any number of services, from home automation to automotive and media services, now exists. These new service offerings will drive technical changes within their businesses. As they do, billing and monetization practices will need to evolve and become far more multi-industry in nature.

New and diverse services and software-defined networks (SDN) that are adaptable for market segments, applications, and partners will certainly lead to increased billing complexity, requiring operators to embrace new levels of monetization adaptability. B2B2X, wholesale network-as-a-service, and enterprise partnership business models mean new partners, new commercial structures, and the requirement to adopt a vertical market-centric sales approach. Customers on both the B2B and B2C sides will want personalized services, dynamic pricing approaches, and, ultimately, a monetization experience that develops trust and growth.

As subscribers begin buying more stuff and adding on new services along the way, the historical nature of telco billing will forever be changed. Customers will want to pay for new services as they procure them and not just at the end of the month when the possibility of bill shock – still an ongoing challenge for carriers – exponentially increases. Simply put, billing in telco can no longer be a linear process. Automation will be required, along with a monetization system that can scale in real time, to power ongoing customer interactions.

Europe’s largest telco operators are in different phases and stages of their respective digital transformations. Many have already embraced true cloud systems for CRM – so why not billing?

Aria’s presentation intended to provide all with an understanding as to how a multi-industry-oriented view of monetization combined with the power of a true public cloud SaaS billing and monetization system can drive digital transformation success. No matter the prowess of a carrier’s legacy BSS systems, the ability to generate new revenue streams and move away from static connectivity services will be dependent on the presence of a modern, modular, flexible billing system.

Aria will continue to engage with the ETIS community on an ongoing basis and cultivate new relationships with European telco operators as a contributor to both the Smart Charging and Payments and Digital Telco Strategy working groups.

Brendan O'Brien

Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder at Aria Systems. Brendan leads the product direction and drives the launch of new products. He introduced the world to cloud billing, and innovated database-driven, enterprise-grade web applications – before the concept of “cloud” was even on the horizon. Brendan is at the forefront of the recurring revenue revolution that is empowering enterprises — and specifically enabling information systems and new business models to secure predictive revenue streams while improving business processes.

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