Act now to save your customers from BYOD bills

Opinion

Act now to save your customers from BYOD bills

BYOD? That’s going to cost us. How much? I’ve no idea? Maybe the local systems integrator will know. You know, the one we sacked when we started buying direct

Let’s not be hypocrites about this. We all spend money with wild abandon when someone else is picking up the tab. It’s unfair to pick on MPs who fiddle expenses when everyone, from IT salesmen to journalists to BBC governors, is at it.

The great thing about the BYOD trend is that, if you’re lucky, you can get your company to pay for all your mobile excesses. Every stupid app you download in the pub or the train or your hotel room can be passed off as a business expense.

The mobile operators know this and as a result, comms service providers are paying much more attention to corporate customers now, since the average revenue per user (ARPU) of an enterprise customer has shot up to four times that of a residential subscriber.

In response, there’s desperate demand for spoilsports (like you, the trusted advisor) to come along and put a stop to all these BYOD excesses. Amdocs (which makes one of the spoilsport business system support platforms) says companies are begging them to create a system that can discriminate between personal and business use of the tablets and smartphones people are bringing to work.

It’s not easy though. “With enterprise customers, we’re talking about a whole complexity of different hierarchies – the type of services a sales team needs and an R&D team needs can differ immensely,” says Uri Gurevitz, director of product marketing, portfolio and solutions management at Amdocs.

The problem being that the business support systems (the BSS) for most telcos can’t cater for the rich diet of the modern corporate consumer. They are from a simpler world, when the service was one dimensional and billing involved measuring the length of call. Everything was in black and white. The colourful smorgasboard from which the modern consumer dines has left corporate managers completely flummoxed by choice menu options like premium quality video, games and other apps delivered by third party suppliers.

The traditional management packages, from BSS vendors like Ericsson weren’t made for this and they are under attack from new management vendors like Cycle 30, who have the luxury of being able to start anew; they are not forced to drag a legacy of old methods of dealing with ancient silos of information into the new era.

“The BSS business process and framework needs to change and it’s very difficult to do so,” says Jeth Harbinson, global sales director at Cycle 30. “Legacy systems today that were installed five to seven years ago lack the ability to make this change quickly. Change in legacy BSS systems takes months and this space should be thinking in weeks and days.”

The two primary challenges are always around building new interfaces and business processes. The process takes time, a resource pretty scarce among most mobile operators. So there remains a massive opportunity for the systems integrators and developers.

In order to stay relevant, service providers need to dramatically improve their charging and billing capabilities through open application programming interfaces, says Timo Ahomäki, CTO of Tecnotree. “Since they can no longer call the shots then CSPs must be open to partnerships,” says Ahomäki.

The next wave of the mass BYOD movement could be collective bill shock among enterprises, and there’ll be massive demand for someone to come and make sense of their comms bills.

So the BYOD count could be high for enterprises, and it’s resellers who will be making a killing.


Image credit: Thinkstock

This was first published in September 2013

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