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Advanced Order Management Brings Benefits to Customers and Service Providers

  • Posted by Anita Karvé
  • September 18, 2013 1:26 PM BST

Order Management Systems (OMS) do not usually receive a lot of accolades or attention, yet this particular back-end system is probably one of the most critical and complex within a service provider's network. Without a solid order management system, services do not get activated properly, and errors can get introduced into the product lifecycle. At the end, service providers may lose revenues and incur higher operational expenses.

However, the biggest impact order management systems can have is on the end customer. After all, if products and services are not activated accurately and in a timely manner, customer satisfaction will be directly impacted as a result.

In fact, OMS has always been a customer-focused function through its ability to deliver a reliable order fulfillment process. Today's order management systems are not well equipped to handle the customer-centric experience that has become extremely critical for the service providers from across the digital value chain. In order to achieve a truly customer-centric experience, OMS needs to be able to align business processes across organizational silos.

As communications services become more complex and involve multiple partners, OMS needs to keep up to ensure an excellent customer experience at all times. With over-the-top (OTT) players bringing new competition into the communications industry, customers continue to have many alternatives available to them. And they will naturally gravitate towards the choice with the best service and care.

Next-Generation Order Management

As service providers know all too well, a poorly executed order management system can lead to increased customer service calls and poor customer relationships. In order to remedy this and improve customer experience, providers need to look at their current OMS and then consider taking what they have to the next level.

One way to upgrade their OMS is to deploy a system that has a multi-channel approach. Traditionally, order management has consisted of a simple activation flow for a single service. As communications services have evolved, order management needs to take into account many more devices such as smartphones and tablets, offerings and content that are being bundled in various configurations for customers.

This next step could include being able to manage orders from across various customer touch points, such as the web and mobile web, a contact center, self-service kiosks,and mobile points of sale (POS). In addition, the next-generation order management systems should allow more self-service options, giving customers the chance to select and order services or change their current services. Self-service capabilities can help boost revenues through cross-selling and upselling in a way that customers have control over what they choose and when.

An advanced order management system should also be aligned with a single product catalog in order to quickly and efficiently deliver new services. This so-called catalog-driven approach is a critical feature as product catalogs grow by leaps and bounds and include vast amounts of services. Today's product catalog can easily contain thousands of items that are tailored to certain geographic regions or type of customers and may only be valid for a certain period of time. Typically, this product catalog information has resided in multiple systems within a service provider, but that is starting to change. Operators are realizing the benefits of a single, centralized product catalog that's integrated with an order management system and gives them a 360-degree view of everything they are offering.

A centralized, catalog-driven order management system can lead to fewer billing errors, quicker time to revenue and overall better customer satisfaction. That is because the system is in sync with the definitive source of information; rather than having to sync with various fragmented catalogs that contain inconsistent and out-of-date information.

Etiya has been working in the OSS/BSS space for almost 10 years with a sharp eye towards giving a full 360-degree view of the customer. The company's Telaura CRM Suite consists of a number of critical components, including a Sales and Order Management module that provides a simple, secure yet powerful order entry system for multiple complex telecom products. This module enables telcos to shorten their time-to-market, lower costs and improve profitability.

Taking Customer Orders

In the end, service providers need to always have the customer in mind when implementing or upgrading an order management system. A single repository of product catalog data, self-service options for customers and a more automated approach all add up to a better customer experience as well as an increased revenue stream, more accurate fulfillment, and lower costs for the service provider.

It costs a lot more money to bring in a new customer than to retain an existing one. Therefore making changes to an order management system can go a long way towards boosting overall customer experience and keeping customers coming back for more.