The never-ending pressure on CSPs to expand and improve network coverage, transform operational and business support systems, provide improved security and continuously add features and applications for customers is starting to take its toll.
Add to this the pressure to reduce costs, often by reducing staff numbers, and the subsequent loss of core competencies, means that CSPs are more open to increased incidents of fraud and leakage.
Existing fraud and revenue assurance departments (soon Business Assurance Departments controlling/auditing, almost in real time, ALL the process within the CSPs) in most operators are being stretched to the limit as well, with some CSPs even looking at outsourcing this part of their operation to third parties as managed services.
This begs the question just how far operators will have to go to remain economically viable yet still provide the most rudimentary levels of audit and assurance capabilities.
This also comes a time when operators are looking at exposing their assets in order to provide services to third parties and over the top (OTT) players.
This alone should indicate the need for even greater internal measures to support service delivery.
A more holistic approach to ‘Assuring’ the “Entire” Business is now being demanded by management, stakeholders and potential customers.
It’s no use CSPs making claims that they do things better and more securely to attract customers if they can’t support the claims, or show that they have measures in place to guarantee them.
Increasing the demands for high-level service level agreements will push operators even further and they will have to demonstrate their capability to support these to prospective customers.
Failure to provide certainty of service delivery or the ability to support service level agreements will cost operators dearly.
It’s not simply a matter of introducing new tools or processes or even acquiring audit certification from one of the ‘big four’, it’s just as much about showing confidence to customers that the business is being managed capably.
The CSP’s choice of partners and products will play a big part in illustrating its business capability and confidence.
CSPs will become more demanding in their dealings with suppliers but also need to be sure that those same suppliers are viable and will remain so for the duration of any contract.
Business longevity can no longer be accepted at face value and the wrong choices will be costly, not only in monetary terms but also in market perception terms.
Transparency will be sought, even demanded, where business partners are concerned and the same transparency will need to be apparent to the CSP’s customers before they will make long term contractual commitments.
This is a fundamental change in the way corporations and consumers will see their CSP and the more things that are offered as a pure service, i.e. SaaS, IaaS, PaaS and their data is being stored on the cloud, the greater their concerns and demands will be.
There may emerge nimbler players, service agents that will buy wholesale services and package them for specific market sectors they know best.
Are today’s network operators and CSPs ready for this new world ?