Having recently returned from Europe, I’m often struck by the low prices and tremendous selection of retail goods consumers enjoy in North America. This is partially attributed to the point-of-sale (POS) systems that are deeply integrated with product catalogues and order management.
Telecom’s a bit behind the retail industry in this regard. My colleague at ConceptWave, Dr. Ivan Chochlekov, wrote about this topic recently in Billing and OSS World (http://www.billingoss.com/309.html ). CRM and billing systems on the front end grew up independently of back-end service inventories. This means that, at many operators, the “product shelf” is an illusion – products offered actually take weeks between the selection “off the shelf” (the product catalog) and the time they are delivered to a customer.
Telecom has been trying to discover how to resolve this issue. Often, the product catalog (the “product shelf”) is blind to “product/service availability.” In my conversations with operators, there is a need for a better understanding of consumer’s choice of products and what the network can provide.