THE Bottom Line
Linx has undertaken multiple Competitive Intelligence (CI) projects in the telecom transformation space, focussing on large scale IT and Network transformation projects. We have extensively interviewed key vendors who manage and conduct large-scale transformation projects, as well as CSPs who require and implement these projects within their core networks and organizational infrastructure.
For all of our projects, Linx relies on in-depth, double-blinded interviews with key executives at leading and niche players in the industry including vendors, service providers, customers and systems integrators / channel partners. Every study we complete is based on specific and detailed interview protocols established together with our clients that drive toward producing actionable intelligence.
What does our research show?
CSPs we have interviewed tell us that the Friendly User (FU) approach is less risky while more detrimental to costs, scope-change and timeline. The Greenfield approach is optimal for projects with rigid and clear end state expectations.
For example, our interviewee from CSP A, Head of IT PMO (India and South Asia), stated that largely, the FU/agile approach has allowed him to deliver products and outcomes within budgeted timeframes. The benefits of the FU approach include less negative impact on the end user experience, extensive beta testing, enough “checkpoints” to ensure that final product meets evolving business requirements. Further, CSPs we interviewed highlighted areas in which the FU approach is superior to the Greenfield approach, including in Change Management, Stakeholder Management, and Vendor Management. With BSS systems, however, where the sales system is closely integrated with the CRM which is then quite closely integrated with billing, having different technology solutions and introducing them at different times, contributes greatly to the cost of change, and time to roll out, representing higher risk for CSPs.
However, our interviewees cautioned that the agile/FU approach has led to frequent scope-changes down the line. Another CSP interviewee an Associate Director - BSS Transformation IT Delivery has seen issues arise when the scrum was delivered, and the internal customer then started changing requirements, citing that it was an agile process, requiring the delivery team to go through change requests to ensure that customer demands are met. According to this interviewee, the project manager is occasionally not able to handle this, and directly goes into multiple and long run scoping exercises. The first product is then rendered unstable because of the multiple subsequent changes to the product.
A “phased big bang” approach, where a more complete deployment is the end state, is more common in new network operations / LoBs.
For example, our interviewee from CSP C, Program Director - IT Transformation Program, stated that the FU approach is used in situations where independent new capabilities are being introduced into the legacy system, such as the addition of data analytics or master data management platforms. The “Big Bang” approach or a “Phased Big Bang” approach, on the other hand, is used by CSP C in all their other large-scale transformation projects – primarily because this approach reduces the risk of the long transition period for large scale transformation projects. In such cases, the FU approach, according to the interviewee, only complicates the business processes and its eco-systems by introducing a system that has been half deployed, that caters to just one set of product lines while the legacy product line still exists.
CSP requirements from Vendors is high
Our interviews with CSP executives shows that written proposal specifying the applications, screens, modules, features, functionalities, marketing collateral are a basic requirements of CSPs. CSPs also require vendors to provide specifications related to ease of the use, integration capabilities, ease of customization, ease of educating users. CSPs almost always require fully functional customized demos with screenshots and detailed references and case studies.
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