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September 12, 2017

Calling all telcos: Monetize the power of digital using B2B2X model

Author: Vishvajeet Saraf, Principal Technology Architect, Enteprise Architecture

Nowadays, every enterprise is adopting digital initiatives to better serve their customers - and differentiation is the key. Typically, most enterprises collaborate with communication service providers or telecom companies to provide access and mobile solutions to their employees. Now, healthcare, retail, government, insurance, energy, and transport industries are looking for trusted partners who can help them create industry-specific and unique propositions that delight customers through innovative digital services. Think about the emerging use cases of partnering with telcos for smart cities, remote health monitoring, and location-based services. There is significant merit in such a model - partnering with telcos offers significant cost benefits compared to investing from the ground-up to build specific capabilities.


In my opinion, this presents telcos with a very lucrative opportunity to become such trusted partners. They already possess the digital infrastructure needed to provide content, network analytics, access/connectivity, mobility, and IoT services to customers. All they need is the right solution and the right environment. 

telecom digital incubator.jpg

Digital incubators - Test before you invest

All innovation begins with testing. Only by failing early and failing fast can new ideas improve and grow to become value-generating services. So, firstly, enterprises need an ecosystem where they can test their proposition before they invest - and this is precisely what telcos can offer. Telcos can provide enterprises across industries with an ecosystem that prototypes, builds and rolls out propositions for their customers - a 'digital incubator', one might say. Such digital incubators are a win-win opportunity: On the one hand, enterprises can test ideas and roll-out successful propositions. On the other hand, telcos gain a new revenue stream that accelerates the B2B2C model.

Here is how telcos can monetize this opportunity for maximum returns:

  • Position themselves as digital service providers (DSPs) of traditional telco services for telephones,     broadband, fixed data, etc., while partnering with content providers to provide content and media services along with access to NFV/SDN, IoT ecosystem, data/network probes/analytics to enterprise customers
  • Create a digital platform that delivers these capabilities as lightweight digital services or APIs for enterprise customers 
  • Become a digital incubator by creating an ecosystem based on open API methodology that allows enterprises to carry out trials, test and build unique propositions for their customers

digital incubator ecosystem.png

How to build an incubator ecosystem?

Below are the key elements of an open API-based digital incubator ecosystem that is built around a digital platform.

incubator ecosystem components.png

I want to highlight that, in such an environment, it is critical to make APIs publicly available. Let me explain why: Publicly-available APIs provide developers and enterprises with programmatic access to the digital capabilities of the chosen telco. In this way, enterprises can develop custom offerings through apps and other channels instead of relying on their telco partner to develop industry-specific offerings. In a manner of speaking, it is about creating a 'You do, I support' model, instead of an 'I do everything' model

Here are the key components for building an incubator ecosystem:

  • Open API specs portal: Through this portal, enterprises and developers can access publicly available API details such as API specifications, sample payloads, error codes, access details, and limitations (if any) 
  • Developer portal and accelerators: This portal not only allows developers to register their apps, but also educates them. Through this channel, telcos can receive feedback and suggestions from enterprises and developers about APIs exposed by them. Several API gateway products provide this feature, thereby helping DSPs  build developer portals
  • Test environments: These allow enterprises to trial and prototype services with the exposed APIs 
  • Digital studios: This is important and requires some investment by enterprises. Digital studios act as demo centers where enterprises can demonstrate their propositions to their customers (B2B2X). Telcos can also provide  value-added services such as rapid prototyping tools as well as designers to help enterprises roll out demos
  • Revenue models, API monetization and partner on-boarding: Needless to say, an open API ecosystem will trigger new revenue models. So, it is important to plan for these new revenue models and create partner/enterprise on-boarding processes that cater to different scenarios and industry verticals. Many API gateway products provide key capabilities for API monetization

Infosys has done it already!

The Infosys Enterprise Architecture team has helped several telcos build digital platforms for successful digital transformation. We help telcos develop the building blocks for digital incubators by leveraging our proprietary accelerators and frameworks such as:

  •  Infosys Digital Enterprise Architecture (I-DEA) for defining the ecosystem architecture
  • Infosys Cornerstone Platform to accelerate building microservices as well as digital platform delivery 
  • Experienced Infosys enterprise architects and reusable artifacts to strategize and build an open API ecosystem for large telcos and government organizations
  • Infosys Digital Studios, a unique differentiator, to help telcos showcase initial demos to their enterprise customers

Inspiration behind writing this blog is Binooj Purayath.  


Models and partner on-boarding templates by TMForum



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