Infosys’ blog on industry solutions, trends, business process transformation and global implementation in Oracle.


February 4, 2019

From Assisted-Care to Self-Care

A few weeks ago, I read the book 'Delivering Happiness' by Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos. Zappos was a pioneer in retailing footwear online. It was acquired in 2009 by Amazon for ~USD 1.2 Billion.

Zappos had a manic focus on customer service. Every customer call went to a service rep and the reps went to a great length to help the customer get what they wanted. They even had an instance of a rep helping a customer who called the Zappos number to order a pizza.

At the other extreme, there are organization with highly complicated IVR menus that hide access to the agent behind multiple layers. They do so presumably to save customer interaction costs. However, it significantly deteriorates the experience for the customer who really needs to reach out to an agent.

Most organizations would like to be in the middle of the customer care spectrum, so they could service the customer while meeting targets such as:

·         Reduced cost per customer care interaction

·         Scalability to handle higher volume of customer interactions

·         Reduced average handling time

·         Deflection of calls to digital channels (Chat Bot, Virtual assistant, Mobile apps etc)

·         First contact resolution etc


Continue reading " From Assisted-Care to Self-Care " »

December 17, 2018

Cross Pollination of Solutions across Industry Verticals


During a discussion at work, a friend and I got thinking about how solutions created for one industry can be leveraged in other industry verticals. I would like to share some thoughts around the same in this blog.

The typical evolution of COTS applications is as follows:


Most mature COTS packages are past the first two stages of evolution and are looking at maximizing their investment by expanding the applicability of their solutions across industry verticals.  

Let us look at how Billing Solutions that were created for the Telecom industry are relevant in other industries.

Continue reading " Cross Pollination of Solutions across Industry Verticals " »

October 10, 2018

How Oracle Service Cloud can transform Customer Service Experience in Telecommunications Industry

The telecommunication industry is seeing tremendous growth in India and other Asian markets. However there is also intense competition among the telecommunication service providers (TSP) with new entrants coming into the market. Take India for example where Reliance Jio entered the telecom space offering the latest 4G VOLTE technology, deep discounts and lot of freebies. This has put lot of pressure on incumbents to reduce their tariffs by a huge margin. In this cut throat competition when cost of customer acquisition is high, it becomes important for TSP's to keep their customers happy and retain them. This is where technology can enable companies to provide superior customer experience.

In the customer experience software area, there are number of leading products such as Oracle CX Cloud, Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SAP CRM, PEGA etc. In this blog, I am focusing on Oracle's Service Cloud product, its features and how it can help address the challenges faced by telecom industry. Oracle Service Cloud offers best in class customer service experience with features like omni channel contact center, mobile self-service, and knowledge centered service etc. TSP's can improve customer service experience using these features.


Let us take a deeper look at how Oracle Service Cloud can help transform the customer service experience for TSP's.

Omni Channel Contact Center:

OSvC's Omni-Channel contact center - Agent Desktop provides a complete 360 degree view of the customer. Irrespective of the channel in which customer makes contact, this can include - phone (CTI), email, chat, self-service portal, social media & community portal, Agent Desktop allows Customer Service Agents (CSR's) to proactively monitor customer service needs and respond to them from a single application. OSvC's out of the box Dashboards and workflow provide a true 360 view of customer. This can include data fetched from different external systems such as billing, usage etc.

Knowledge Centered Service:
OSvC is KCS (knowledge centered service) certified and uses knowledge as the core method of delivering service. Customers get access to knowledge content via the self-service portal which allows them to view, rate as well as subscribe to FAQ's, How to documents etc. It can even proactively show knowledge articles when customers choose to submit a new service request. CSR's can use smart assistant feature which proactively searches knowledge base based on case description and presents this data to them. This KCS approach helps TSP's to increase call deflection rate and reduce customer service costs while increasing customer satisfaction.

Mobile Self-service:
Research has shown that in developing countries such as India, consumers use mobile devices to access internet. With mobile internet penetration increasing, it becomes important to provide a self-service application for customers which can be accessed through any device. OSvC's self-service portal comes with out of the box mobile templates which allow TSP's to enable self-service options for mobile devices. Customers can have the ability to access knowledge, submit a request, initiate live chat as well as provide feedback all from their mobile.

Feedback/Survey Management:
Gauging customer feedback and acting upon it is a key element to retain customers and increase their satisfaction for the service provided. In this cut throat competition in the telecom space, retaining existing customers is very important for TSP's. OSvC's feedback/survey management allows different types of surveys to be quickly configured and launched. Customers can provide feedback through channels like email, web link etc. OSvC's powerful analytics features can analyze the feedback provided by customers, understand the intent using key words mentioned and present customer sentiment dashboards. This allows CSR's to take proactive action when needed and alleviate customer's problems which helps to build trust and increase their satisfaction.

In conclusion, maintain a strong focus on customer support experience by telecom service providers can help retain existing customers and help save customer re-acquisition costs. As we have seen on this blog, Oracle Service Cloud can not only improve customer service for telecom industry, but it can truly transform the customer experience through the best of breed features it offers.

Continue reading " How Oracle Service Cloud can transform Customer Service Experience in Telecommunications Industry " »

September 5, 2018

Customer Loyalty: Past Forward

Back in the 80's when televisions were introduced to the households, the marketers made an easy entry inside our home and a new era of visually animated marketing begun. The trick was simple, "be visible be sold ". Suddenly TV took the centre stage for all the marketing and promotion. Every brand, premier or not, wanted to connect with its customers and engage them via attractive advertisements appealing to their physical or cognitive needs. Since we as customer were generally not informed about the market and its offerings, anyone who could educate us about our needs and show us an available product for it could successfully seal the deal. In short it was about educating -> engaging -> selling for a long time only till market was all levelled.

Continue reading " Customer Loyalty: Past Forward " »

June 20, 2018

The marriage of Agile and Waterfall in a Telco World


We often hear of organizations undergoing the aches and pains associated with the transition from a traditional waterfall to a fast paced agile model. During the course of this transformation, the waterfall model is looked down upon as slow or rigid that hinders the responsiveness to business needs. However, that does not mean Agile is most appropriate in all cases.  What probably works is something that lies within the spectrum.

Continue reading " The marriage of Agile and Waterfall in a Telco World " »

April 28, 2018

Platformization at Telcos

Telecom service providers operate in a highly competitive environment. There has been continuous erosion of profitability around their core services related to connectivity and content. Platformization is a means for the Telcos to capitalize on new revenue generation opportunities by leveraging their networks, infrastructure, IT systems and customer data.

Continue reading " Platformization at Telcos " »

September 11, 2017

Get IFRS15, ASC606 Ready - The Easy and Quick Way


The accounting standard for recognizing revenue is changing.  For the new comers let me briefly describe the change.

What's the Change?

For countries using the IFRS standards, it means they now need to account revenue as per "IFRS 15- Revenue from Contracts with Customers" instead of "IAS- 18 - Revenue" standard to recognize the revenue.

For the US based companies needing to report under US GAAP, they now have to account revenue as per new "ASC 606 - Revenue from Contracts with Customers" instead of the old "ASC605 - revenue Recognition".

The old IAS 18 standards (issued by "International Accounting Standards Board (IASB)") and the ASC 605 (issued by "Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)" for the US companies) where having substantial differences. The new standards issued by the IASB, ASC i.e. IFRS15, ASC606 are now synched up.

The new standard outlines the below five logical steps for revenue recognition -

What's the big deal?

So - what the big deal? The accountants will take care - should the rest of you be worried? Accounting changes always keep happening, so what new now?

This is a big because it impacts the most important numbers on your P&L - the top-lines and the bottom lines and many other critical aspects like the taxes to be paid, the annual plans, probably the commissions, bonuses to be paid as well.

This is also big because the change is complex especially if you have bundled deals (like the telecom and hi-tech industry). Not all accounting software can do accounting as per the new standards. Apart from the accounting systems, business processes and maybe business contracts also might need modifications.

So, it is not just the finance guys / accountants - the board, CXO's, auditors, the Information technology folks, the planners, the analysts, sales teams, HR compensation teams - needs to understand the change and plan for the impacts.

Getting this wrong, has a direct impact on all key stake holders - shareholder value, employees (bonuses, commissions), government (taxes).

By when do you need to ready?

That depends on whether you are applying IFRS or US GAAP. For most of the companies the standard has to be adopted from the financial year starting in 2018.

  • For "IFRS15" applying companies
    • The financial year starting "on or after January 1, 2018"

  • For "Public business entities" and "not-for-profit entities that are conduit bond obligators applying US GAAP" -
    • The financial year starting "on or after December 16, 2017"

  • For the other "US GAAP" companies
    • The financial year starting "on or after December 16, 2018"

Are you late in the game? Probably yes, but....

This is where Oracle - Infosys can help you.

The Oracle Revenue Management Cloud Service (RMCS) is tailor made to meet the IFRS15 / ASC606 requirements including the transition requirements. The product has been successfully implemented across industries and is a proven solution for IFRS15 / ASC606 needs.

The "IFRS15 / ASC 606 solution" of Infosys is a complete solution to get IFRS15 / ASC 606 ready - quickly and perfectly. The Infosys solution encompasses program/project management, change management, implementation of RMCS, implementation of Financial Accounting Hub Reporting Cloud, building integration with various middleware. The Infosys solution  creates a robust process with tight integration ensuring automated reconciliation and no revenue leakage / discrepancies.

Considering the need to ready on time, the solution will prioritize requirements, so the MUST-HAVE requirements are developed, tested and ready on time.

Below is the overview of the Infosys Solution

How do we make a difference? How quickly can you be ready?

Infosys has been working on numerous IFRS15 / ASC 606 implementations using Oracle RMCS. While a typical IFRS implementation is done in 6-12 months implementation time depending on the number of integrations, use cases, we are able to cut the implementation time by at least 25% by levering the accelerators repository comprising of

  • Pre-built Use Cases

  • Key Decision Documents

  • Pre-Configured Instances

  • Data conversion templates

  • Configuration templates

  • Key learnings from other project

Apart from the normal implementation, we also offer a rapid implementation which can be completed in 3 month time-frame. A typically rapid implementation assumes not more than 2 integrations, conversions using FBDI templates, 30-40 use cases and 5 custom reports developments. The typical rapid implementation plan would be as below

Sample List of use cases for telecom:


Description of the Use Case


Billing & Satisfaction: Single Handsets plus Plan


Billing & Satisfaction: Contract Termination


Billing & Satisfaction: Multiple Handsets Plus Plan


Billing & Satisfaction: Multiple Products and Plan


Billing & Satisfaction: Contract Modification


Billing & Satisfaction: Contract Add on


Downward Modification


Loyalty points - Termination


Family share - Multiple Lines


Loyalty points - Redemption


Sample List of Issues:

Below is the sample list of problem areas

  1. How to determine the SSP (standalone selling prices)

  2. Significant financing components on the contracts

  3. Managing impacts on cost - both direct and indirect

  4. Managing Discounts

  5. Managing Variable considerations

Get Started now, this is your last chance...

If you have still not started on the IFRS15 / ASC606 journey - you need to start now. With Oracle RMCS and Infosys experience in implementing the same, you now have the chance to be ready on time.


Meet our experts at @ Booth 1602, Oracle Open World 2017, to see a demo of the solution.



Continue reading " Get IFRS15, ASC606 Ready - The Easy and Quick Way " »

July 8, 2017

Cloud based BSS adoption: The most common scenarios

Telcos are gradually adopting cloud based solutions for their BSS capabilities. This adoption has been slower than anticipated due to various concerns and constraints. 74% of the operators surveyed by TM Forum had less than 10% of their BSS on the cloud (Source: TM Forum, 2017). However, there are certain use cases which lend themselves easily to cloud adoption. In this blog, I would like to explore how cloud can enable these use cases, with minimal disruption to the existing Telco landscape

Continue reading " Cloud based BSS adoption: The most common scenarios " »

June 27, 2017

Customer Service, integrating with AI

We all are aware of the typical scenario of customer calling call center for any service related queries. As a part of the conversation between the call center agent and the customer, good amount of time is spent in understanding  problem statement by both the parties with one trying to articulate and the other to digest it. At the same time, customer had to go through a long painful process of listening to the IVR instructions before getting to speak to the real agent. In the recent times of automation and digitization, there have been several initiatives to find innovative ways to reduce the amount of time spent on the calls, thereby reducing the cost to organization and improving productivity of agent, leading to a change in perception and channels to reach out to call center.


Especially in the cable, satellite and communications industry, due to higher volume of calls to call center, any decrease in call duration even in seconds would lead to savings in thousands/millions of dollars per year. Customer possess good amount of hardware devices like set top boxes, phone, TVs, wireless/wired clients and other supporting hardware, due to which call duration may increase as part of conversation. With the concept of virtual agents (Chatbot)/Artificial Intelligence(AI)) playing major role in the whole conversation in the recent times, we see new features getting added to the conventional channels of communication day by day. Based on my experience with cable/satellite, telecom sector, here are few approaches that might help in reducing the call duration:


1.   Integrate the IT, Engineering with AI/Chatbot based systems especially at the time of customer interaction with agent.

2.   Develop product level framework with business validations accessible to Chatbot/AI based systems for faster turnaround time before going further to access downstream systems.

3.   Integrate the IVR/ Virtual Agent Application (Chatbot) with Engineering system to generate diagnostic report instead of agent manually swiveling chair to systems/applications/transferring the calls to other departments of the organization

4.   Feed data generated by IVR from time to time to AI/Chatbot based systems to make it more effective.

5.   Simplify CRM system by providing users more interactive data to generate reports, e-learning tools for self-installation/diagnostics with automated tools.

6.   Enhance AI/Chat based systems to allow user to share video/voice form problem statement to reduce time to understand problem statement.

7.   Make CRM accessible in Omni-channel mode


Adoption of either all or few of these features can help organizations achieve service related cost reduction with productivity improvement for agents.

April 19, 2017

User Experience Vs Customer Experience

Is User experience same as Customer experience? Well in the age of digital media and smartphone apps, it is very common to hear about both the terms frequently. At the core of it, they address one key aspect of human behavior- "perception" and an important organization function- "Customer Relationship Management". Interestingly both UX and CX are not separate ideas, they may work in conjunction as well as exclusions. However it will be rightful to mention here that in most cases CX is a subset of an overall UX.

In our day to day life, we interact with number of organizations either for additional information or for a service related issue. Our interactions are dependent on the number of communication channels the organization has exposed for interaction. For e.g. - it very common for cable TV operators, telecom providers, financial service providers to expose to the users the following channels

  1. Physical mails, paper applications- (mostly getting archaic due to associated costs and long response times, however still used in government organizations, rural areas)

  2. Website- Online Interaction

  3. Customer Service Numbers- Voice interaction

  4. Smartphone Apps- Digital interaction

For the purpose of analysis, we will take into account the digital channels through which we interact with a person organization for our queries. It's interesting to draw out key ideas which directly impact either user experience or customer experience.


Interaction Type

Common Feature to judge UX

Common Features to judge CX

Website/Online Application

Online Interaction

1.       Look and Feel

2.       Colors used

3.       Text Font/size.

4.       The volume of content in the page.

5.       Ease of loading of the website

6.       Payment Options available (Credit card, Debit Card, Net- Banking, PAYPAL etc.)


1.       Ease of loading of the website

2.       Number of clicks performed to browse to a particular section

3.       Online Chat facility

4.       Price Comparisons facility

5.       Search facility

6.       Click to chat facility

7.       Guided wizards to perform a task

8.       Setting up of alerts

9.       Dashboards to get multiple reports in one page

10.   Ease of payment

11.   Help Text as a hover


Customer Service

Voice interaction

1.       Quality of the phone line

2.       Waiting time in the queue

3.       Accent of the CSR

4.       Option of payment available

1.       Knowledge of the CSR,

2.       Ease of the IVR to guide to the right CSR,

3.       Resolution time

Smart Phone Applications

Digital/gesture based interaction

1.       Ease of downloading/installing the app,

2.       Look and feel of the app

3.       Text Font/size

4.       Response time to navigate to different sections of the app.


1.       Ease of navigation,

2.       Ease of uploading  documents,

3.       Click to call facility,

4.       Creating calendar events on the fly from any section of the app.

5.       Ease of navigating to similar topics/reviews/issues,

6.       Quick links to you-tube to check navigation etc.

Are there any metrics to measure UX or CX? Well Since ultimately both CX and UX lead to brand perception, let's put in perspective some common measurements which could be used.

UX Metrics

Success rate(number of visits to the digital media to perform a task)

Error rate(e.g. Crashes  per month-)

Abandonment rate (e.g.  Transaction started but was never completed)

Time to complete task


CX Metrics

CX is measured in overall experience (Net Promoter Score)

 Likelihood to use again (Customer Loyalty) and recommend to others

Customer satisfaction

Although CX and UX are different and unique, they must work together for a company to have success.

Continue reading " User Experience Vs Customer Experience " »

March 24, 2017

Key Emerging BSS-OSS Trends Impacting IT and Shift Towards Cloud Technologies

Telecommunication companies across the globe, up until late 90s, have largely operated as network oriented set-ups with disintegrated and at times non-existent business and operations IT support systems. Starting early 2000, there was a focused shift towards major technology investments in packaged CRM, Billing (BSS) and Order Manager (OSS) systems in telecommunication companies. These investments were necessitated largely because of expanding product lines and emergent telecom technologies. Most of these packaged BSS-OSS technologies were bought, designed and implemented on-premise.  This was a welcome move as integrated BSS-OSS-Network is extremely core to the existence of any modern day telecom operator. However, BSS-OSS implementations so far have been highly technology centric with below features in common (up until the start of this decade and prevalent still specially in developing marketplaces):

  • Complex product structures with limited/negligible differentiation between commercial and service offers.

  • Hard coupling of design and systems.

  • Extremely long C2M (concept to market) cycles.

  • Maze of entitlements, thresholds and value added services often charged as different price points. This is probably seen as a revenue enhancer strategy keeping product managers busy, however one has to be mindful of the costs involved in managing order fulfilment/ and billing issues associated with these services.

  • Service disruption/outages owing to IT (not network) - yes, disintegrated IT systems can do enough to initiate disconnection timely but fail to trigger reconnection on time. 

  • Extremely long lead time to deliver a relatively small change often because of hardly coupled upstream/downstream systems.

Telecom business and operations support systems have been evolving, systemically changing the role, architecture and overall placement of IT systems in telecommunications. In the very recent years, thanks to customer centricity, there has been a re-look into BSS-OSS design & implementations for telecommunications. It would be fair to state that conventional technology centric BSS-OSS is becoming more and more customer centric. Overall, majority of telecommunications players (at least in developed markets) are revamping their IT strategy to align with below imperatives.

  • Modular plans with a clear demarcation of a service vis-à-vis commercial offer.

  • Loose coupling of design and systems - doing just enough to link but avoid hard dependencies. Rightly thought through designs (especially during foundational releases) help in containing consequential impacts; makes it simpler and cheaper to deploy improvements/changes. In my previous project, to integrate a CRM system with external API to enhance basic customer delivery options, it actually eventuated into changes across 15+ systems across BSS-OSS (most of them consequential regression impacts).  

  • Reduced Concept to Market cycle. This has been an explicit ask not only in Telcos but across industries. Product managers do not have the liberty to wait out a year to deploy a new product offer or launch a new product category.

  • Simple plans with unlimited entitlements (all things included) - this is a very exiting trend. Unlimited voice and text is extremely common. For a single price point, we often also see unlimited internet and so on and so forth. This in itself reduces a lot of overheads associated with maintenance and fulfilment of n-combinations of offers/services. With a single price point for unlimited entitlements, there is effectively no bill shock, no usage traction needed and no billing issues.

  • Eliminate any IT specific service disruption/outages - Deploy fully integrated (easy to integrate) solutions especially for critical scenarios (customer re-location, transition etc.) mitigating the probability of such incidents.

Shift towards cloud technologies is vital to realize these imperatives. While on-premise solutions have helped in establishing the relevance of BSS-OSS systems, these solutions have also introduced high entry/exit barriers and created 'non-core' tasks/operations for a Telco to manage. For a modern day Telco, short lead time to market, agility to deliver, and managing network (not IT systems) are more critical objectives and hence the move towards cloud is becoming more pertinent. At the outset, below are some (not exhaustive) of the critical success factors for cloud:

  • Low entry barriers - just pay for licences and commence use; eliminating unnecessary lead time for planning set-ups.

  • Outsourcing non-core tasks - no need to maintain captive data centres.

  • Shorter lead times to deliver - changes can be quickly designed and implemented in truly agile manner.

  • Reduced concept to market - cloud solutions are better fit for simpler and modular products, light weight designs etc.

  • Adaptive and easy to integrate - cloud solutions are extremely adaptive; easy to integrate using APIs and micro-services. These integrations are re-usable, scalable and much easier to change/deploy.

A case in hand would be comparison of on-premise CRM vis-à-vis on-cloud CRM system in lieu of the newer imperatives. Siebel ecommunications is probably one of the largest implemented on-premise CRM system in telecommunications industry. While no one can argue on the functional depth of this CRM system, however given the new world order (new imperatives), telecommunication players probably don't need most of its functionality. A cloud CRM system, on the other hand, could easily help deliver customer service and order management functionalities for simple modular products much more effectively and efficiently. With renewed focus on light weight design, unnecessary functions and excessive data capture/information processing can be avoided. A lot of time and efforts indeed gets saved in a cloud implementation - configure over code, direct check-ins, integrate using APIs and test/validate alongside build.

There has been a conscious shift by almost all leading BSS-OSS product companies to move towards cloud. Even the heavy weight order managers and billers are now available on-cloud; in fact cloud packaged offerings are much more optimized compared to on-premise packaged offerings. This presents a fantastic opportunity for telecommunications players to use cloud technologies as a mean to align with their new imperatives, and continue focussing on what really matters the most - 'Network'.  All leading telecom and broadband operators globally are majorly measured on their network roll-out and customer reach, which ultimately are the critical factors to manage and enhance customer experience perpetually. Cloud solutions can truly become enablers for these operators. Having exclusively worked for Telcos in the last few years, I am witnessing this shift. Almost, all operators (developed marketplaces) have embarked upon cloud implementations in part or wholly.

It is also interesting to note that new operators and MVNO (mobile virtual network operators) would find it much easier to adopt cloud. Entry barriers are pretty low for new operators/MVNOs. Large enterprise operators would perhaps find it more challenging to switch to cloud primarily owing to large captive legacy on-premise systems.

While cloud shift presents an opportunity, it is not fully off the hook as yet. As cloud adopters, one needs to be aware, constantly examine and challenge cloud security, storage, licensing costs etc. to ensure sustainable long term benefits.

Continue reading " Key Emerging BSS-OSS Trends Impacting IT and Shift Towards Cloud Technologies " »

March 22, 2017

***Chart of Account (COA) Design Considerations***

Chart of Account (COA) structure is the heart of an ERP implementation enabling business to exercise its day to day operations. This has very influence on how an organization wants to record monetary, contingent and statistical impact of different transactions taking place across the line of businesses, report it out to external entities to fulfil regulatory and statutory requirements, leverage it internally to gain insight on performance of different departments on both top and bottom lines. In order to be able to embark efficiently on these essentially require a modern chart of account mapped to different business modalities and dimensions that does not only takes care regular requirements as said but helps facilitate automation, rein in need of creating duplicate segment value pool, one segment does not override others i.e. maintains uniqueness of purpose mapped to each segment etc. Investing enough to lay down the foundation of COA structure would be the first step to lock down a successful ERP implementation and to drive innovation for businesses throughout the life of application. Note: Combination of segments (e.g. Company, Department/Cost Centre, Account etc.) forms a Chart of Account.

There are numerous essential characteristics including, but not limited to, below 5 that must be considered while designing COA structure:

Selection of business modalities/dimensions as segments of COA:

The selection of modalities as segments is not an objective matter but a very subjective in nature. While some are mandatory one irrespective of everything and anything but some are invariably vary based on types of industries, organizations and products or services offered, geographies where businesses have its operations, internal and external reporting needs, future considerations and volume of inter or intra company transactions etc. Each one of these are key drivers to design an idealistic, futuristic and holistic chart of account. For an example, manufacturing organizations may want to consider cost type as a segment to represent say fixed and variable cost in order to better assess contribution margin at the product level. They may look at a segment exposing sales destination location of a product to clearly articulate the strategy for multi-fold growth in determined geographies. In banking industry, companies may choose to introduce reference to a relationship manager/cost centre in order to measure performance at product portfolio level. In retail industry, looking at product categories instead of individual product can be the favourable option.

One segment should not override or make other ones redundant:

This is one of the vital discussion points while designing a COA structure in any ERP systems. While a thought leadership on this can offer long term benefits to organizations in account of easier maintenance, minimal master value pool for each segment, no duplication etc. On the other hand immature decisions, however, may erode the benefits eventually. A COA structure and value set for each segment should intelligently be designed in such a way that one segment does not make other one redundant, does not enforce introduction of similar type of values for a segment and most importantly they must be structured "relative" to each other. To understand it better, let's take an example of a COA structure that has 4 segments called Company, Cost Centre/Department, Natural account and Sub-Account. There are 3 companies COMP1, COMP2 and COMP3 and each company operates with its 4 own departments as Sales, IT, Purchase and Inventory. As a strategic and sustainable approach, a) one would recommend only 4 different cost centre value sets representing each of the 4 departments. These 4 can be associated with either of the 3 companies while actual transactions are taking place. On the other side as a poor design, b) organization can undoubtedly be enforced to introduce 12 different cost centre codes representing 4 departments working for 3 different companies. It is self-evident that option "a" firstly cascades the behaviour of relativity where Cost Centre is relative to a company and thereby does not lead to a redundancy and secondly avoids creation of duplicate codes for similar type of departments. This can further be well understood with postal code numbering system where it navigates through State, District and finally City. Here City is relative to a District and a District itself relative to a State for a given country. In regards to option "b", shortcomings are clearly countable as creation of duplicate codes while departments are of similar nature for each company, can't share segment values, certain to experience huge volume of cost centre values over the period of time etc.

Automation for Intra/Inter Company Transactions:

Organizations like GE who has leading business presence almost all over the world deal with huge volume of transactions b/t two or more internal business units. Transactions taking place b/t 2 business units ideally lead to inter/intra company transactions and that is where it is essential to consider a placeholder for inter/intra company segment in the COA in order to efficiently track referencing inter/intra company and enable opportunities for automation. ERPs like Oracle Application R12/Fusion Cloud offers an automation to create inter/intra company accounting entries by introducing pre-configured rules. For example, Oracle Fusion Financials automatically creates Intercompany Payable accounting entry corresponding to the Intercompany Receivable inter/intra company accounting entry by looking at the rules. Such entries have a counterparty reference in the COA code combination as in company (balancing segment) and designated inter/intra company segment.

Give meaning to each digit/character within a segment rather than just treat as code:

While a business meaning is tagged to each segment, a COA design can further be advanced by injecting an appropriate meaning to digits or characters within a segment. For example instead of just coding a company as COMP1 with no meaning to individual or set of characters, one can strongly advocate for "013060" where first 2 digits represents Country, next 2 region and last 2 State. Such logical combination may take away the need of an individual segment in a COA to signify location. This is additionally very helpful for easy reference.

Business Rules With Valid COA Code Combinations:

In regular business practice while creating different transactions, allowing only valid COA code combinations is usually the core business requirements. For example, although a COA code combination with Cash Account does not require any specific product code however the same would be needed while booking revenue. Thus, identification of such scenarios and implementing rules accordingly in the system is the key to rein in undesired code combination values.

March 8, 2017

Customer 360 - is it so hard to achieve?

Customer 360 is a very old buzzword. In most of our transformation programs, one of the business objectives is to achieve C360. Given that C360 was one of the selling points for CRM, one would assume that this objective was met when most enterprises implemented their initial CRM solutions.  That, however, does not seem to be the case.

Continue reading " Customer 360 - is it so hard to achieve? " »

January 30, 2017

Customer Experience cloud options for Telcos


The Telecom industry is experiencing a major shift from traditional on-premise to cloud based solutions. This shift is more pronounced in the Customer Experience (CX) and Billing areas as these BSS solutions provide the front end customer experience and are typically the first to be targeted for transformation and modernization. The cloud based solutions provide a richer digital customer experience, along with the other SaaS related benefits.

Continue reading " Customer Experience cloud options for Telcos " »

September 8, 2016

Internet of Things (IoT) in field service management (FSM)

In today's competitive world, real-time data and innovative service methods are vital for field service enterprises to ensure customer delight, increase revenues, and expand profit margins.

The IoT explained

The Internet of Things (IoT) allows machines to communicate with each other (M2M communication). It is built using a combination of networks that comprise of data-gathering sensors, devices, big data, analytics, and cloud computing, which communicate via secured and encrypted channels. Connected devices enable efficient predictive maintenance by constantly providing information on a machine's performance, environmental conditions, and the possibility of failures. IoT can connect machines on the field in order to record incidents in real-time into a semi-intelligent 'Gen-X' FSM system.

Integrating IoT with FSM software applications

Field service organizations always strive to consistently provide the best service experience to their customers, by ensuring immediate repair and maintenance of their equipment and machinery. By collecting data about the machine's health and performance from IoT sensors, organizations can leverage predictive and preventive field service to minimize device downtime.

Three primary traditional FSM challenges

Here are three primary issues that challenge the current reactive scenarios:

    Field technicians execute the job and fix the equipment after the issue is reported. However, the delay can impact business continuity, which in turn affects the operating profit margins

    Adding more field technicians and service trucks to the field comes at a cost and sometimes the increased capacity remains under-used

    Assigning more work to existing field teams can have a negative impact on SLAs and first-time fix rates. Even worse, it can increase the cost of travel and overtime

Essentials of a new-age FSM solution

A field service management system that integrates device sensor data, technicians, customers, and technology is the key to address these issues. It should function in a predictive and preventive mode with the following features:

    The FSM process, which includes issue identification, communication, incident creation, scheduling, and assignment can be automated, thereby ensuring zero disruption in machinery operations and no or negligible downtime. This not only increases productivity, but also expands operating profit margins


    Most FSM products can also automate incident creation, scheduling, assignment, and invoicing processes. Using IoT, we can predict upcoming issues based on sensors data analysis and auto-creation of incidents based on preset threshold rules

The workflow of a FSM system with IoT integration

Here is an outline of the flow of incidents in a typical IoT-enabled FSM system:

1.   Data from the equipment's sensors is collected and transmitted, using secured and encrypted channels, to a big data storage

2.   Big data management and analytics is used to parse and analyze for refined sensors data

3.   The IoT command console is configured with predefined threshold rules to identify errors and monitor the device's health and performance

4.   Incidents are auto-created in the FSM system whenever errors are detected

5.   Auto-scheduling, routing, and dispatching of field service technicians against the incidents is done based on customer entitlements, location, product, skills required for the job, technician's availability, parts availability, etc. via the FSM system

6.   A field technician performs the job at the customer's site; records the effort, parts used, travel time, and any expenses incurred; and then bills the customer

Workflow of Field Service Management application using IoT.

Six Solution benefits

Wind turbines: A case in point of how IoT integrates with FS systems

Failures in wind turbines interrupt power generation leading to lower productivity and higher system downtime, which result in varying energy production and higher operating costs. To maintain profit margins, higher efficiency and uptime are required.

Near-real-time analytics provides data so that FS teams can react faster and address the issues before they become mission critical, thus reducing impact and avoiding downtime.

The wind turbine's sensors collect real-time data that is analyzed and through which, auto incidents are created, service scheduled, and an agent assigned to fix the issues. Wind turbine sensors are also used to continuously collect operating temperature, rotor acceleration, wind speed and direction, and blade vibrations - all of which can be used to optimize the turbine's performance, increase its productivity, and execute predictive maintenance to ensure reduced downtime.

*** Authors: Haresh Sreenivasa and R.N.Sarath Babu **

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January 13, 2016

Next Generation Telecom Billing - SIs role

Till recently Telecom Billing Implementations, Transformations have had a decent share of the pie with SIs. However technological advancements like LTE advanced/direct, NFV & SDN, Cloud enablement to service the current (digitization, omni channel, content sharing) and new wave of services (mobile broadband, internet of everything, contextual services, mission critical services) are witnessing changes in the Telecom Billing applications to cater to the growing stakeholders and evolving business, charging models. Cloud and Convergence has never been so much in focus as now. Market is huge for billing. Evolution of Billing applications to cater to these changes has necessitated not only Billing Product Vendors but also Network Vendors to plunge and have a pie of the share.   

Network Vendors have evolved themselves to provide E2E B/OSS Solutions in addendum to the latest network deployments. The B/OSS Solution offering being pre-integrated with their network has made the whole proposition for a CSP highly cost effective with single accountability. With next generation necessitating the new network rollouts, B/OSS solutions is primarily now being delivered by Network vendors globally. Key Tier 1 Billing Product vendors in the recent past have spread their wings globally by acquiring other product vendors e.g. a product vendor dominating in the North America market after acquiring an another product vendor dominating in LATAM, APAC have now presence in the markets that they earlier did not reach out. There has been a growth in billing product vendors serving Tier 1 and Tier 2 recently, which rests the market more in hands of the product vendors. Together network and product vendors have had and are positioned for a huge pie of the market share. This complemented by solutions being cloud enabled, professional services units being set up to roll out and implement product solutions is narrowing down the scope of SIs.

So do SIs like Infosys have a role to play in enabling billing for the next generation services and getting ourselves associated in the value chain? Is there anything that we bring in this value chain? Let's first take a look at the growing value chain of telecom billing. The key stakeholders for billing would extend from current Service Providers, OTT Players, 3rd Party Content Providers, wholesale providers to the world of everyone in Internet of Everything like Autonomous Vehicles, M-health, Devices giving Contextual Services, Virtual Networks being billed for services aligned to the devices and the list is pretty long. This throws open a new set of user community to be billed, a high potential for SIs. Secondly, what we bring as a value to the table? We bring Strong knowledge of Processes, Domain and Delivery. We carry with us rich transformational experience, experience of having worked in multiple geographies, knowing pitfalls to avoid. We bring with us the thought leadership served in one market to be cross leveraged in another geographies. We put on table the rich cloud, integration and Big Data experience. More importantly, for Stakeholders the key advisory role to help them get where they want to, suggesting what would work best for them both in terms of Strategy and Technology.

However, in all of the above, what we need to be abreast is Technology, advancements being made in their billing apps. This would necessitate both with Network Vendors and Product Vendors
- Partnering, Investing and cross-skilling
- Build and Sustain excellent partner relationship. Sustenance is key
- Co-develop. We can augment their billing apps by helping them develop their functionalities, API gateways for customer empowerment, partnership enablement.
- Complement billing implementation on cloud, offering Billing as a Service
- Complement on the surround applications like Big Data and its integration

There is a potential for symbiotic relationship to be built and leveraged. All it needs is the first step, which SIs will need to take this time. SIs would need to identify the target markets and the vendors they want to partner with, build specific go-to-market solutions in a short time frame and reach out to the market aggressively. SIs are bound to stay and have the potential to earn a big pie of the market, provided they take the first step.

Billing - Embracing Next Generation Telecom Services

Telecommunication as a technology has never been so close to us than it is now. Every enhancement, innovation across any industry vertical leverages the power of telecommunication and this is just the beginning. Advancements in telecommunication and human desire to have control, have first-hand information on services and spend real time has moved the power in hands of end customers. More than ever, everyone involved in the value chain is now and will be willing to pay for the services and the benefits that they derive from it. This is making the industry invest in innovative solutions with user centricity, low cost and faster delivery as the main themes necessitating changes in the Telecom billing space.

Telecommunication is already witnessing change in form of Digitization, omni-channel experience, rich content being provided by various partners in form of various applications over the cloud. This is evident from the fact that we already have approximately 7 billion mobile connections, more than 100 billion app downloaded and 270 billion app downloads expected by 2017. This has enabled Telecom billing to be now realized sitting close the customers and is no longer viewed as a mere Back end system. The value chain of billing has expanded from End Customers, CSPs to include OTT players, 3rd Party partners providing innovative solutions and content.

Telecom billing applications traditionally have been focused on billing end customers i.e. retail or enterprises mostly in postpaid mode. However, aligning to the current trend there is a need for these applications to bill real time, provide real time alerts to end customers monitoring their spend, provide proactive recommendations to end customers by analyzing their usage and spend. The same billing applications now need to be extended to integrate on real time basis with OTT Players and 3rd Party providers for faster revenue settlements, reconciliations, settling any dispute and concerns to keep all the stakeholders happy. This along with the omni channel digitization that the end customers are looking for have necessitated billing applications to develop rich, reusable APIs, which had never been the focus of billing applications. These reusable APIs in time to come would be backbone of the billing applications when it comes to cloud.

In addendum to the ongoing wave are the next generation technological advancements enabling new services. Some of the technological advancements being LTE advanced/direct, VoLTE, NFV, SDN and convergence, both services and spectrum. Next Generation would be an era of new services (enabling direct device to device discovery and communication without latching to central network, enabling context specific dynamic network resource allocation), connecting new industries, and empowering new experience for everyone in the value chain. New services in the form of smarter cities; proximal and aware services for e.g. letting user know of the nearest healthcare; mission critical applications for e.g. monitoring power grid; autonomous vehicles; mobile broadband providing enhanced speed, security. All this is getting complemented with the advent of new devices, sensors, robotics etc.

Above would necessitate 2 big changes. First movement from "customer" to "user" centric approach. User would not only be end customers, but devices, sensors, networks, robots etc. Second, customer sitting at the edge of the value chain/network today would soon be seen as under the gamut of users and these users being an integral part of the value chain/network. Not only connectivity but content and computing is expected moving closer to this new user. We are soon to witness the true world of "Internet of Everything". Approx 25 billion devices are assumed to be interconnected by 2020. The services being rendered by and to this new user community is soon to fall under the umbrella of being billed/to bill. This would require telecom billing applications to be architected afresh, configurable as much as possible supporting new charging models real time supporting growing "user" community.  Telecom Billing applications would need to stretch to provide multi industry support, industry specific policy management, service specific and agnostic charging, OTA (over the air) and NFC (Near Field Communication) payments. Some of the new charging models serving new users could be: Dynamic intelligent pricing based on the time and load, context and priority based, content and priority based, value based etc. This new user community creating volumes, charging models, partner trust as never seen before would stretch Telecom billing applications envelop on lines of Scalability, reliability, security and performance. 

Cost has been and will always be one of the major driving factors or should we say "low cost". All services, innovations, automations being done on one hand is to provide a fresh set of services would need to ensure that the cost remains low and affordable. The new user value chain would soon be on the two sides of the same coin i.e. being billed and capable of billing. This is driving and would drive telecom billing applications to be made available as a Service, enabled on cloud/premise, shall we say: "Billing as a Service" necessitating the telecom billing applications to evolve themselves on security, access management and stringent KPIs. In addendum to cloud, to keep costs low, Users are looking at convergence, adopting different strategies i.e. convergence of billing applications across countries, service lines (triple, quad play), and customer segments (retail, enterprise). Telecom Billing Applications would need to be enhanced to handle such varying convergence strategies providing agility, flexibility and scalability.

Telecom billing applications would need to be enhanced, architected to handle the next generations and changing market dynamics especially in light of LTE Advanced, Internet of Everything and Cloud.

September 16, 2013

Cloud Vs On Premise - Where do you go?

One of the most frequently asked questions by Enterprises all over the world today is - Should their Applications be on the Cloud or On-Premise?
My 3 part Blog series tries to answer this question by looking at various aspects of Cloud and On Premise solutions and then coming up with the best suited model as per Customer Business requirements.

In the first part of this blog series, we will be taking a deeper look into the features of both the Solutions.

Continue reading " Cloud Vs On Premise - Where do you go? " »

July 3, 2012

CRM to CXM to C3E - Innovation or Evolution?

While CXM (Customer Experience Management) was floated as a concept almost a couple of years ago, it seems quite recent in wake of the fact that CRM (Customer Relationship Management) has been the mainstay of enterprises worldwide for almost 2 decades now. Despite the fact that most of the organizations are yet to latch on to this, and the fact that the ones who have latched on are yet to mature the concept when implemented on ground, the industry is looking for something newer already. The new acronym on the block is C3E (Cross-Channel Customer Experience), and at least for now it seems to satisfy everyone's appetite for innovation.

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May 22, 2010

Go Lean: Minimize customizations and reduce overall TCO in Oracle ERP implementation (Part 3)

There are many ways to achieve Leaner ERP implementation, and I have discussed some of the strategic levers for it in my previous blogs Go Lean (Part 2) and Go Lean (Part 1) like senior management and executive sponsorship, robust decision making framework, effective change management approach, upfront planning for middleware and reporting platforms, solution design workshops, selection of appropriate edge products and leveraging localizations. However, there are many tactical and operational levers also available for enterprises to adopt, which are primarily part of implementation execution cycle. I am discussing here some of these levers and best practices to minimize customizations:

  • Boot Camp Trainings - Before initiating the solution design phase, organizations must seriously consider to conduct the boot camp trainings on chosen ERP to their key super users, business analysts and implementation core team, facilitated by System Integrator (SI). The intent for boot camps must be training to the team for vanilla features and functionalities of ERP relevant to their industry processes. This will enable them to bridge many gaps and requirements through seeded ERP functionality, and increase the overall fitment of the package application, leading towards reduced customizations.

Continue reading " Go Lean: Minimize customizations and reduce overall TCO in Oracle ERP implementation (Part 3) " »

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