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January 1, 2020

BSS in the cloud with 'Industry' cloud

In a series of recent technological developments, many enterprise level capabilities have migrated to cloud sphere and Salesforce as leading cloud based CRM player has expanded its wings many fold in tapping this movement. Enterprise capabilities such as product design to configuration and fulfillment, rating, billing etc. have all started taking a center stage now. Certain services like communication, video, collaboration etc. as one Cloud platform is an innovative trend as well. Possibly, we may hear about activation, provisioning etc. also joining this league and marching ahead. These applications are very industry specific e.g. enterprise billing processes in telecommunication and finance industry can vary significantly...similarly, Product configuration for insurance and telecom comes with varied level of challenges. 
       In addition, Omni-channels are becoming truly Omni present now and outpacing the traditional channels at faster speed. These are actually the real digital chords that should be tuned well for enhanced user experiences. Customers enjoy multitude of channels today and initiate interactions with the service providers in number of ways. All this actually brought my attention towards Omni-channel guided selling or service based interaction where Vlocity is an industry leader and comes up with 'industry cloud' offerings and not merely a 'cloud' based solution.

In telecom parlance, we mostly talk about OSS and BSS as two main Telco support levers - Operation and Business. Whilst the concept of cloud was still emerging long time back, 'BSS in the cloud' started coming into existence as a concept mostly referring to transformation of applications from on-premise to cloud system. It didn't sound very promising though in terms of large volume processing, high availability, security and other NFRs which was actually required in case of huge volume processing of say orders, rating multitude of records, pricing and billing them finally by end of the month and many more industry use cases. This led leading industry cloud players to literally leverage another proven cloud infrastructure for say, intelligent caching, advanced order capture and orchestration, bulk processing, jeopardy and many more features requiring scalability based on frequent demand. In most of these cases, processing throughput is on-demand basis.

More focus is expected to remain intact on the digital way of interaction where customer enters the journey of See, Select and Submit (3S as I say) any time anywhere through any channel. Entire customer journey has to be orchestrated on the new platform that can respect HA, encryption, performance, security as key guiding parameters. As we know Salesforce is partnering more and more with AWS; Heroku is leveraging AWS and so is Salesforce IOT. Elastic load balancer, high availability (master/stand-by), high standard of encryption in forms of Key Management Service etc. simply ensures the potential growth and appetite of leading cloud providers to harness the true potential of data proliferation today. 

In commerce digital solution, elastic scaling for product browsing, selection, order configuration etc. will be more pertinent. In addition, API caching based solution will be in demand and it may be applicable for solutions based on Bot, Web, Mobile etc. Product browsing and selection before doing a checkout and then of course with an inherent need to do some modification (say inflight order cancel etc.) is something that defines true customer journey on digital commerce platform. Of course, this is also an important source of revenue for customer.

So, with the emergence of digital technology and cloud based solutions, industry clouds are likely to gain more traction and shape up in terms of packaging specific industry needs (e.g. Vlocity has process library concept) including caching strategy especially for the digital commerce solution. We need to think beyond possible combination that is available today as OOTB, declarative, custom approaches and add one more lever to it i.e. process accelerators (combination of related processes delivered as set of components) as product vendors are likely to come up with more and more industrialized offerings that are quick to deploy and meant for faster roll out/product launches and that will require industry acumen, depth to comprehend such offerings relatively faster, focus on NFRs to understand the rationale better, keep a track of process accelerators that can be reused to improve agility for business and IT. This will measure the true potential and effectiveness of moving BSS in the cloud with the presence of industry cloud offerings.

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