By S Vijaya Bogadapati, Segment Head, Communications, UK and Ireland, Tata Consultancy Services

Over the next few weeks, millions of people will be transfixed by the finales to two of the world’s most popular contests. Football fans will find out whether Liverpool or Tottenham Hotspur are the champions of Europe. And Game of Thrones viewers will finally see who survives to rule Westeros.

But although these are traditionally television events, huge numbers of people won’t go near a TV to see them. They will be watching on phones and tablets, streaming content live in cafes, taxis, building sites, and even on the beach. At the same time, they will be checking emails, texting friends, phoning colleagues, and posting selfies on social media.

They can do this because communication service providers (CSPs) have kept at the cutting edge of technology – at least in terms of what they offer customers. But just as important is making sure the IT systems that underpin your businesses can keep up.

Tailored services

Consumers demand – and are being given – unprecedented levels of choice in their services. Once CSPs offered a limited selection of fixed bundles – your mobile phone plan, maybe with a limit on texts and emails.

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Now people can pick and choose different products and services to create a plan that suits them. As business is redefined by new technologies, the most successful providers will offer single platforms that allow the consumer to select all their digital needs from a wide menu. Mobile, broadband, entertainment, connectivity – all in the same place.

More variety, greater complexity

But as variety increases, so does complexity. Too often the less glamorous functions of a business, like billing and product delivery, rely on IT systems that cannot keep up. Even something as essential as pricing a service can be slow, cumbersome, and ultimately unprofitable if different databases don’t function easily together.

This is a problem that is only going to get worse as products and services are sourced from different partners and suppliers. Some of these firms will come from industries with no previous link to telecommunications. As the internet of things (IoT) expands, can a telecom company provide a service that links a smart fridge to the rest of a digital network? No company can be truly agile if it has to re-engineer its IT systems every time it works with a new partner or wants to expand into a new area.

A seamless solution

How to solve this problem is a key concern to the CSPs attending the TM Forum Digital Transformation World, a global communications industry summit in Nice, France. And there is an answer: a digital core driven by a catalogue approach.

This is a way of organizing your IT systems so that they work seamlessly together in a way that allows endless flexibility. Using open APIs means partners can be integrated easily and cheaply. Most important, it is future proof – as new technologies change the range of products and services on offer, the system adapts.

Leading the way

Major CSPs are already taking this approach, seeing proven results in terms of speed and efficiency. Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is working with many clients in the industry, using the next-generation TCS HOBS platform. This agile, hosted operations and business support system is helping firms enhance their focus on customers and improve business responsiveness.

In a Business 4.0 world, telecom companies will be the gateways to our entire digital experience. 5G and the IoT offer amazing opportunities for growth. Getting the IT at the foundation of the business right will be essential to success.

TCS is one of the key partners of the TM Forum, the global industry association promoting collaboration and collective problem-solving to maximize the business success of communication and digital service providers and their ecosystem of suppliers. At TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World (14-16 May 2019, in Nice) you can hear more about smart cities, 5G and IoT infrastructures, and how CSPs can overcome today’s challenges to unlock tomorrow’s opportunities.