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New growth opportunities for MVNOs

How to become a Digital Service Provider.

Create sustainable growth by becoming a Digital Service Provider

As part of the broader digitalization discussion, Seshan Krishnamurti of Covalense Digital Solutions emphasized the importance of embracing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to maximize growth opportunities.

Seshan highlights four crucial elements driving digital service landscape changes: evolving demand and business models, dynamic product and service evolution, enhanced operations through automation and AI, and internal transformations in talent, finance, and governance, particularly accelerated in the post-COVID era.

The question Seshan poses is, "How does the MVNO become a shapeshifter?" in this ever-evolving environment. He identifies four steps to follow when adopting SaaS in your business as a recipe for success.

1. Focus on growth from step one and keep marketplaces high on your agenda

Marketplaces in our ecosystem are often described as "a type of platform that promotes and enables transactions between multiple parties, such as a customer and a third-party seller. Marketplaces generally do not fulfill the products or services purchased" (Tom McFayden, "Marketplace Best Practices: Transforming Commerce in the Platform Economy"). Seshan reiterates that there is no growth for MVNOs unless they focus on an avenue to deliver the best revenue, and marketplaces have proven to be that avenue.

Seshan highlights that the primary objective for MVNOs is to establish a highway between supply and demand. The pathway to revenue generation through a marketplace goes beyond the MVNO's offerings, focusing on the ability to aggregate, bundle, and generate value. The partner journey involves identifying, selecting, and onboarding suitable partners, followed by launching the service, fulfilling it, and monetizing it.

Creating a marketplace involves a spectrum of possibilities, reflecting your strategy from ISP services to cutting-edge technologies like AR/VR, Metaverse, and Blockchain.

Seshan Krishnamurti - Covalense Digital Solutions (SK):  “While introducing a new service and onboarding a partner to help you deliver that service, your main consideration should always be your customer. Your customers don't have the patience to deal with a clunky service; they need to see you as a one-stop shop.”

In summary, a successful MVNO strategy involves offering both horizontal, industry-agnostic solutions, and vertical solutions specific to sectors. The marketplace should serve as a versatile platform, accommodating diverse partners and facilitating services bundling and settlements for a comprehensive value proposition.

2. Review your needs thoroughly

In implementing a SaaS platform and creating a marketplace, the second step is to assess your needs, considering in-house and partner resources and ensuring seamless collaboration.

To stay competitive, it's essential to transition from traditional "fit for purpose" thinking—meeting current requirements with some anticipation for agility and flexibility—to a mindset of "fit for growth."

SK:  “The key message revolves around multi-level front ends. The ability to have multiple levels between supply and demand is crucial. The highway between supply and demand is my key message today, emphasizing the ability to handle multiple levels of channels, partners, and settlements across different tiers.”

The key factor bridging the gap between "fit for purpose" and "fit for growth" is SLAs. Given our infrastructure dependence, SLAs must extend across the end-to-end value chain. Seshan terms this interconnectedness as the "value fabric." In essence, aggregating multiple pathways for different customer segments and value propositions while ensuring a consistent experience is vital, with the SLA playing a crucial role.

3. Find solutions to maximize value and optimise costs

When addressing cost reduction, automation is often touted as the most efficient approach. Seshan stresses that the benefits extend beyond cost reduction, significantly impacting customer experience and time-to-market speed. 

Automating the flow from data to insight enhances customer insights, allowing a deep understanding of usage, behavior, and spending patterns, and empowering proactive value proposition creation. 

In service experience, covering the entire journey in a world of ecosystems, multiple partners, bundling, value chains, and SLAs, automation ensures a seamless process and enhances customer experience. 

4. Think like a Digital Service Provider 

Illustrative and not exhaustive, the right-hand side represents the demand side. This side generates diverse use cases, scenarios, and business values. Proximity to the customer provides an in-depth understanding of these aspects.

SK: "I've replaced the term MVNO with 'digital service provider' because the MVNO term embodies the traditional thinking of a network operator. (...) As a digital product service provider, your fundamental role is to create value by aggregating demand or aggregating the supply side and aligning it with the value of the demand side."

On the left-hand side, the supply side comprises diverse value propositions from content, applications, devices, and technology. The digital service platform forms the foundation with open APIs, facilitating integration for the MVNO or DSP to craft a tailored suit for the customer.

From a systems perspective, the platform varies but is fundamentally cloud-based and includes a cloud-based system communicating with the customer engagement layer, consistent across consumer, wholesale, or business customers. It spans the telecom operations layer, initially mobile-focused but adaptable to hybrid models like combining fiber and mobile for SMEs. The digital operations layer, along with the marketplace introduced earlier, leverages APIs within an open API fabric to integrate diverse industry propositions and generate value.

Key takeaways: MVNOs can rapidly grow by transforming into Digital Service Providers, bridging supply and demand with SaaS. This powerful tool constructs complex marketplaces, cuts costs, and enhances customer experiences, managing diverse channels, partners, and settlements across tiers, positioning MVNOs for success in a dynamic digital landscape.

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