Netcracker has been helping CSPs adapt to the new normal and embrace digital transformation. In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Susan White, Head of Strategy and Marketing at Netcracker talked about the role that the company has been playing in the COVID-19 era and outlined the goals that Netcracker aims to achieve this year.

What role is Netcracker playing in the COVID-19 pandemic era?

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our number one priority has been to ensure that our customers can support a massive disruption by ensuring their networks and services continue to work flawlessly. With communications traffic soaring, the telecom industry is more critical than ever during these challenging times.

When you are essentially locked in your home for work, study and play, connectivity is a critical lifeline. At Netcracker, we go to great lengths to ensure that it’s business as usual for our telecom customers. Whether it’s providing a highly skilled virtual IT workforce trained in agile methodology to speed up project delivery or zero-touch operations to keep up with changing customer demands, we help keep things running smoothly with our Business Continuity solutions.

And with more remote working and online transactions, our customers need tighter security measures. Security and data privacy are major focus areas for us, and we’ve in fact become a benchmark for the industry. Netcracker has engineered and implemented an industry-leading security framework designed to protect customer data and infrastructure by controlling how, why and from where such data and infrastructure is accessed.

The pandemic has also accelerated digital transformation projects for many of our customers who need to modernize their BSS/OSS systems to enable new ways of working. Businesses and consumers need (and want) to be more self-sufficient. From self-installation of new technology to fixing problems and activating new services online. We are helping our customers to rethink their customer care strategy, moving beyond monitoring customer journeys and measuring satisfaction metrics to fully understanding what’s required to urgently address their immediate needs.

How can your solutions help businesses speed up their digital transformation?

When COVID-19 suspended most of our face-to-face interactions with customers, we helped them quickly shift to an agile DevOps model. With a focus on remote collaboration across many teams and short sprint releases, we were able to execute projects much faster. One example was with the Belgian operator Telenet. The virtual delivery program for our digital BSS was a success due to close collaboration and open communication across the product, delivery and operations teams.

Cloud is another important aspect to speeding up digital transformations. CSPs are increasingly using the public cloud to augment their own telco cloud offerings to benefit from cloud scale and agility. Netcracker’s entire Digital BSS/OSS portfolio is cloud native and can run on any telco or public cloud platform including AWS, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. Our digital portfolio is also available in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model with Netcracker assuming responsibility for the software and infrastructure. Italian operator Tiscali is benefiting from this new revenue model to better support its 5G offerings and reach its goal of becoming a full quad-play operator.

We are also helping CSPs to quickly adopt more effective digital channels to overcome the impact of closed stores, fewer callouts and strained contact centers. For example, we are helping Vivo, the Brazilian subsidiary of Telefónica Group, on several key initiatives, including an e-commerce program that will make it easier for customers to order and purchase products and services with a digital-first omnichannel experience.

What are Netcracker’s priorities for 2021?

A clear impact from COVID-19 has been a dramatic increase in online business and web support. CSPs need to increase the effectiveness of their remote consumer and business interactions, and we are helping them do this with our digital customer engagement solutions. Whether it’s ramping up digital channels, adding an intuitive mobile app or digital marketplace, streamlining the experience across all channels or even using AI to anticipate customer needs, there is an immediate business need to transform the customer engagement.

Automation is another priority, and we are helping our customers reach much higher levels of automation across all areas of their network. Speed to market, rapid upgrades, on-demand scale and significantly lower operational costs are all essential ingredients to compete in a digital economy, and zero-touch automation is the only way to achieve this. Our digital OSS solutions, pre-validated with many ecosystem partners, bring full lifecycle management automation to all network domains including Open vRAN, multi-service edge cloud, transport networks, 4G/5G core networks as well as service automation and network slicing across all these domains.

And given the importance of open ecosystems to drive innovation, we make it much easier for CSPs to onboard and manage a broad ecosystem of partners and complex value chains. From portals to sandboxes to partner-based business models, we are helping our customers build dynamic digital ecosystems that quickly adapt to their changing business and market needs.

Which takes us to the important topic of monetization. The goal of 5G is to expand the portfolio of digital service offers, especially in B2B vertical industries. This means the evolution of monetization platforms is a big priority for many CSPs in 2021, and Netcracker is helping them do this with our revenue management solutions. We can provide real-time charging for any event or attribute including slice-based charging scenarios. And with multi-partner settlements, flexible revenue sharing and cross-product discounts provided, CSPs can become a B2B2X enabler and offer attractive, targeted services in diverse vertical markets.