Resource Management is central to a cycle of operations that includes management of mobile and fixed line numbers, SIM distribution, service activation, SIM ordering, digital sales channel infrastructure, in-life revenue, and inventory and cost management.
Its functional responsibilities include IMSI, ICCID, MSISDN and IMEI tracking, SIM expiry and resource recycling, regulatory reporting, and eSIM profile tracking and stock tracking. Resource Management enables mobile network operators (MNOs) to tackle several problematic issues in areas that, if not managed efficiently, can become a liability.
Telephone numbers and other SIM resource management challenges faced by mobile operators have grown dramatically over time. Not that long ago, operators were mainly concerned with acquiring numbers, allocating them, and then reporting their utilization to the regulatory authorities. Poor management of these resources can lead to inventory quality concerns, duplicate assignments of the same number, and complex multi-system data synchronization difficulties. In turn, this is likely to result in unhappy subscribers, who may then churn, and an unhappy regulator who may not provide extra numbers and may even impose a fine or some other form of penalty.
Despite management of those telephone numbers and associated resources becoming more complex, the need for centralized usage monitoring and accurate reporting remain key requirements for most operators, even at the group level. Even more so in fact as emerging regions have become more stringent about how telephone numbers, and the need to manage other number-oriented resources, should be managed and allocated to stay in line with the diversification of the telecoms sector. SIM cards, MSISDN and IMSI numbers, and their associated resources all need to be dealt with effectively with regards to both provisioning and also the additional resources required to activate a subscriber.
Also, the fragmented nature of legacy BSS infrastructure presents a continuing challenge to MNOs who lack an end-to-end solution that provides a real-time view of their sales, inventory and distribution processes. As a result, the effectiveness of sales distribution models is compromised due to insufficient visibility of the stock of physical products (e.g. vouchers, devices, SIMs, etc.) and, thereby, an inability to benefit from a continuous process that would otherwise reduce costs. In the main, traditional ERP/BPM systems take responsibility for resource management but these are very expensive, inflexible and lack the real-time capabilities ideally required.
Such a comprehensive and self-contained approach to Resource Management has measurable advantages over the traditional alternatives; those being ERP systems, BPM, in-house solutions, manual processes via spreadsheets, or approaches outsourced to SIM vendors and logistic partners. Such an approach allows operators to have a real-time view of sales vs. physical goods which ensures stock is always available (minimizing “lost opportunities”), and efficiency in maintaining the stock float is realized. Furthermore, tracking stock across the entire dealer hierarchy can be achieved. For instance stock can be ordered directly, removing any manual processes, which dramatically improves the efficiency of dealer networks. Real-time monitoring of inventory status with different distributors, supporting both push and pull sales mechanisms and stock movements, can be then tracked after delivery to the distributor.
That’s not all. Operators can increase the accuracy of SIM starter packs and physical vouchers via improved forecasting and distribution. This ensures inventory ordering is based on accurate market demand (ordering vs. available stock vs. activations vs. market float).
With legacy systems failing to deliver the necessary functionality to handle ever increasingly complex needs, operators are now looking towards the next generation of telephone number, resource management and stock inventory solutions, which will enable them to enjoy the business benefits of flexible, centralized resource management in a cost-effective manner. Today’s mobile operators are increasingly demanding open, centralized number management systems with the necessary scalability and flexibility to allow them to store, assign and track their mobile number inventories and associated resources.
Resource Management is a task MNOs would do well to pay additional attention to. They should ask themselves the question “what are our intended outcomes from the process? In what way are these critical drivers for the business? Do current processes and systems involved deliver the required results?” The answers, combined with an understanding of their own distribution network, is likely to lead to the direction of a comprehensive new approach that results in numerous benefits being accrued.
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