No-code software development has completely revolutionised the way we develop and deploy business applications today
To the point that it has now opened the software development process up to non-technical staff from other business functions to be able to develop, test and implement changes to software with, as the name suggests, no coding required. This could include building a new service offering in an existing product, product catalog or developing a new retention campaign for high value customers showing a high propensity to churn or any other business focused process.
Whilst this is a great way to foster a culture of innovation across the business, it does leave the IT teams with some concerns. They will be wondering whether this puts their jobs at risk, leads to system vulnerabilities, and whether there will be a lack of central control, enabling anyone to do anything they want.
However, the culture of telecoms is changing to encourage more risk taking by removing the cost and fear of failure. Telco companies need to be able to try out new processes and offers. The focus on this will increase as SA 5G gets rolled out and new opportunities emerge. No-code systems significantly reduce the time, cost and risk associated with trying out new processes or business models. When it comes to Business Support Systems (BSS), the opportunity for individuals in business functions to be able to make changes to the business systems could cause both joy and fear in equal measure. Some individuals will be more than ready to develop new offers and processes to make them more productive and get better results in line with their KPIs, whilst others may be less so.
However, it’s important to note that no-code BSS doesn’t mean that junior members of the business teams or even interns can start developing, testing and implementing on-boarding processes for enterprise customers at will. There needs to be a very robust level of control on who has access to the development processes and when. Essentially, no-code BSS is not a means to uncontrolled free access for unauthorised individuals to be making changes to BSS. There needs to be clear user authorization and identification processes in place. That’s why we are now seeing the emergence of the ‘Business Engineer’ role within the business departments in service providers. A Business Engineer works closely with both the business teams (sales, marketing, customer success, and product management, etc) and the IT teams, to marry up processes from both departments and achieving a common goal.
Business Engineers are key to implementing no-code software changes as they are responsible for quickly designing and launching new commercial offerings across channels and segments. They can also experiment with commercial conditions such as customer eligibilities or discounts and promotions. Furthermore, they are also responsible for adapting and personalising customer journey flows, by designing omni-channel processes and rules.
A business engineer should be guided by insightful data based on a blind trial-and-error approach to avoid adaptations. IT can work with the business engineers in the business teams to ensure overall control and ownership of the BSS. With no-code BSS and the emergence of business engineers in the business teams, we will see the core business units in service providers become stakeholders in BSS – not just end users or customers. The emergence of business engineers working closely with IT teams enables stakeholders to think differently: instead of prioritising a few items that can be delivered in a six-month timeframe, they can start embracing more explorative and experimental avenues to innovation. At the same time, IT can provide a framework of overall system management and control.
The IT teams can grow their stake as platform enablers and support the business teams’ empowerment with no-code BSS. They can for instance drive strategic initiatives, help the company to enter new business domains and engage with new partners. For many years IT has been stuck in the middle between legacy system vendors and the business teams. The teams ask for new features, IT get a change request quote from the vendor and six months later a new feature and an invoice. One of the principal advantages of no-code BSS is that it can significantly reduce the dependence on legacy vendors and the change request process. By removing this barrier to transformation, IT can play a more prominent role in enabling transformation by running and managing the no-code BSS.
The adoption of no-code BSS approach is not just a switch of BSS paradigm and technology. It will also enable a shift in BSS user culture, attitudes, roles and skill sets to deliver a level of agility previously unheard of in traditional BSS – delivered and managed by the business teams and IT working together.
About the Author
Francis Ristori is Program Director at Qvantel. Qvantel is leading the evolution of Digital BSS. Qvantel Flex BSS is a no-code, cloud-native Digital BSS that is enabling communication service providers (CSPs) to quickly transform to digital-first companies. By pioneering the use of no-code technology in telecoms Qvantel Flex BSS enables CSPs to react quickly to new opportunities and develop new offers, processes and business models. In the digital telecoms and 5G markets CSPs will need a new level of agility in BSS that is unimaginable in legacy systems. New offers and processes need to be developed, tested and in production in hours – not months. Using no-code technology Qvantel Flex BSS delivers this level of agility to CSPs.
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