As telco service providers become digital service providers, operators in the MEA region are looking for the ways to streamline digitalization and take their business to the next level. An example of such project is the Unified Billing, which has been recently completed by Nexign, the leading business support systems (BSS) provider, and MegaFon, the pan-Russian operator of digital opportunities. Nexign and MegaFon moved 8 operators’ subsidiaries to a single BSS platform and ensured seamless migration of the 70 million subscriber base.
Igor Gorkov, CEO of Nexign, and Sergey Nikiforets, Director of Digital Services at MegaFon, will speak in detail about the project.
What were the key goals of the Unified Billing project for MegaFon?
SN: We needed to support digital and business transformation, improve the quality of customer service and accelerate launch of new business projects. A very important goal for us was to create an ecosystem that will facilitate faster integration of the external partners. Finally, we wanted to optimize total cost of ownership (TCO) for the billing system by 20-30%.
What is particularly remarkable about the project?
IG: The joint team, which consisted of more than 1500 people, carried out a comprehensive transformation of the operator’s systems. This transformation enabled MegaFon to not only improve business efficiency and enter a new phase of development, but also to strengthen customer loyalty while maintaining a high level of service in all regions. Among the major milestones were the gradual migration of all segments of MegaFon’s subscriber base and creation of the product catalogue and the microservices fabric.
Could you please speak in more detail about the product catalogue?
IG: The product catalogue works as a central configuration point for all MegaFon’s offerings. It supports the whole product lifecycle from the inception and adjustment of price and other parameters to the product’s decommissioning. Mainly, the catalogue provides MegaFon with the information required for coordinated functioning of service and self-service systems, billing, order management, settlement payments and many more. The catalogue allows business users to manage the offerings with minimum involvement of IT staff and speed up the launch of new services.
What were the main objectives of launching microservices fabric in MegaFon? Did the company achieve these objectives?
SN: When launching new products, especially those related to partner integrations, we felt the need for microservices to help our developers or external suppliers to promptly create and test new products. Creation of the middle layer above the billing enabled us to slash TTM from several quarters to 2-3 weeks.
As an added value, MegaFon is now able to quickly solve tasks related to piloting and testing without making changes to the core of the billing. Moreover, the middle layer created a setting for integrating new partners. The microservices fabric consolidated on this level serves as a basis for partner and customer cooperation in the joint initiatives.
What measures did you take to ensure seamless migration of MegaFon’s subscriber base?
IG: The need to migrate subscribers to a new platform while still using legacy solutions until they were replaced was a challenge for us. In order to avoid disruptions in customer service, the migration of a huge subscriber base to a new platform was carried out in stages. Nexign and MegaFon moved the data of B2C, B2B, B2G and B2O customers to a new platform gradually, and the last stage of the project involved decommissioning of legacy billing systems.
SN: In the course of the project, additional tariff schemes were introduced directly into the new billing system, and the existing ones were transferred step by step. We took individual approach to the migration of the B2X segment. It was critical, because over the years, MegaFon customers accumulated a variety of parameters for product applications that were created in accordance with individual needs of customers in different regions. For the government and enterprise sector, it was important to follow SLA – otherwise, we could have simply lost these customers. The COVID-19 outbreak affected the migration of healthcare organizations: it was postponed for the final stage of the project and was led especially carefully.
What results did MegaFon achieve thanks to the completion of the project?
SN: The modernisation of MegaFon’s BSS systems resulted in unification of processes for all branch offices of the company. We transitioned from a regional-based to a single shared operation service, which resulted in the increase of its efficiency. The time to market (TTM) for various product categories reduced by 2-5 times. We also launched more than 100 new projects thanks to the microservices fabric.
How would you summarize the key advantages of collaboration with Nexign?
SN: Nexign’s partner-centric approach was extremely valuable in the course of the project. Thanks to the effective collaboration with Nexign’s team, the transformation of our business was manageable and stress-free. Through consolidation and upgrade of our systems, Nexign helped us achieve faster go-to-market time for new products and brought measurable value to our business.
How can results of Nexign’s collaboration with MegaFon be applied to the MEA market?
IG: Our long-term collaboration with MegaFon involved a variety of projects, which address the challenges of CSPs globally, including the MEA region. One example is the implementation of the Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF). It enabled MegaFon to launch more flexible and customer-oriented pay-as-you-go tariffs, which helped the operator ensure competitive advantage and adapt its offerings to changing demands of subscribers.
In the course of the Unified Billing project, we achieved remarkable results and proved to be able to address both short-term and long-term business challenges. I am sure that Nexign’s scalable expertise will benefit other telcos that are looking to develop digital services.
With a high pace of modernisation in the MEA telecommunications market, CSPs are looking for a partner to support their digital transformation. Unified and centralized product management, microservices and solutions that enable operators to offer highly personalized data plans are in huge demand. No matter whether operators need a full-stack BSS swap project or an upgrade of its core components, Nexign is ready to help them by offering future-proof solutions and enabling smooth systems modernisation.