Much has been said about the transformative nature of fifth-generation cellular wireless (5G) services.  Apart from the consumer applications like blazing fast mobile downloads, 5G also enables an abundance of smart enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) applications. These applications can transform the way we do business and how we manage our lives. 

For communications service providers (CSPs), 5G is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to reimagine customer experiences across the whole customer lifecycle.


5G is a gamechanger in terms of innovation

CSPs can leverage a digital-first, cloud-based customer platform to transform how 5G services are marketed, sold, delivered, and supported.

Imagine a high bandwidth, low-latency 5G broadband offer targeted at serious video gamers. 

What if, with a single click on an app, gamers can instantly activate 30 minutes of free play on the 5G network? This would allow gamers to experience the difference in 5G network quality themselves before they purchase.

Similar scenarios exist for Enterprise 5G and IoT use cases.  What if an enterprise customer needed a high bandwidth and low-latency video for a live event?  How can this be provisioned on-the-fly, through a digital self-service portal? As opposed to going through the time-consuming process of contacting the CSP’s account representative to ask for a quote, before placing an order?

As 5G network innovation takes place, there needs to be a new approach to Operations Support Systems and Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS) in order to support seamless and engaging user experiences like these.


Innovation bottlenecks to overcome

Customer expectations are changing in terms of how they wish to engage and consume services from communications and network providers.  With the introduction of new 5G services, there will be opportunities for innovation across the overall customer experience, from marketing to post-sale support.

Innovation is easier said than done. Delivering excellent user experiences depends on the ease of configuring and adapting the telco’s OSS/BSS. Unfortunately, legacy OSS/BSS stacks are often bottlenecks to 5G innovation.

That’s because it is not uncommon for the OSS/BSS to be heavily customised, and extended piecemeal over the years to support each generation of network technology. In the past, this has included 2G, 3G, 4G/Long-Term Evolution, public switched telephone network, digital subscriber line, and fibre-optics communications.

As a result, these legacy IT platforms are often burdened with complexity and technical debt. That means that they are not agile enough to support new demands like omnichannel engagement and dynamic service configuration. With legacy IT platforms, businesses will take far longer to launch new 5G products and services (months rather than days). There will also be costly and time-consuming IT development and support.


Salesforce helps CSPs realise the full potential of 5G

A recent Salesforce “State of the Connected Customer” survey found that 72% of consumers and 83% of business buyers  expect companies to use new technologies to create better experiences.

In the context of next generation 5G services, this means:

  • Simplifying products, offers, and business processes, in order to exploit the rich, dynamic, flexible nature of 5G.
  • Putting the customer in control, with self service features that leverage inherent 5G capabilities for zero-touch automation and service intelligence.
  • Engaging with customers on their preferred channels. These channels are increasingly digital, mobile, or social, with seamless transitions across channels.
  • Accelerating 5G service delivery by streamlining and unifying the quote-to-order and fulfilment process through catalogue-driven design.

The phased approach is one way to transition from legacy OSS/BSS  to a digital-first and customer-centric cloud platform. Another increasingly favoured method is to start with a clean slate, by deploying a new cloud-based OSS/BSS stack for a new service launch.

Just as network economics will be transformed by 5G, an agile, cloud-based customer platform will reduce the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and transform IT spend in a commensurate way.

Salesforce is working with CSPs globally to evolve to digital-first and cloud-based customer platforms. These will set the foundation for CSPs to realise the full potential of 5G services. For example, Orange worked with Salesforce to “uberise” the digital telco experiences, and put their customers in control with effortless and instant choices at their fingertips. Maxis is trialling 5G services and has rolled out Salesforce as part of the sales transformation of their enterprise business.

5G represents a compelling opportunity for CSPs to reinvent their future networks and drive growth through new business models. 5G is also an opportunity to transform IT in order to eliminate bottlenecks to innovation, and reimagine customer experience and the digital world.

Want more insights on how to reimagine customer experience in the communications industry in the age of 5G? Learn how Salesforce is working with CSPs all over the world to redefine the B2B digital experience and reimagine next generation digital engagement in the 5G age.