The telecommunications (telecom) industry is constantly expanding, even though many areas are already well saturated. For example, the number of mobile communications connections in Germany passed the 100-million mark back in April 2008 — and it’s still growing.1 With Germany’s population just under 82 million, it’s needless to say that mobile telecom is a saturated market.
Internet telecom is also an emerging area, broadening to now reach over 10.3 million regular users.2 Accordingly, both Internet and mobile telecom providers strive for the same goals: optimize operating costs to counteract falling prices and consumer flat-rate options, and invest in new fields of business to ensure future growth.
New Telecom Trends Call for More Robust Software
As a result of these developments, the lines between the different telecom fields are increasingly blurred. For example, major telecom companies worldwide are combining business areas or adding new web and data services to their product portfolios to meet market expectations. Plus, many providers are offering flat-rate options that create a common ground across various telecom capabilities.
These trends place high demands on the business software that telecom providers use. Strong performance, ease of use, and an open architecture are essential. Every provider needs to keep its customers and partners involved in its supply chain and in tune with the order-to-cash process in real time.
SAP and DSAG Close the Billing Gap
When these trends were emerging, SAP had already proven its ability to support the telecom industry’s mass-data activities with its SAP Revenue Management and Contract Accounting application, from the SAP for Telecommunications solution portfolio. In terms of billing, though, this portfolio did not initially have any supporting offerings, nor was the SAP sales and distribution (SD) functionality within SAP ERP designed to meet the telecom mass market’s billing requirements. This gave other billing software providers a chance to serve this market segment.
To help close this functionality gap, DSAG’s Special Interest Group for Telecommunications (SIG Telecommunications) began consulting with SAP, drawing on the culture of open communication that we maintain with our SAP contacts. SAP then developed its SAP Convergent Invoicing package for mass-data billing, which is now positioned as a cross-industry solution.
More Change on the Horizon
Equally important was SAP’s acquisition of Highdeal, a French provider of real-time billing software for telecom companies, in mid-2009. SIG Telecommunications welcomes this new relationship and hopes that it will lead to order-to-cash innovations in real-time transaction management. We are also eager to see how SAP will incorporate Highdeal’s billing solution (now known as SAP Convergent Charging) into its plans for the further development of SAP Convergent Invoicing.
To learn more about this and other new topics on DSAG’s telecom agenda, visit www.dsag.de/ak/telecommunications.
Special Interest Group for Telecommunications
1 Source: www.bitkom.org/de/presse/56204_51915.aspx. [back]
2 Source: www.bitkom.org/de/presse/8477_63174.aspx. [back]