The Business Case for PSTN Automation for Cloud Calling – A Note to Service Providers
April 20, 2023
Tim Jalland, Solution Manager, VOSS Solutions
Following this week’s announcement of our PSTN Automation capability, I wanted to share more detail to help service providers build the business case for investment in automation. The new capability enables service providers to automate the end-to-end provisioning, activation, billing, and reporting of telephony services for cloud calling platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, and Zoom Phone.
Some background first. Customers of all shapes and sizes – from the largest to the smallest – are investing in what we call the Digital Workplace, enabling people to really work from anywhere, on any type of device, which is accelerating productivity. The core of this is collaboration, delivered by platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex and Zoom. The next big step is to integrate telephony and calling, and for service providers, this is turning into a very high growth sector for new services.
How do service providers tap into customer demand for cloud calling (or calling plans) with new service offers that can be rapidly brought to market and delivered in a streamlined and highly efficient way?
As we see it, there are three options:
1) The Manual Approach
Most cloud calling platforms – for example Microsoft’s Operator Connect – offer some form of administration portal. The manual approach involves training staff to use the portal to onboard customers and deliver new PSTN services. That’s relatively quick and easy to get started and could serve as an interim, but suffers from:
- Another technology tower (one per cloud calling) and needs staff to be trained to use it
- It is also slow, with manual steps that won’t necessarily scale with customer demand
- It’s the most expensive option, adding prohibitive costs for the small business sector
2) The Outsourced Approach
Taking a white label service from a third party organization, that can deliver a package of cloud calling integration, administration portal, and PSTN break-out services. That’s certainly more streamlined than the manual approach, as it outsources a key capability:
- Reduces ownership and margin in new high growth services to a third party
- Suffers from a lack in integration into existing provider systems and infrastructure
- Limits the ability to build and launch new value added services
3) The Automation Approach – Zero Touch Delivery of Cloud Calling Services
The real answer, for what should be a high growth and profitable revenue stream for the service provider, is automation. This means that the onboarding of customers and service delivery can be fast (time to revenue) and efficient (profitability), across all segments (enterprise and small businesses).
There’s an option here for the service provider to skill up and develop DIY capabilities that integrate with the various cloud calling platform APIs. That’s obviously one choice. It does come with a cost to create and support, a time to market factor, and a need for development resources all in support of that integration.
VOSS PSTN Automation looks to provide an alternative here, with proven capability that can then be configured into the environment of an individual service provider. To come back to the business case, we’d categorize this under three dimensions:
- Increase the speed to revenue and drive growth in the cloud calling market
- Reduce costs and improve margins through an efficient service delivery model
- Capitalize on proven capability and technology
Automation – Taking a Closer Look
Let’s take each of these in turn, to generate benefits for the business case:
Increase the speed to revenue and driving growth in the cloud calling market
- Much faster time to market and launch of new services
- Access to broader markets, including small business (profitably)
- Faster customer on-boarding, speeding time to revenue
- Upsell – increase of average revenue per customer and introduce new capabilities
Reduce costs and improving margins through an efficient service delivery model
- Zero touch end to end integration – removes duplication, manual steps, errors
- Optimization – configuration to meet individual operator needs
- Simplicity – one point of control and truth, including number management
- Reporting – automated uploading of call reporting information
Capitalize on proven capability and technology
- Feature currency – always up to date and tested against the relevant cloud calling APIs
- Removes need for specialized / technical development (API) resources
Most service providers will start with the launch of a particular cloud calling service – perhaps Microsoft Operator Connect or DRaaS. The important point here, is that automation can power this launch as indicated above, but can then be reused or capitalized on for other calling platforms, such as Cisco Webex Calling, saving time and cost.
All of this will be a win-win for service providers. PSTN automation brings you better visibility, more control, and new revenue opportunities. And for your customers, it brings freedom of choice and flexibility.
What’s not to like?
To find out more about VOSS PSTN Automation, please get in touch.