How CSPs Can Benefit from the Rush Toward Digital B2B Marketplaces
During the past few years, there has been a growing trend among communications service providers (CSPs) to establish digital business-to-business (B2B) marketplaces. CSPs have sprouted marketplaces for all purposes, ranging from external marketplaces for IoT, APIs, data, software and assets to internal procurement marketplaces and many more.
The performance and success of these marketplaces varies significantly. While many have achieved widespread success, others are struggling or have ceased to exist.
This rush toward digital B2B marketplaces is in its early stages. CSPs need to approach the roll-out of new marketplaces, their own desired role, and the selection of external suppliers with careful consideration.
What’s Driving CSPs to Launch Digital B2B Marketplaces
The main drivers behind digital B2B marketplaces are the near infinite possibilities that 5G and IoT foreshadow.
CSPs understand the limited growth potential of the consumer market and are directing their efforts toward the enterprise and SMB markets.
Enterprises and SMBs anticipate that the adoption and integration of 5G and IoT will enhance productivity by enabling business automation, fostering better customer relations, and improving overall customer journeys. They also forecast that 5G and IoT will accelerate the growth and advancement of existing and future B2B2X ecosystems.
Enterprises and SMBs are investing in 5G and IoT for a variety of purposes, including industrial automation, robotics, drones, asset tracking, security, autonomous vehicles, artificial reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), connected health, smart agriculture, smart manufacturing, connected mobility, smart cities, smart grid, smart factories, telematics, fleet management, device-as-a-service, smart metering, private cloud, data analytics, quantum computing and more.
Digital B2B Marketplaces Will Replace One-on-One Transactions
Enterprises and SMBs will primarily source these solutions through digital B2B marketplaces instead of one-on-one deals. CSPs can capitalize on their incumbent position as connectivity providers by supporting enterprises and SMBs with their 5G and IoT solution requirements.
This means that CSPs can target additional revenue from the third-party non-connectivity services they manage and orchestrate. By broadening the range of their own product and services portfolios and integrating them with third-party complementary solutions, CSPs can enhance the level of engagement and loyalty established with enterprises and SMBs.
The future prospects of digital marketplaces are extensive, as enterprises and SMBs are merely at the initial stages of their 5G and IoT journeys. Less than a quarter of enterprises worldwide are currently investing in 5G, and less than two-fifths are investing in IoT. Most enterprises and SMBs anticipate ramping up their spending on these technologies within the next one to five years.
Requirements for Digital Marketplaces
Enterprises and SMBs have specific requirements for digital marketplaces:
- They require solutions tailored to their industry-specific workflows.
- They anticipate leveraging the fast-growing number of use cases associated with 5G and IoT, as well as the dynamic and evolving ecosystem of suppliers that support these use cases.
- They seek pricing models that align with their business needs by considering parameters such as usage, volume, sessions, time of day, traffic, location, device type, number of devices, QoS/SLA guarantees, network slice, uplink/downlink speed and latency.
What’s Holding CSPs Back from Embracing the Marketplace Economy
Most CSPs cannot meet these requirements due to their reliance on legacy OSS and BSS systems. While these systems are proficient in supporting CSPs’ own connectivity and value-added services (VAS), they are inadequate for managing ecosystems involving of third-party solutions.
To address this issue, CSPs have established partnerships through customized projects, which demand significant time and resources. These projects can extend over months or years due to the challenges of designing user journeys and integrating with back-end systems. These prolonged timeframes have led to many partnerships losing relevance or failing to launch altogether.
What CSPs Must Do to Succeed
Enterprises and SMBs consider CSPs as one option among various others for B2B marketplaces. Others include network equipment providers (NEPs), system integrators (SIs), large independent software vendors (ISVs), hyperscalers, IoT specialists, device vendors, application and platform vendors, new industry specialists and enterprises themselves.
To outpace their competition, CSPs need to quickly establish digital marketplaces by relying on out-of-the-box, commercially available solutions with open APIs and pre-integrations to major OSS, BSS, payment and e-commerce platforms.
CSPs cannot afford to spend months or years grafting a new marketplace onto existing legacy front- and backoffice systems. Ideally, CSPs should consider cloud-based solutions so they can avoid investing in new equipment or infrastructure.
A digital marketplace must be able to compose solutions from the CSPs’ own and third-party products and services to provide personalized solutions that address specific enterprise requirements.
How Kloudville Can Add Value
Kloudville’s Marketplace 360 offers CSPs a single solution for managing any product, any service and any order along with traditional CSP telco market offerings.
Marketplace 360 manages the end-to-end partner lifecycle from onboarding to order fulfillment and reconciliation and settlements without impact on legacy OSS and BSS. A rule-based catalog combines CSP and partner products and services, pricing, costing and contracts.
Marketplace 360 allows CSPs to expand into the B2B2X market by leveraging partner products to monetize 5G and IoT opportunities, as well as vertical marketplaces, such as agriculture and hospitality with tailored solutions.
Marketplace 360 supports CSP’s partner journeys, customer journeys and portfolio management.
Key modules include:
- Product Management – Product lifecycle management and enterprise product catalog.
- Configure, Price and Quote (CPQ)
- Order-to-Cash – Lead and opportunity management, customer management, contract management, quotation management, order management and subscription management.
- Partner Management – Partner product management and partner fulfillment management.
- Reporting and Analytics