Netcracker, an NEC company, has long supplied comprehensive suites of BSS and OSS software to CSPs worldwide. Now, Netcracker has launched the Netcracker Digital Platform, its all-inclusive BSS/OSS suite. It provides a full range of business and network operations functions for CSPs’ operations in one decomposable suite that is fully cloud native, highly intelligent and available as SaaS or on private, public or hybrid clouds. This blog covers the major, new features and characteristics of the recently announced Netcracker Digital Services Platform offering.
Background: Evolution of Previous Netcracker BSSand OSS Offerings
Netcracker 12 provided a fully integrated BSS/OSS suite with a digital customer engagement layer. Focus on cloud-native aspects with extended OSS and BSS functionality was extended into the Netcracker 2020 offering that had rich functionality for digital partners’ ecosystems, cross-industry customer loyalty program and focus on 5G automation. The Netcracker Digital Platform further extends the full-spectrum BSS/OSS functionality in several directions (many of which were driven by Rakuten) as well as provides an enhanced security infrastructure. The entire suite, as well as individual modules, are available as SaaS on all major hyperscalers’ platforms.
Overall: A Comprehensive BSS/OSS Decomposable Suite
The platform is offered as a suite that can be implemented as a whole or broken into separately deployable applications with standard interfaces between the applications. It provides all the BSS and OSS components required by a CSP, including some very advanced features.
Architecture: Advanced Cloud-Native Software Architecture
Netcracker’s product line has been fully cloud native in its software architecture for some time, the modern requirement for BSS and OSS systems. Netcracker is now exploiting that more fully by supporting its software in any private, public, hybrid, and multicloud arrangement. It provides agile development and CI/CD deployment for those customers ready to accept the continuous flow of new software for fast feature implementation. Now, it also delivers its software as a SaaS offering with Evergreen continuous updates, further decreasing implementation times.
Netcracker is reportedly supporting cooperative development models with select customers, where the customer writes some of its own microservices code to the APIs provided by Netcracker. This promises the possibility of greater customization of the suite for individual customers without the usual large costs incurred.
My Take: This is a journey Netcracker has been on for some time. It is the right journey.
Netcracker Digital Platform introduces some new features, as well as enhancing many existing features. The following are the most important from the BSS side.
Advanced Security Framework & Security for Remote Employees
Building on Netcracker 2020 security, the Netcracker Digital Platform provides enhanced security for customers’ and CSPs’ data, expansion of the security perimeter to include remote users (whether employees of ecosystem partners) and fully configurable role-based interfaces with full audit capabilities. Its cybersecurity scores from third-party evaluators place it in the “advanced” category for applications.
Digital Ecosystem Marketplace
They have a complete e-commerce solution for CSPs to sell or allow others to sell goods and services —any telco or non-telco service offering. It includes everything from catalog to order capture and billing to revenue management. In addition, they make it easier for CSPs to collaborate with partners and provide many new business models to monetize the broad ecosystem.
Now that CSPs have implemented digital channels, they need better ways to personalize the experience and engage with their customers more. This comes down to knowing the customer really well. Netcracker Digital Platform provides this intelligence with its 360-degree customer view and real-time decisioning engine integrated with AI/ML. This is used to provide real-time campaigns and deliver relevant recommendations.
Gamified Customer Loyalty Program
The gamification of the customer loyalty programs in Netcracker 2020 continues to evolve in the Netcracker Digital Platform. With its advanced gamification features it creates an increased incentive for customers to engage with the CSP’s platform, giving them more behavioral data to optimize customer loyalty efforts.
My Take: These mostly BSS related features and functions continue to advance the platform in many modern directions. The security framework, including the work-from-home features, represents a major advance.
Delivery Models: SaaS Offering & Traditional Models
Cloud-native software is, theoretically, hardware agnostic. If the container platform is supported on the computing and storage infrastructure, the software can run on it. Netcracker’s software has run on all of the major cloud providers. An increasing number of its customers have opted for the SaaS model. I expect to see even more sophisticated multicloud arrangements in the future.
My Take: Offering the platform as a service is the next logical step to take, making it easy and fast to implement for new greenfield CSPs or new operations areas in existing CSPs.
Netcracker is reaping the benefit of its longstanding unique mixture of market and development approaches:
- Its policy of building all its own software on a common architecture provides it a strong integrated offering. It used the move to cloud-native software technology to bring the billing modules it acquired into the common approach. It balances that fully integrated approach with a commitment to standard interfaces between modules, making it a decomposable suite. Its insistence on being its own systems integrator in most cases increases the likelihood of customer success.
- Its licensing practices, with deals often by technology or service, makes it a low-cost entry point into new customers or new areas of existing customers. The introduction of a SaaS offering further strengthens that approach.
- Its relationship to a wide range of CSPs across the globe, from Tier 1 through Tier 3 and new entrants, such as Rakuten, and its involvement in government, private, and web scaler markets provide it with leading-edge drivers for its products. The proven ability to build innovative solutions driven by these leading-edge customers and then quickly arbitrage those innovations to others in the market is well honed.
The Netcracker Digital Platform is particularly well-suited to greenfield network operators, especially those who want to keep its software vendor list to a minimum. It also is tuned to existing CSPs that want to provide an integrated fully digitalized operation for a new business area or existing Netcracker customers that want to expand their Netcracker footprint.