October 21, 2021 By Steve Goetz 3 min read

IBM and SAP to help telcos modernize their billing systems with an offering designed to achieve up to a 40% cost savings.

The pandemic drove a huge increase in capacity demand for the telco industry. Network utilization jumped between 30% and 50% as the need to remain connected became more important than ever. Today, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are racing to modernize their core business operations — such as billing — to keep pace with this demand and their competition. With a flexible, secure cloud platform, CSPs can drive more efficiencies throughout their operations (including billing processes) to better handle a high volume of transactions. This can help to achieve cost savings and, most importantly, free up resources to drive innovation for customers. As the telco world shifts to the cloud, IBM and SAP are supporting CSPs by delivering access to SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management as a service on IBM Cloud for Telecommunications.

Over the past several years, the advent of 5G has introduced further complexity as CSPs identify new revenue-generating services and usage models. Industry leaders are also recognizing the opportunities that 5G presents. By combining 5G with new capabilities in advanced network slicing, edge computing and artificial intelligence (AI), it will allow for new use cases and industry vertical opportunities customized to each business need. For example, an autonomous vehicle can be supported by very low latency while an HD video camera can be allocated high bandwidth.

Today, one of the areas where 5G has the potential to offer major network transformation is in operational expenditures and billing. The telco industry requires highly complex and personalized billing processes, from applying specific rates to customer bills to tracking invoices for enterprise-level commercial agreements. By offering SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management as a service, IBM will help clients streamline their billing processes, providing end-to-end support and a managed billing service. Originally designed for telecommunications, the open hybrid cloud architecture is designed to meet clients’ needs across any industry — whether related to security, data privacy or innovation.

“We’re excited to extend SAP’s relationship with IBM in a way that brings choice and value to the telecommunications industry. This offer allows hundreds of CSPs who are constrained by legacy systems and approaches a new way to consume SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management. Many CSPs don’t want to operate their billing environments. Now, they can have IBM operate billing while they focus on serving their customers, driving out cost and complexity and growing their business by launching new products and services. SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management is a great choice for simplifying, automating and launching new business models,” said Carl Kehres, General Manager and IBU Head for Telecommunications, SAP.

IBM will provide CSPs with a hybrid cloud-based option that can transform their billing operations with a comprehensive solution designed to handle microtransaction billing with highly secure data privacy and isolated workloads. The SAP Billing and Revenue Innovation Management offered as a service is a configurable packaged application that can dramatically reduce the manually intensive implementation and support demanded by traditional billing systems. The offering will be delivered with IBM Cloud for Telecommunications — an open, hybrid cloud architecture that leverages Red Hat OpenShift and IBM Cloud Satellite to enable clients to deploy IBM Cloud services anywhere — on the cloud, on premises or at the edge — while addressing unique industry regulatory and security requirements. IBM Consulting will serve as systems integrator, helping clients to implement and manage the offering and help ensure security and interoperability across hybrid cloud environments.

With a history that spans nearly 50 years and more than 5,500 individual products, IBM and SAP have helped hundreds of companies digitize their operations using an open, hybrid cloud approach as part of an ongoing strategic partnership. To help accelerate business transformation for the telecommunications industry, SAP has joined IBM’s growing ecosystem of partners dedicated to enhancing digital client engagement as telcos modernize their enterprise applications and infrastructure to unlock the power of 5G and edge.

SAP is part of IBM’s partner ecosystem that is collaborating on the IBM Cloud for Telecommunications to help network equipment providers, independent software vendors (ISVs), software-as-a-service providers and hardware partners accelerate business transformation by leveraging 5G and edge. The combined strength of IBM — whose clients comprise 83% of the largest CSPs globally — and its ecosystem of partners will create a large hybrid cloud ecosystem that can help CSPs meet three strategic industry imperatives: attracting and retaining subscribers, increasing investment in effectiveness while driving down operational cost; and creating new, monetizable digital services.

As industries like telco transform, IBM and SAP are focused on helping clients modernize their businesses and make the most of cutting-edge technologies.

Learn more about IBM Cloud for Telecommunications.

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