The Business Case for OSS

The OSS market has changed… Part 3 of 4. This series of four blog posts is a synopsis of my contribution to a discussion I chipped in to on LinkedIn’s ‘OSS Gurus’ group.

The business case for OSS is less clear than ever.

Are OSS customers driven by CAPEX, OPEX or revenue? Every pundit I’ve talked to has a different opinion.

Some say revenue is king. I agree that being able to demonstrate how an OSS solution generates revenue is A Good Thing. But most of the folks buying OSS, being back-office, are actually more concerned about their day-to-day job of Getting Stuff Done and not blowing their quarterly budget.

So we try and sell a vision at the CxO level instead, right? And there's some visionary CxOs out there who understand processes from BSS->OSS->Network need to evolve, and that enabling OSS enables new services and revenues, but the other 90% of CxOs will delegate all OSS decision making to the Manager of Network Engineering.

So you’ll be pitching CAPEX and OPEX savings to most of your buyers and key users. And which is most compelling is down to the local economics, accounting practices and the latest cost-saving edict from the CEO. There’s no universal truth about whether CAPEX or OPEX savings trump the other. Your solution better offer both and your sales guys are able to have an intelligent conversation about the challenges and business objectives of the customer to quickly focus the pitch on their specific issues.

Most customers won’t believe business benefits and return-on-investment figures given to them ‘cold’. If you can get the customer to provide just a few metrics up front along with their top two or three cost/revenue KPIs, then you can weave that in to the business benefits and present something much more credible. The good news is that even with conservative input figures you can generate very impressive RoI figures for most OSS products. If you can’t show an RoI in under six months your solution is overpriced or you’re not solving a problem anyone cares about.