iPaaS: Value Added Service Marketplaces Powering Performance for Smart Telcos

Imagine having a lightbulb moment capable of instantly transforming customers’ businesses…and simultaneously growing your own.

An idea for a brilliant new app; a click new service; a game-changing new integration.

These are the kind of moments usually followed by a sad realisation that the development costs alone are huge and the time-to-market very, very long.

However, that doesn’t have to be so.

The emergence of cloud-based Value Added Service marketplaces is enabling telcos to add, tweak and modify solutions quickly and cheaply – by tapping into a rich vein of new developer talent eager to share innovation.

It means that, with just a few clicks, a clever new solution – financed and developed by a third party and fully vetted and tested – can be added to a telco’s product or service offering WITHOUT the need for its own costly and time-consuming R&D or having to make changes to its existing platforms, such as its core network, Business Support Systems or UCaaS.

It’s a win for the telco, the developer AND the eventual end-user.

And it’s the latest way of quenching the world’s voracious thirst for rapid technological advancement.

“Millennials demand more and more from a product, a process or a service – for a telco, keeping pace with that demand via the deployment of new solutions is a huge challenge,” he says. Andriy Zhylenko, CEO of PortaOne – a global provider of telco billing, cloud PBX and CPaaS, whose own marketplace platform, Add-on Mart, is expanding rapidly.

“The cost of a new app or integration can be prohibitive if developed in-house. But there is a huge and growing amount of developer talent out there which has done much of the thinking and much of the developing and much of the coding,” says Zhylenko.

“The marketplace is a shop window for that talent and for those innovations, and acts as an intersection point for both parties.

“We are the third wheel in the relationship, making it easy and secure for everyone to derive fast and profitable benefits from the collaboration”

PortaOne’s Add-on Mart offers apps that are launched in the cloud as containers in a Kubernetes environment (the current de-facto standard for running large scale cloud infrastructure) and connect its PortaBilling or PortaSIP solutions.

They provide a variety of add-ons for telcos, such as video conferencing, connection to third-party platforms such as Microsoft Teams, automatic provisioning of various devices such as IP phones, integration with banks or payment systems and much more.

Apps also enable low-code integration with other back-office systems such as CRM, Accounting, Customer Engagement, eCommerce and more.

The solution stores code for each new add-on in a separate container – a portable software unit that includes all back-end components such as code, system tools, or system libraries – so that it can be executed anywhere.

The app developer – known as the Add-on Mart partner – submits the code to PortaOne’s dedicated team, which validates and then publishes the module in the Add-on Mart catalog.

The telco browses the catalog and, in a few clicks, can activate the module; this launches a new instance of the app in the cloud Kubernetes cluster.

No code changes to the existing on-premise PortaSwitch are required and the connection to the cloud app is established via API.

After a minor configuration change, such as turning on a new payment system, the telco is ready to start acceptance testing together with the PortaOne support team.

“Importantly, we have standardised all the APIs so that all parties speak the same language,” says Zhylenko.

“Telcos sign-up once and have the ability to interact with the platform at will.

“They choose how to develop new modules; Either using their own in-house engineering team, the PortaOne team, or third-party resources.

“Regardless of who does the development, we provide all essential documentation.

“New apps can be integrated and released in two to three weeks rather than months.”

The model enables, for example, the creation of uniquely tailored business productivity packages that increase revenue through vertical solutions such as calling, call recording, and analytics fully integrated in a popular CRM.

Alternatively, it could enable the creation of an organization’s own CPaaS that can be offered to customers, partners and independent software vendors (ISVs) who can continue consuming regular services such as cloud PBX or SIP trunking but can also program their own scenarios using APIs.

“The processes are super-simple and we have pre-vetted all of the solutions,” says Zhylenko.

“Our technical support is praised as best-in-industry and help is available whenever it is required.”

Zhylenko notes that it is possible to achieve seamless operations easily and with minor integration effort in just a matter of hours.

A low-code workflow programming tool is available for establishing a DIY integration between various systems, such as creating a new customer’s service configuration from a CRM order.

“It means organizations can scale efficiencies by automating key workflows and syncing data across all of their platforms, reducing manual processes and revenue leakage,” he says.

“And it negates the inefficient use of valuable resources for quick fixes rather than innovative development.”

Global telecommunications service providers association TM Forum – which comprises 850+ digital service providers, technology suppliers, consultancies and systems integrators – recently published a white paper which described marketplaces as representing “a paradigm shift” in the procurement and deployment pathways of emerging technology.

The white paper stated: “From a CSP perspective, engagement in a software marketplace is imperative since many of the functions and facilities currently used in telecommunication networks, products, and services are progressively moving from hardware-defined devices to software-defined services.

It continued: “CSPs, suppliers, and the overall community need to contemplate how to handle this paradigm shift, which requires seamless partnering, orchestration, and monetization.”

PortaOne, it seems, is already ahead of the curve…

To learn more about how PortaOne can help your business leverage its marketplace, visit https://www.portaone.com/ipaas-platform-value-added-services-for-telcos/

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