Need more transparency in Seller – Buyer Relation.

Need more transparency in Seller-Buyer relation.
 Author. Abraham Paul. P.
Introduction: To accelerate development in technology, there need be better transparency in Seller – Buyer relation. 

Delays hamper progress.  The life cycles of hardware and software have become too short. Therefore, the decision making, the processes implementation time etc., involved in any project shall be quick and time bound and shall be comparatively much shorter than the life cycle period of the systems involved.

The whole processes and decisions become meaningless when the project is delayed and often end up in implementation of obsolete technology and systems.

The philosophy like “Plan for minus-three-year, and implement it in next three years”, in Telecom under erstwhile DOT India will not work any longer. The business managers need to bring in real change if they have to sustain and survive in business. The need of the day is farsighted, dynamic and determined leaderships with excellent teamwork that can compete and excel the competition.

  1. Need to streamline forecasting, planning and tendering process. The planning of telecom need be done with foresight. Then the tenders should be without any ambiguities in the basic definitions of system capacities, scalability, traffic parameters and clarity on the requirement of basic and optional features and products, Billing and Customer Care systems. Later in the evaluation and ordering process, clarifications on basic issues cause delays and misinterpretations.

2. Respect limitations of technology.

Asking for the moon does not help.  In fast changing telecom technology scenario, it is necessary to decide quickly aiming to make the best out of available technology and systems keeping in mind the scope of upgrades as the roll out goes on.   There may be many futuristic concepts and possibilities, but concepts cannot be sold and made money. One has to go in for systems, products and features based on contemporary technology and practical applications that can be implemented and marketed quickly.

Certain buyers may include in their requirement, proposals based on certain technology in the making. Though many concepts look workable in theory, putting these in practice and full integration as needed in the tender may not be realizable due to many practical constraints and inter-working limitations at that point of time. 3G in the 2001 -2003 period is typical example. The way out is to roll out in a phased manner starting with contemporary technology leaving scope to upgrade to new technology later.

3. Avoid UN-realistic bargaining.  Grit for hard bargaining with Vendors has become a considered virtue of late generation CTOs and CEOs. Faced with cut throat competition, Vendors also have become smarter with ways and means to counter these hard bargainers by concealing the high end products camouflaging the product spectrum wisely, building in hidden costs for products which need time to develop or customize, so that these could be pushed to the buyer later at higher cost.

In most cases, unjust bargaining results in undue delays in ordering and in the end get only lean products and limited features. The out look of the buyers also needs change and should learn to get the best of the available, quickly and at appropriate costs. Gone are the monopoly operator days of ‘We order-You do” attitude towards vendors. The CEOs/CTOs, who do unscrupulous bargaining to squeeze few thousand dollars from the vendor at the cost of  delays in project delivery of quickly marketable products, and are oblivious of the urgency for quick expansion of their choking networks losing millions, are not doing any worthy service to their companies.

4.      Technology Development takes back seat.

Because of below the belt bargaining and fierce competition, often the vendors are not able to sell even what they readily have. Naturally when there is pressure selling cheap, there will be no push for further development of technology. The drawback is clearly seen in telecom field where the vendors without opening out full spectrum of available products to customers, or  take pains & cost to further develop existing products, focus and spent most of their time to impress and lure the buyers with things that are mostly conceptual and futuristic. It is necessary to restore mutual trust and bring in more openness between the purchasers and vendors.

5.      The need for indigenous vendors:

In spite of India being rich in IT talents, the entire telecom technology is being imported. Naturally the focus of the foreign vendors is money making. Moreover, foreign vendors cannot fully comprehend the needs and constraints of demanding environmental issues of a Country like India.

There may not be much advantage in starting up fresh in developing advance telecom technology systems in India. But it is worth to have a look and learn some from what Huwave did in China. Investing in infrastructure and R&D are definitely needed to develop IT products needed for Telecom and Data solutions that are indigenous.   The Intelligent Network Systems which are the back bone of Pre-paid and other major telecom products outside the embedded features can be definitely developed and manufactured here and can also find market in other countries. The dying telecom manufacturing PSU like ITI could contribute on this field along with other private entrepreneurs. Nevertheless, it should not end up back tracking to the old DOT situation when its PSUs pushed outdated systems and obsolete junk at much higher costs.       

6.      Melding of Telecom and ICT need to be pushed.

  • Now the development in Telecom and IT fields are going mostly in parallel with little convergence due to limitations and restrictions in direct inter-working of telecom signaling with external peripheral systems in the PDN. Telecom vendors are yet to explore the potentials of this field.

Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and User to User signaling (UUS) etc., available in CC7 signaling protocol could used in developing great number of value added products and services such as disparate Pay by Phone products that can generate huge revenue from  non-telephony related traffic for telecom service providers.

TRAI need to come out with proposal to allow Signal Transfer Points (STPs) to interconnect and inter work with external Application and Content Service provider systems of Data Solutions and e-business enterprises.  May be, ITU need to consider bringing out more advance signaling methods, say CCS (8), to include higher data fields for authentication, security and data content over Common Channel Signaling suitable to meld Telecom with IP and other Packet Data Network systems.

Please see my response to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Consultation Paper on USSD-based Mobile Banking Services for Financial Inclusion

Abraham Paul. P.



About Abraham Paul

Vision & Objective: Telecom has always been the passion of my life. After 60 years of outstanding career and many personal contributions to the industry, I still have same urge, and desire to give back to the industry, the abundant experience, knowledge and potential acquired, by providing consultancy service to forward looking enterprises and entrepreneurs in Legacy and New generation Telecom & IT in the areas of Business Management, Technology, Engineering and Services. Apolitical and religiously unbiased.
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