By Mikko Kiiski, Vice President, Product Management, Service Orchestration, Comptel
Consumers today can buy what they want in a matter of minutes. Empowered by a self-service research and purchase process, the buyer sets the terms of product or service delivery, and their order – whether physical or digital – will arrive, in most cases, with the consumer having tolerated minimal to no complexity.
That’s the business-to-consumer (B2C) digital buying experience, and customers expect to receive it each time they make a purchase on any device. Why, then, should expectations be any different in business-to-business (B2B) transactions?
After all, the same network technology that enables the digital buying experience for consumers also supports enterprise transactions. The only difference is the enterprise sales process, which is linear and requires a sales manager to field requests and quotes, verify feasibility, iterate on project design and eventually deliver.
It’s an especially bad process to keep using in light of the emerging digital buyer experience. The same IT buyer who might tolerate a slow and iterative purchasing process at work enjoys a much more enjoyable experience when shopping online or on mobile at home.
Our 2015 survey of telco C-level executives found that 78 percent are finding it harder to separate B2C and B2B customers by traditional standards, believing instead that they would be better served by taking a Business-to-Human (B2H) approach.
What is B2H? B2H knocks down the walls between consumer and business purchasing to create a shared service experience that is personalised, immediate, transparent and convenient.
It requires operators to undergo an enterprise sales transformation, connecting a responsive back office to a digital, user-friendly front office to reimagine how enterprise orders are orchestrated and fulfilled. While many operators are thinking about B2H, one Comptel customer achieved it to great success.
European Operator Embraces B2H
This operator’s journey started with a recognition that its existing IT infrastructure – particularly to support enterprise sales and service delivery – was too fragmented to deliver the Amazon-like buying experience its B2B customers want.
That fragmentation stemmed from years of mergers and acquisitions, the historical separation of technology stacks between different lines of business and the gradual accumulation of legacy hardware and applications. Rather than add on another separate fulfilment silo for its B2B customers, the operator instead chose to revamp its entire sales process, so it could be more agile and competitive.
The solution was to use a CloudSense front-end sales platform, integrated with Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, on top of Comptel’s FLOWONE™ Fulfilment platform. This combination allowed the operator to give enterprise customers the same online buying experience as consumers.
An enterprise IT manager, for example, could search the digital and communications service provider’s catalogue, which might include IP-VPN, video conferencing or even hardware, then configure and order everything online. The FLOWONE™ Fulfilment platform supports all service orchestration functions at time of purchase, allowing the customer to self-verify the feasibility of their request (“Can I get fibre Internet service at this address?”), pre-plan delivery (setting installation times and locations), and even reserve physical or logical resources.
The entire service orchestration cycle is now visible to customers. Just as they know when a package from Amazon might arrive at their doorstep, they now know when they can expect their new video conferencing service to be installed.
Now, 90 percent of the operator’s enterprise ordering and service deliveries proceed through this fully automated approach, with absolutely no contact from sales or support staff. The other 10 percent of orders are reserved for projects that require a human touch – such as an office move – but even these projects can be automated in many aspects.
The transformation delivered immediate financial benefits. The IP-VPN service delivery process shrank from 43 to 14 days. Furthermore, the actual order and configuration process only takes a few hours, and most of those 14 days are spent managing subcontractors or physical equipment. It all adds up to 3 million euros in annual OPEX savings for this operator.
That’s the amazing potential of bringing a B2C service experience to the enterprise. To succeed in a new digital era, operators must recognise that customers of all shapes and sizes want the same things: simplicity, customisation, immediacy and convenience. It’s all about B2H in Nexterday.
By Mika Korpinen, Senior Vice President, MEA, Comptel Corporation
Saudi Arabia is becoming one of the world’s biggest technology markets, partly on the strength of a tech-savvy population of young professionals. To help sustain this growth, Comptel works alongside the largest digital and communications service provider in the Middle East and North Africa, STC, to educate and empower the next generation of IT talent in Saudi Arabia.
Our long-time customer reached out to Comptel for support launching its brand-new employee training initiative. The four-month “Young IT Talent” programme educates recent Saudi university graduates on telecommunications networks and Comptel technologies, while also providing the skills they need to succeed in future leadership positions within STC.
The development of young Saudis countrywide is an important national issue, and Saudi society greatly values any investments made in the education and betterment of youth. Our joint programme is particularly relevant given the kingdom’s emergence as an IT powerhouse.
The Comptel-STC partnership offers young Saudis the chance to develop business acumen, communication, presentation and writing skills, programming language aptitude, as well as an understanding of key technologies and software best practices. STC turned to Comptel because of our broad IT experience, comprehensive solution portfolio and innovative industry vision.
“Comptel was a natural partner to help us roll out the programme given our long-standing relationship and the important role Comptel technology plays within our business,” said Younes Al Suhaibani, director of IT integration applications at STC.
The program includes four modules over fourth months. Trainees receive on-the-job training in STC’s Riyadh offices, and then travel to Helsinki and Kuala Lumpur to spend a month in each city working within Comptel’s key research and development centres.
From these locales, the graduates are educated on the principles of Operation Nexterday, covering the new digital buying experience, the demands of Generation Cloud, the power of intelligent fast data and the possibilities of new digital service monetisation strategies and ground to cloud service orchestration. They also enjoyed international business mentoring and first-hand exposure to different cultural perspectives.
Ultimately, the program benefitted not only the young trainees, but also STC and Comptel. STC has gained access to new staff that possess an accelerated understanding of technology and communications. And by operating a first-class training program, STC is able to attract the best and brightest young talent from the community. All this helps STC meet present and future business goals to ensure long-term success.
For Comptel, the program supports long-term business goals in the emerging Saudi Arabian market. It also ensures that the next generation of Saudi IT talent is well-educated on the principles of Operation Nexterday and Comptel technologies.
“Our joint programme sets up both new employees and STC for success – this competency development initiative will help ensure software delivery and development best practices, reduce time-to-market, optimise costs and resource utilisation, as well as empower future leadership,” explained Teo-Tuomas Hirvonen, vice president of strategic accounts at Comptel.
Most importantly, the young professionals who passed through the program will understand the way globally leading software development works and gain a new global perspective on business, technology and culture. In an increasingly globalised world where innovation proceeds at a rapid pace, this experience will be invaluable to the future development of Saudi Arabia’s IT market.
In November, Comptel will launch the antiseminar that telcos have been waiting for. Nexterday North will bring together the brightest minds in telco to spur innovation and explore creative ways to reach Generation Cloud and transform their businesses for the better. Register for Nexterday North to reserve your exclusive spot.
This November will be an exciting and energising month for the worlds of tech and telecommunications. Two major events, Comptel’s inaugural Nexterday North and Slush 2015, will descend on Helsinki, with the city welcoming thousands of tech leaders, entrepreneurs and big thinkers from around the world. It promises to be a full week of fresh ideas, big announcements and new visions for the future.
Nexterday North: The Antiseminar You’ve Been Waiting For
Just two days before Slush, Comptel will bring together the brightest minds in the digital and communications industry from 9 to 10 November with Nexterday North, which aims to take a fresh, bold look at the challenges and opportunities for traditional operators and emerging players and digital ecosystems.
Nexterday North will focus on three areas: Think Ahead, where we examine other industries to identify the industry’s collective blindspot, Think Again, where we re-evaluate industry learnings to challenge the status quo, and Think Beyond, where we’ll draw on the startup environment at Slush to find ways to think bigger and better about telco.
The event will also include Geekland, an invite-only Comptel user group that will share cutting-edge live demos, industry blueprint showcases and more. If you want to see what the future holds for your digital and communications services business, you need to be at Nexterday North.
You can register for Nexterday North at this link, and keep in mind that registering for a Nexterday Front pass will also grant you a Slush Conference Pass.
Slush is the leading European technology and startup event, organized in Helsinki and taking place from 11 to 12 November 12. The next world-conquering companies come to Slush to meet with venture capitalists, launch new products and share their technology breakthroughs with the global tech community.
The Slush program features a number of industries, including healthcare, education, clean tech, future enterprises and e-commerce. Speakers include the founders and leaders of tech unicorns such as Skype, King, Klarna and Supercell. The result is a palpable environment, with startups hoping to attract venture capital, media attention and technology partners, whereas investors come to look for the next billion-dollar company.
For digital and communications services providers, Slush is a great venue to learn about the emerging technologies that will continue to influence the behaviour of our generation. Slush is also a unique platform to identify business opportunities and connect more closely with digitally savvy consumers and businesses.
“With Nexterday North and Slush back-to-back, digital and communications service providers have a unique and exciting chance to hear from some of the world’s most creative thinkers and futurists in the span of a few days,” said Ari Vänttinen, CMO, Comptel. “Those four days in Helsinki will shake up the industry as we know it, providing the blueprint for what’s to come in digital and communications technology.”
“The Nordic countries have definitively put their name on the map of new technologies. The area accounts for 26 percent of all European exits yet has only 4 percent of the population,” said Marianne Vikkula, President and COO, Slush. “With events like Nexterday North and Slush, we want to make sure that the same development continues in the area.”
Charting a Future for Telco and Tech
The run up to Slush and Nexterday North also includes a number of 48-hour hackathons, including Ultrahack in which the Comptel team is participating from 6-8 November. Hackathons present a great chance for developers to refine their software with expert coaching on-site or build new innovations from scratch in a matter of hours.
It all adds up to what will be an exciting week in Helsinki. Visiting digital and communications service providers will be on the ground floor, where big ideas, concepts and partnerships are developed. You’ll learn about the technologies that are changing the world, the strategies that could change your business and the trends that are defining Generation Cloud.
The Comptel team is looking forward to an incredible series of events. We hope to see you in Helsinki.
By Joakim Knutar, Vice President, North Asia Region, Comptel
The Comptel team was excited to share our vision for the future of telecommunications with the 40,000 attendees who turned up for this year’s Mobile World Congress Shanghai. This year’s event was abuzz with talk of innovations in mobile and digital technology.
Asian markets are rapidly adopting mobile and digital services, and there’s a chance to grow these markets further. Idea Cellular managing director Himanshu Kapania spoke of the opportunity to connect more of India’s 1 billion mobile voice users to the Internet. Only about a quarter of the country’s telecom subscribers have Internet access, but new initiatives to extend connectivity have contributed to 37-percent annual growth in the number of Indian Internet users.
China is experiencing a similar trend with 4G. Since December 2013, China Mobile has added 190 million 4G connections, according to its executive vice president, Li Huidi. As a result, 21 percent of the company’s mobile user base runs on 4G, and that population of subscribers delivers 3.8 times more average revenue per user (ARPU) than non-data users.
Overall, 46 percent of the nearly 4 billion Asia-Pacific consumers are mobile subscribers, of which 62 percent – about 1.3 billion individuals – are also mobile broadband subscribers.
As mobile and digital penetration continues to grow in these markets, operators in the region should not only innovate to win over customers but also do everything in their power to maximise even the smallest digital moment. As we’ve written about in our book, Operation Nexterday, operators will be able to drive more revenue by giving customers exactly the service they need at exactly the right moment and on the right platform.
Data is the key to finding and enhancing these digital moments, but only if it can offer immediate visibility, deliver context in-stream and enable instant action. That’s Intelligent Fast Data at work.
Certain operators in emerging markets are leveraging consumers’ data to drive revenue by overcoming cultural or regional obstacles that limit information access. Tadashi Onodera, chairman of KDDI, explained that his company has been able to address cultural privacy concerns through a direct billing approach. Because nearly all Japanese mobile customers are on a postpaid agreement that requires a national ID and credit card, they trust their operator with their data, according to Onodera. As a result, KDDI has access to data it can use to learn about customers, deliver unique services and add value.
We’ve seen direct carrier billing work successfully in places like Indonesia, where Indosat has been able to deliver a modern and convenient mobile purchasing experience to its customers, while simultaneously unlocking new monetisation opportunities. It’s a powerful example of how digital and communications services providers are thinking creatively to overcome obstacles, move past current ways of doing business and embrace Nexterday.
Having spent time with the heavy hitters in Shanghai, we’re more confident than ever that the future of mobile and digital services in APAC and beyond will depend on this type of creativity and focus.
In November, the antiseminar you’ve been waiting for hits Helsinki. Nexterday North will bring together the brightest minds in digital and communications services to think ahead to examine our collective blindspot, think again to challenge the status quo and think beyond to find new digital disruptions. Register now to reserve your exclusive spot.
The spotlight is shining brightly on network function virtualisation (NFV) as software vendors, hardware manufacturers and operators step up their investment in and engagement with this technology. As my colleague, Malla Poikela, wrote in a recent blog, ongoing NFV trials and projects were featured prominently at this year’s TM Forum Live. In the Storify post below, we track recent conversations and developments around this radical new NFV ecosystem. Take a look to see how the NFV discussion is constantly evolving.
And don’t forget to join us in November for our can’t-miss anti-seminar, Nexterday North, where the emerging NFV ecosystem will be one of many topics of discussion. Industry experts and innovators will be on hand to take a fresh look at telecoms through a new lens, and discussion will be framed around the three pillars of Thinking Ahead (looking at other industries to examine our collective blindspot), Thinking Again (re-examining industry learnings to challenge the status quo) and Thinking Beyond (learning from emerging startups who are disrupting the digital world).
This year’s TM Forum Live! invoked the theme of digital business transformation and a digital ecosystem for telecommunications. As my colleague, Steve Hateley, wrote recently, leading voices in the industry took time at the event to share their views on the key opportunities and challenges available to operators who embrace creative thinking in an era of digital disruption.
Without a doubt, two of the biggest opportunities of this ongoing and dramatic transformation involve the Internet of Things (IoT) and Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). Several speakers, dedicated streams, catalyst projects, key notes and exhibitions offered proof points to demonstrate that not only is this transformation on its way – in many cases, it’s already happening around us. Here are three major NFV and IoT takeaways from the show.
An Impending Surge in NFV Deployments
Comptel has discussed at great length about the transformative impact of NFV deployments on telecommunications. As we wrote in our book, Operation Nexterday, operators who don’t adopt NFV to speed their service delivery and achieve greater agility and scalability could soon see their competitors pass them by.
It would appear many more are starting to realize this, and thus, prioritise NFV deployments in the immediate future. According to one survey that was conducted by Heavy Reading and presented at TM Forum Live!, 23 percent of operators expect to implement NFV commercially within their networks within the next year, while 44 percent expect to do so within the next two years.
In a presentation, Appledore Research Group estimated that as many as 250 ongoing NFV trials are occurring around the world, which includes multiple proofs of concept within a single operator’s network and around 25 early “live” NFV deployments. These deployments are already revealing benefits: Virtual E-CPE (customer premises equipment) rollouts, for example, lead to ten-fold improvements in OPEX savings, while Virtual RAN (radio access networks) rollouts offer a smaller footprint and reduced energy consumption. The Heavy Reading study, which surveyed mobile operators specifically, highlighted many benefits to NFV, with respondents saying it helped achieve scalability in their IMS core and offered value in the policy and charging control function and their evolved packet core.
The IoT Inflection Point
Similarly, there was much discussion around the IoT “inflection point” – as in, the point at which IoT implementations and projects begin to trend upward.
For example, Volvo CIO Klas Bendrik discussed how the car group is addressing consumers’ desire to stay connected at all times by developing interfaces that allow drivers to identify safety hazards, time-saving routes and fuel-saving driving behaviours. The company intends to test 100 self-driving automobiles on Swedish public roads in 2017, which will be the first opportunity members of the public will have to ride along in an autonomous car in normal traffic.
Elsewhere, BT Group Director of Research and Technology Chris Bilton discussed an IoT project in Milton Keynes, England, in which BT Group was able to support the development of a citywide parking optimisation initiative that could be the first step of a full “smart city” project. The global market for Smart Cities is expected to be valued at $400 billion by 2020. The Milton Keynes project will be underpinned by a “Smart Data Hub” that will collect anonymous city data about factors such as energy, water and transportation, to let the partners and developers to address city challenges and innovate on new developments and solutions.
Urban planning, energy management, health care – these are all areas in which IoT is already making a difference, and naturally, operators are getting involved. As we discussed in Operation Nexterday, Telefónica uses machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity to enable IoT services in the Tesla Model S in Europe, and separately manages a smart energy meter project that comprises 53 million devices across Great Britain. The company also relies on sensors to offer fleet management solutions to ensure trucks stay on course, meet delivery objectives and manage fuel efficiently. Tomorrow’s fleets of trucks could, then, look quite futuristic, covered in sensors that support various measurements and actions. These systems rely on M2M technology that is already within operators’ grasp and ready to be leveraged.
Partnerships Key to Accelerating IoT Innovation
The IoT opportunity is huge. Cisco estimates the industry could be valued at $19 trillion by 2024. If IoT disruption is already upon us, how do we accelerate its growth?
One key will be the establishment of new partnerships to unlock an open playing field for faster innovation. Mari-Noëlle Jégo-Laveissière, executive vice president of innovation, marketing and technologies at Orange, explained in TMForum Live! the need for telcos to build a partner ecosystem that extends beyond the usual suspects. Today telcos, she explained, are partnering with companies who they do not normally talk to and who are not like them. Examples include automobile manufacturers, pharmaceutical providers and IoT developers. On top of that, open APIs and platforms will allow developers to innovate faster, bringing new IoT solutions to market at a rapid pace.
Comptel has often advocated for the benefit of non-intuitive telco partnerships, specifically agreements between mobile operators and over-the-top (OTT) content providers to deliver new content-driven mobile data packages. Similarly, such out-of-the-box thinking could enable savvy operators to identify new service opportunities in IoT.
Want to learn more about the ongoing telco digital transformation? Contact Comptel Marketing (email@example.com) to find out when our Beyond the Event Horizon roadshow is coming to your city.
And join us in November for Nexterday North, our can’t-miss antiseminar where we will take a non-traditional, bold look by leveraging the concept of Thinking Ahead (looking at other industries to examine our collective blindspot), Thinking Again (re-examining industry learnings to challenge the status quo) and Thinking Beyond (learning from emerging startups who are disrupting the digital world).
To reach their customers, digital and communications services providers need to be able to speak the language of today’s digitally savvy consumers, or “Generation Cloud.” Our new study, released earlier this week, suggests that communications between both parties – mobile operators and their customers – could stand to further improve to the benefit of an enhanced digital buying experience.
Comptel commissioned independent research house Vanson Bourne to survey marketing and technology executives at 50 communications and mobile operators across APAC, EMEA and Latin America. Respondents were asked for their perspectives on sales, marketing and technology investment strategies in the era of Generation Cloud.
According to the results, 70 percent of CMOs and CTO/CIOs are investing in improved customer service capabilities, while 68 percent are focusing on expanding digital service offerings this year. By pointing to these two areas of investment, mobile operators are recognising the rapid change in the way end users – both individuals and businesses – buy, the type of digital services these buyers want, and how they prefer to be served.
Generation Cloud, after all, knows it has all the power in the buyer/seller relationship. These digital natives are eager to research, compare and shop around for highly personalised services that meet their terms.
However, mobile operators also recognise that their current ways of working limit how effectively they can reach and intrigue increasingly demanding consumers. As the survey revealed, some operators (22 percent) feel they lack an adequate understanding of their potential customers, and the wide majority (84 percent) feels current sales models have become irrelevant in a time when customers want personalised, instantaneous offers.
In short, mobile operators aren’t necessarily confident that the way they communicate and serve their customers actually addresses buyers’ most pressing needs. The solution is to shift toward the type of sales, marketing and service playbook we advocate in our book, Operation Nexterday – one that puts the customer at the centre of a new, flexible and intelligent service experience.
It was encouraging, then, to see the majority of respondents agree that investing in next-generation technology is a top priority. One such technology is virtualised and cloud-based infrastructure (cited by 88 percent of respondents), which empower digital and communications service providers with the optimised network architecture they need to bring new and creative services to market faster.
Machine learning and process automation was another technology priority for 84 percent of survey respondents, which is a positive sign that telco CXOs see the analytical value these capabilities provide. With intelligent fast data, operators will be able to draw instant insight from the mountains of data they collect from customers, and immediately refine, enhance and act on that information with in-the-moment personalised offers. Each digital moment is a monetisation opportunity, and operators merely need the technology to maximise each one.
Far from dwelling on telco shortcomings, the survey ultimately underscored that digital and communications services providers know what it will take to succeed in this new market. The question is, do operators have the tools, flexibility and creativity to make the right moves faster than their competitors?
Google made headlines in the spring when it announced it was dipping its toes into the wireless waters with Project Fi, which will rely primarily on free Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide, supported by the Sprint and T-Mobile 4G cellular networks, to establish a continuous network. Project Fi is now back in the news due to reports of high initial demand. Google wrote in an email to hopeful subscribers that it will take until mid-summer for all of those who requested invites to receive full service access, adding that initial feedback has been “very positive.”
The service has earned hype for both its innovative use of technology – with Project Fi, your phone will automatically detect and switch to the best quality connection for your location, whether that’s 4G or Wi-Fi – as well its disruptive service terms. Project Fi is available without a contract, offers unlimited text and talk for $20 per month, plus $10 per GB of data, and includes a credit function that refunds subscribers the cost of any unused data at the end of the month. It’s interesting to note that much of the excitement of this announcement is around data and not voice services, which may underscore the idea that we’ve moved well past voice being the leading draw of cellular services.
There are a few reasons consumers are hopeful that Project Fi will turn the wireless industry on its head – the biggest one, of course, being Google’s reputation as an influential digital disruptor. Additionally, the announcement could not have been better timed, as many consumers are frustrated with the restrictive service offerings they receive from their current wireless operators and are eager for a more flexible and affordable alternative to knock the big players from their pedestals.
At the same time, evidence suggests that Google isn’t interested in a market takeover. The tech giant is known to experiment in the field of connectivity – see its Project Loon initiative and Titan acquisition, which rely on high-altitude balloons and lightweight solar-powered drones, respectfully, to expand LTE availability worldwide.
Additionally, in comments at this year’s Mobile World Congress, product head Sundar Pichai clarified that Google intends to help carriers push the boundaries of wireless, but not necessarily stand alone as a competitive operator at scale.
“Our goal is to drive a set of innovations we think should arrive, but do it a smaller scale, like Nexus devices, so people will see what we’re doing,” Pichai said.
So what can we realistically expect from Project Fi? The initiative represents a starting point in Google’s wireless experimentation. It would seem that the primary goal is to experiment with Wi-Fi-first networks. Could we soon see enough dispersion of Wi-Fi hotspots to make it possible for Google to run an entirely Wi-Fi powered phone service, free from reliance on cell network support and entirely independent to traditional mobile operators? The U.S. is certainly a great testing ground in that respect, as many other countries lack the Wi-Fi density needed to support Google’s experimentation.
Is it possible, too, that Project Fi might help Google prepare for the coming 5G revolution. Many in telecommunications believe that, in order to deliver dramatically more speed and capacity, 5G must be heterogeneous wireless networks built on unlicensed spectrums. Could Project Fi be Google’s attempt to learn what such a network might look like?
Though not completely unique – other operators offer Wi-Fi-first service supported by cellular networks – Google’s signal switching technology and data refunds differentiate the service enough to stand out. At the same time, the project’s early limitations – it’s exclusivity to the Nexus phone and the U.S. – suggests it won’t fully disrupt the mobile industry quite yet.
Instead, Project Fi offers a small platform for Google to experiment, adapt and learn from the technology and consumer behaviours. From there, the company will be able to evaluate whether early results are positive enough to proceed with some sort of larger-scale offering, or if it should leave mobile service to the mobile operators. Either way, Google’s innovative spirit and out-of-the-box approach offers a model for digital and communications services providers to adopt, and the initial excitement around Project Fi underscores Generation Cloud’s hunger for a real mobile revolution.
Download our book, Operation Nexterday, to learn the strategies and solutions that help mobile operators innovate their service offerings and intrigue Generation Cloud consumers.
Comptel was in Nice, France for TM Forum Live!, where the discussion surrounded the innovative technology, emerging consumer trends and unique businesses challenges that face the digital and communications industry now and in the coming years.
The event’s overarching theme involved making the concept of a “digital business” real. We enjoyed the opportunity to hear thoughts and ideas from some of the leading voices not only in telecoms, but also in the greater technology community. We also took advantage of the chance to lend our unique viewpoint on the significant revenue opportunity available to operators who embrace innovative sales, service and marketing strategies through their own Operation Nexterday.
Here are three big takeaways we observed from the event’s keynotes and summit sessions:
1. Digital Transformations Require Radical New Views and Approaches
TM Forum’s new CEO, Peter Sany, led off the keynote schedule with a discussion on the significant ways in which digital technology is transforming our world. He explained that we’re living in a time of major change and opportunity, which is evident by the development of today’s sharing economy, the ongoing innovation of connected devices and the democratisation of technology accessibility.
To manage these transformations and make the most of the opportunities they provide, Sany says operators need to shift their perspective to place the customer front and centre. He also advocates the forming of non-traditional partnerships in telco to enable faster, dynamic innovations.
Sany’s thoughts mirror the views we shared in our book, Operation Nexterday. As we explained, consumers today require instant gratification, maximum flexibility and a high level of personalisation. Operators must embrace a new way of selling, marketing and offering their services, so customers’ needs are put first. That may require unusual partnerships with companies they may now currently view as competitors like over-the-top (OTT) providers – more on that shortly.
2. Infrastructure, Affordability – Two Key Barriers to Digital Expansion
While there are 7.2 billion people on Earth, only 3 billion are connected to the Internet, and connecting those remaining 4.2 billion is a slower process than some might expect. Markku Mäkeläinen knows this – he is the director of global operator partnerships for Facebook, and he is one of the leading minds working on making those connections.
The chief barriers to connectivity that Mäkeläinen has noticed throughout Facebook’s Internet.org project are infrastructure, relevance and affordability. Facebook is trying to solve the relevance challenge by providing free Internet access to users in developing countries, so that those individuals who aren’t aware of the Internet might understand its value in supplying free news and education.
At the same time, operators share the burden of solving the other two challenges – infrastructure and affordability. Much of the developing world only has access to 2G connections, and a significant portion of these regions won’t support the construction of towers or radios. Meanwhile, 500 MB of data is affordable only to 34 percent of users in this part of the world. Facebook is working with operators to sort out these challenges with concepts like a lightweight version of Facebook that consumes fewer resources than the full version, and the operators involved will need to deliver innovative and creative ideas.
3. To Stay Relevant, Telcos Must Collaborate with OTTs
Recently, it’s been a popular observation that we live in a world in which the largest accommodations provider, AirBnB, owns no real estate, the largest taxi service, Uber, owns no cars, and the largest retailer, Alibaba, owns no inventory.
Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO of Bharti Airtel, India’s leading provider of pre- and post-paid wireless and fixed digital communications services, brought up this point as an example of the threat facing operators. Although most innovations in telecoms rely entirely on the infrastructure built and owned by operators, they are not the ones coming up with these ideas, proving that there’s no guarantee that the player who owns the platform has the power.
OTT providers have swooped in to provide new services that speak directly to consumers’ changing behaviours and desires. As many operators stand on the fringes and watch, their own assets are being leveraged to support innovative digital services. Rather than remain on the sidelines, Mehta encourages operators to engage in the business of “enriching lives” and start thinking of ways to partner with OTT providers.
Moharmustaqeem Mohammed, VP of Mass Market Marketing Operations at Telekom Malaysia, shared a similar sentiment in a separate session when he said the true operator struggle of the day is not to identify uniqueness, but rather relevance in a digital ecosystem crafted by consumers. This is also a position we advocate in Operation Nexterday – that to remain relevant in a changing telco landscape, operators must first recognize consumers’ overwhelming influence.
Want to learn more about Operation Nexterday and the telco digital transformation? Contact Comptel Marketing (firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out when our Beyond the Event Horizon roadshow is coming to your city
Data is revealing new monetisation opportunities to operators, not only because customer data usage is increasing considerably in the era of over-the-top (OTT) content services and complex data and third-party content bundles, but also because data itself offers new insights into service demand. However, many operators lack the ability to quickly create and deliver the variety of service offerings customers want, and are not agile enough to react to customers’ changing behaviours. On top of that, the instant nature of today’s digital world means there is less time to capitalise on the rising demand for data.
How can digital and communications services providers possibly provide more data services in less time? This looks like a job for the Monetizer.
In a recent Comptel webinar, “More to Monetise with Limited Time,” I was joined by Tinakaran Ramdas, senior product manager at Comptel, to discuss these trends and identify the superhero solution to the massive data usage monetisation challenge.
The reality is, it will take a heroic effort for operators to manage an increasingly complex service environment. Today’s evolving consumer demand changes the way operators package and sell data offerings – consider new OTT content bundles, roaming data packages, device-specific data packages or shared “family” data accounts.
At the same time, customers are consuming more data during more hours of the day on a wider range of devices (many on several devices at a time), and exposure to new ways of buying means they now desire personalised, in-the-moment offers and a seamless and convenient purchase experience.
These trends offer a great revenue opportunity for digital and communication service providers, but it still takes far too long for many operators to create and tailor the offerings that appeal to Generation Cloud. An irrelevant, mass-marketed offer backed by a slow and cumbersome buying process won’t receive a second look from these digitally native and demanding buyers.
That’s where our superhero – disruptive policy control and charging – can save the day. Policy is moving beyond simply congestion management – it’s now the money-maker of the data world. In fact, policy has become a strategic tool for operators to create and deploy personalised offers faster than ever.
A superhero needs superpowers, and the next generation of policy and charging control offers several. It needs to be:
Energetic – Bringing the speed operators need to configure, launch and profit from new services, with the energy that empowers sales and marketing to seize new opportunities
Ergonomic – Delivering a modern user experience with appropriate solutions for both the marketing team and the IT department, bolstered by a common language that simplifies management for both technical and non-technical users
Shapeshifting – Enabling the adaptability and elasticity operators need to create new services and solutions for emerging technology as its developed
These capabilities empower digital and communications services providers to cut offer creation time from months to minutes. Operators can also quickly adapt not only to current consumer and technology trends, but also those in the future. So where can you find such superpowers?
In the webinar, Tinakaran offers a full look at Comptel’s own superhero policy and charging solution: the Monetizer. He also highlights a handful of interesting customer stories that demonstrate how previous Monetizer implementations enabled faster time to market and creative data services, while laying the groundwork for the new capabilities introduced by our upcoming PCC5 software release. You can visit our website to learn more about the Monetizer and the CPOD interface behind it.
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