To Win Over Generation Cloud Customers, Become a Part of Their Social Circle

Posted: February 27th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , | 3 Comments »

Today’s digital natives are setting a new standard for digital and communications service delivery. They make up “Generation Cloud,” characterised as independent, preferring to shop on their own terms, among a variety of options, and to make purchasing decisions in real time. They value personalisation and tailored recommendations over traditional marketing and sales tactics. And they’re primarily mobile, on-demand buyers, with 65 percent increasingly shopping on mobile devices versus at brick-and-mortar stores.

Naturally, the majority of users in today’s post-digital era will gravitate toward operators that recognize these values. The question, then, is how can operators create a digital buying experience rooted in those values? In January 2015, Comptel conducted a global consumer survey to shed some light on this.

Based on our findings, to win over Generation Cloud, operators need to act like less of a service provider, and more like a social companion. Sixty-five percent of consumers said they look to social circles to influence their buying decisions, and when youthink about the way we interact with our social circles, a very telling theme emerges. Our social interactions are incredibly personal and unique from person to person. Operators, take note.

Among social circles, we’re most strongly influenced by recommendations from others that truly know us, and our personalwants and needs. The way operators interact with their customers should be no different, and the numbers support that. Sixty percent reported that their buying decisions are directly influenced by tailored recommendations from their operators, and 62 percent are more likely to prefer an operator that makes personalised and relevant product recommendations as opposed to those that target them through mass promotions.

One example of how operators can offer this level of personalisation is the way they charge for data usage. We found that customers were fairly split on their pricing preferences across data plans, with about a third wanting to be billed by the amount of data used, while nearly the same number prefer pricing plans that are based on the amount of time spent using data. About a quarter would like to be billed on specific apps they use, and 10 percent think a combination of all three would be best.

Operators should be offering these options – recommending them, in fact – before customers even have a chance to ask for them, which means transforming business models to operate in Nexterday – the day after tomorrow.

Customers are independent – they don’t need an operator to tell them what to do. They do need an operator to give options. Not just any options, and especially not generalised or impersonal options, but ones that are the right fit for them as individuals. Consumers crave personalisation to guide their decision-making, and if operators are to get ahead (and stay ahead), they must put the power of dictating the buying experience in the hands of the consumer.

Download the complete findings of our 2015 global consumer research here:

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Operation Nexterday: The Playbook for Success in the Age of Generation Cloud

Posted: February 25th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

Life is full of digital moments. Comptel strongly believes that digital and communications service providers who perfect these moments have a unique opportunity to rise above the competition and thrive today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow – namely, Nexterday. In fact, we wrote a book on it.Operation Nexterday launch party

In Operation Nexterday, we describe the perfect storm currently changing the way operators serve customers and drive revenue, securing their future in the digital and communications industry. It all starts with Generation Cloud, digitally savvy group of consumers and businesses who are setting a new standard for service in today’s highly connected digital world.

These buyers make real-time purchasing decisions and shop on their own terms. They don’t want to play by the old rules of engagement, and if your products and services are too restrictive or slow for their needs, they won’t hesitate to switch to one of your competitors.

The numbers back this up – a recent consumer survey we conducted in January 2015 revealed that nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of consumers prefer to purchase digital content when and how it is convenient for them.

And these pressures aren’t restricted to B2C buyers. As our book explains, the trends of hyper-personalised marketing, multi-channel purchasing and instant gratification extend to B2B buyers as well. Instead of separating B2C and B2B channels, we need to start thinking of a unified business-to-human approach.

How do operators adapt to this new landscape?

By embracing Operation Nexterday to help rewrite your playbooks for approaching sales, marketing, technology and service in the age of Generation Cloud consumers and prosumers. Our book describes those who are pioneering the market, offers industry research and features third-party expert insight, offering the strategies you need to transform your business. More specifically, it includes:

  • Examples from operators like T-Mobile and Telefonica, who are successfully turning the industry on its head with new service, sales and marketing, and technology strategies
  • Research and insights from leading industry voices such as Fredrik Jungermann of tefficient, Dr. Mark Mortensen and Anil Rao of Analysys Mason, and Nancee Ruzicka of ICT Intuition
  • Thoughts on transformation through strategic innovation from Professor Neo Boon Siong, Chairman of the Nanyang Executive Education and former Dean of the Nanyang Business School at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University

Operation Nexterday, which will be available in hard and soft copies, will be officially released at a special launch party on Monday, 2 March at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The party will be held at 5 p.m. CET at our stand, #5G40. We invite you to join us to pick up a copy of the book and learn more about our suggested framework for guiding operators’ future in the digital and communications industry.

If you are not attending Mobile World Congress but would like a hard or digital copy of Operation Nexterday, please contact our team at comptel.marketing@comptel.com.

We urge all like-minded telco professionals and businesses to join the Operation Nexterday movement by getting the book and spreading the word, which you can do with the #operationnexterday Twitter hashtag.


Reduce Order Fallout to Compete in Complex Network Environments, Says New Analysys Mason Whitepaper

Posted: February 9th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Reduce Order Fallout to Compete in Complex Network Environments, Says New Analysys Mason Whitepaper

With enterprise customers contributing a considerable portion of revenue to CSPs – even up to a third of total revenue for some Tier 1s – telcos’ focus on the business services segment is greater than ever before. As CSPs look to the B2B arena for new revenue growth, creating and maintaining a positive customer experience is becoming a key driver for their success.

In a recent whitepaper, analyst firm Analysys Mason explored one of the most common barriers to achieving an optimal customer experience: order fallouts.

Specifically, the firm notes that the impact of order fallouts most often comes to bear on customer service. It especially affects the “Join” and “Onboarding” touch points, when orders are captured, processed and provisioned, and services are set up and paid for. Resulting prolonged service delivery can frustrate many customers, even leading them to cancel orders completely, despite all efforts by the operator to resolve the issue.

Plus, it’s not just diminished customer service (and, consequently, a diminished overall experience) that is at stake. Order fallouts can hurt CSPs in other ways too, for example, by increasing their operational costs and creating longer lead-to-cash cycle times.

Analysys Mason outlined some of the top factors contributing to order fallout propensity, one of which is the complexity and newness of a service. For service offerings that have existed for many years (like POTS), CSPs have established a good understanding of how to accurately capture orders, validate them, and design and deliver them at minimal costs. But as newer services like Ethernet, IP VPN, unified communications and VLAN increase in complexity, the volume of failed orders steadily increases in kind. Now, imagine the service complexity and ensuing order fallouts that CSPs will see as they transition to virtualised environments like SDN and NFV!

The top reason for order fallouts, Analysys Mason determined, is poor order quality. Order entry systems typically rely on standard templates without consideration for things like specific configuration requests, or up-to-date information on the availability of network and IT resources. As a result, a gap emerges between what the system thinks can be delivered, and what can realistically be delivered.

Exacerbating the issue, this kind of validation technique is often applied later in the order orchestration process, causing duplicated efforts and even further delays, and ultimately damaging the customer experience – something CSPs cannot afford.

Clearly, there is a strong need for CSPs to deploy more robust order validation techniques, especially during the earlier stages of the order capture process, to reduce order fallout potential.

Joining forces with cloud-based solution providers Salesforce and CloudSense, Comptel is fulfilling this by offering a service order validation solution, which improves order quality and reduces order fallouts with real-time, pre-order service design feasibility and validation via the cloud. Bringing enhancements like this into order management systems will be essential as network services continue to evolve towards virtualisation, and accurate and efficient service order orchestration becomes a primary competitive differentiator.

Want to learn more about order fallouts? Download the Analysys Mason whitepaper, “Reducing order fallouts: Key to success with business services.”

Download


A Review of Comptel’s 2014 Business and 2015 Outlook

Posted: February 6th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on A Review of Comptel’s 2014 Business and 2015 Outlook

Comptel’s growth accelerated towards the end of the year. Our sales in Q4 grew by approximately 21% compared to last year, and  our order backlog grew significantly compared to the previous year.

During the second half of 2014, we won several new customers as well as several multi-year deals with our existing customers. In Q4, we won two new customers, both in South America. Looking at the full year, we doubled our new customer wins: to eight in 2014 compared to four in 2013.

Our new solutions grew almost 26% in Q4, as well. However, our full-year expectations for new solutions did not materialise as we had expected. Our current business was strong and grew by 5% in 2014 as a whole and compared to the previous year.

Regionally, Asia-Pacific grew throughout the year, Europe had a very strong second half, and the Middle East performed as planned in 2014. As previously stated in 2014, our challenges were in the South America region.

Our net profit improved also significantly from previous years due to some previously made tax changes in Asia and also due to some new decisions by the tax authorities. Going forward, we expect this to reduce our effective corporate tax rate.

We ended the year with a solid balance sheet and continue to be net cash positive. During 2014, we secured 26 significant orders, valued over EUR 0.5 million. In 2013, the comparable number of orders was 17. The Group’s reported order backlog increased from the previous year, from EUR 40.8 in 2013 to EUR 55.2 million at the end of the 2014 financial year. The company’s total backlog including multi-year orders beyond 12 months is more than EUR 70 million.

New Organisation

Comptel renewed its organisation in the beginning of 2015. The new organisation reflects the company’s focus on the two core business areas. Going forward, the two business units are: “Comptel Intelligent Data” and “Comptel Service Orchestration.” The Comptel Intelligent Data business unit includes Comptel Convergent Mediation, Comptel Policy and Charging Control and Analytics. The Comptel Service Orchestration business unit includes Comptel Provisioning and Activation, Comptel Fulfillment and Comptel Inventory.

Moreover, the company continues to have common sales and services organisations and corporate functions. In addition, Comptel established a new business unit, which will concentrate on new ideas and products in the early stage to develop them further.

Business Outlook and Markets

The business environment and industry of telecommunications operators is at a clear turning point, since new technologies and business competitors are entering the traditional telecommunications market. We expect the trend to continue in 2015.

While fundamental investments are targeted to high bandwidth, 4G and fibre networks, operators have a strong need to develop and launch new services and improve the quality of the customer experience, to gain the full potential of their investments in a heavily competitive market. Fierce competition inside the telecommunications industry and against the newcomers in the same market requires that operators improve their business processes continuously and pay special attention to their cost structure.

The significance and role of software in managing the telecommunications networks and in enabling more business for operators will further increase. We expect that the implementation of new network technologies and services will slightly increase the value of the software market and will create demand for larger software delivery projects. The operators will require both services and new project deliveries that create a strong basis for business growth. Network technologies will also be moving to software-based cloud environments at an increasing pace, and will bring new and more extensive business opportunities for our service orchestration and intelligent data solutions.

We expect the 2015 net sales to grow compared to the previous year, and we expect operating profit to be in the range of 8-12%, excluding one-time charges. Characteristically, a significant part of Comptel’s operating profit and net sales is generated in the second half of the year.


Comptel Joins Intel Network Builders to Help Further Define NFV and SDN’s Future

Posted: February 4th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Comptel Joins Intel Network Builders to Help Further Define NFV and SDN’s Future

By Daniel Tyrode, Strategic Product Manager, Comptel

Comptel has been closely following the development of both network function virtualisation (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) through multiple forums, events and initiatives. As my colleague Stephen Lacey wrote recently, we decided to lend our voice to NFV and SDN standardisation by joining the European Telecommunications Standards Institute’s (ETSI) NFV specialisation group in 2014.

At the same time, we explored an industry-led initiative to contribute to NFV and SDN’s future, with the idea of accelerating innovation. The Intel Network Builders (INB) program looked to be a perfect fit, and we are pleased to share that late last year, Comptel officially became an INB member organisation.

Why the INB?

INB serves as a cross-industry platform for collaboration between more than 100 communications service providers (CSPs), software vendors and hardware manufacturers within the NFV and SDN ecosystem. The INB’s goal is to leverage the collective experience of its member organisations, to identify ways to make NFV and SDN infrastructure easier to build and operate.

A key advantage for the INB is that its members are able to innovate and find solutions much more quickly than a typical standardisation body. The INB’s work is intended to support – and not negate – the efforts of organisations like ETSI by implementing short- and mid-term solutions that may later influence hard-and-fast standards.

Our interest in joining INB stemmed from recognition that new market pressures are changing telecommunications faster than the industry can manage. Competition is coming from all sides, including major cloud vendors who are edging their way into the market and putting pressure on traditional telecoms players to innovate.

We knew there was an opportunity for Comptel to contribute solutions, as we have a unique view of NFV and SDN infrastructure challenges that few others possess.

How Comptel Contributes

Comptel’s innovative service orchestration stack offers a complete end-to-end view of NFV and SDN, which provides an important foundation to orchestrate and manage end-to-end services. While many in INB focus on finding solutions to back-end infrastructure challenges, few focus on how NFV and SDN will impact the customer experience at the same time.

Comptel has an interesting value proposition for both sides of the equation. On the back end, our order management, mediation, analytics and policy control solutions can all be run as network functions on virtualised hardware, while our Service Orchestration (SO) Configure Price Quote (CPQ) interface work gives us a perspective into how customers will order and provision the new services that software-based functions will enable.

This holistic view and the strength of our proven, end-to-end product portfolio is what appealed to INB organisers when we showed our interest in membership.

The Advantage for Operators

We are excited to develop partnerships with our peer INB groups and have identified a number of intriguing proofs-of-concept that we believe offer potential for NFV innovation, particularly in the area of service orchestration automation.

Comptel customers should likewise be excited, because collaborative efforts like INB are a boon to operators that desire faster access to flexible and cost-efficient solutions. No one company has all the answers, but through the INB framework, key players in the telco market have an opportunity to drive some of the blueprints for NFV and SDN implementation. Better still, the INB enables quicker speed-to-market for the type of innovative solutions that will change the industry forever.

Visit our SDN/NFV Resource Library to learn more about how cloud and virtualisation technology helps operators unlock cost savings, enable flexible networks and compete on a higher playing field.

Come and see it in practise at Mobile World Congress 2015. Comptel will be located in Hall 5 at Stand 5G40. Email comptel.marketing@comptel.com to pre-arrange a meeting.


In Nexterday, There is More to Monetise but Less Time to Do It

Posted: February 2nd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Monetizer™

The always-on, “Generation Cloud” is quickly developing new habits when it comes to data usage. Not only do these digital natives consume more, they use several devices – often at the same time – to access the content and applications they want. They expect it to be available whenever, wherever and on any device – even their car, house or watch might be connected to the Internet.

Fast and omni-device access to data enables people to change the way they work, interact with their friends and families, shop, learn and much more. It helps them improve their quality of life. For these reasons, customers are willing to pay for their data usage. And many of them are willing to pay a premium to enjoy their digital moments faster and with better service quality.

Consumers’ preferred data service buying experience is developing in tandem. “Generation Cloud” expects personalised, in-the-moment offers and a seamless purchase process. When provided, customers are willing to spend more.

Communications service providers (CSPs) need to act now and evolve their marketing and selling to keep in line with how customers are buying today and in the future. By adopting an “Operation Nexterday” approach, operators can anticipate consumers’ needs and maximise their interactions, monetising more in less time than ever before.

Sell something you don’t own – but take control

Today, CSPs’ bundling of third-party content and applications has become almost commonplace; it’s no longer seen as “special.” Selling something you don’t actually own doesn’t mean that you are out of control, though. Tighter integration between CSPs and Over-the-Top (OTT) players, as well as policy control and charging can help you optimise the buying experience and differentiate.

Partnered content or services, for example, are often loosely attached to CSPs’ offers. It might be a discount code passed onto a customer for use when he or she – separately – signs up for Spotify or Netflix. But consider the possibilities if the buying experience and the policy rules for handling and charging for this specific data traffic for this specific customer were tightly integrated.

Complexity is mounting – but…

Tighter integration and context-aware personalisation increase the complexity in policy and charging control. Dynamic changes in user behaviour and the competitive landscape will only add to this complexity, as will the Internet of Things (IoT) and voice over LTE (VoLTE).

Just think about the ultimate offer that contains all of the required ingredients such as subscription, rating, Quality of Service (QoS), monthly fees, cost control, roaming data package, advice of charge, applications, VoLTE and much more, all in one bundle – that’s a lot to deal with all at once and to cater to a very diverse audience.

Traditional PCRF and charging do not offer the sufficient flexibility and agility; thus, the legacy setup with yesterday’s offer design tools lack the ability to manage complexity efficiently. The complexity that arises is also the result of network upgrades, adding new capabilities and new elements like IMS and EPC. Due to the ‘patchwork’ architecture, every change takes too much time.

One size fits one

The era of one-size-fits-all campaigns is over. Rather, launching a number of agile, micro-level, long-tail campaigns that are tailored for smaller customer segments is the way forward if CSPs are going to profit. This is because offers, including the technology to enable them like policy and balance management rules and rating, have become much more complex.

Policy and charging rules are no longer stand-alone entities; they are blended. And on top, they will need to seamlessly integrate with predictive analytics and machine learning, to see and tap into patterns that the human mind just can’t. CSPs can then predict customer behaviour. They can predict network quality or outages. They can determine the best offer for each unique customer situation. And their systems’ learning never stops.

… but there’s more to monetise in customers’ digital moments

Data usage monetisation is a huge revenue opportunity, requiring maximum speed and flexibility for the offer design to be successful. System alignment and a contextual understanding of “Generation Cloud” customers are just as vital. In order to capitalise on this, CSPs should natively combine siloed policy control and charging functions. On top of this, they must add historical and anticipated insights on their individual customers and network traffic trends. Operators that can combine these will propel their business to “Nexterday” and be a fierce competitor in the post-digital era.

Comptel will be attending Mobile World Congress, taking place 2-5 March 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. Interested in continuing this discussion on perfecting and monetising your customers’ digital moments? Email comptel.marketing@comptel.com to set up a meeting, or visit us in Hall 5, Stand #5G40 to pick up a book about “Operation Nexterday.”