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.