Comptel Acquires Xtract

Posted: January 30th, 2012 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Last week, Comptel announced its intention to acquire Xtract, a company headquartered in Espoo near Helsinki (Finland) and specialising in advanced analytics. The purpose of the acquisition is to extend Comptel’s product portfolio and expertise, specifically with a view to deliver on the “event-analysis-action” vision outlined in the company’s strategy, which was communicated to the market in Q4 2011.

Comptel’s strategy is focused on helping communications service providers (CSPs) to act as service aggregators (i.e. blending together services from multiple sources), and to use data about customers and operations to drive real-time business decisions and deliver services. This strategy builds on Comptel’s current expertise, i.e. processing a large amount of usage data (“event”) and making things happen in the network or elsewhere (“action”), e.g. fulfilling a service order or implementing a policy.

Comptel believes that by analysing the data they process in real time, CSPs can turn that data into actionable information, which can be acted upon automatically. This will allow CSPs to improve their interaction with their customers, offering better services to them and to their partners (e.g. third-party providers), resulting in increased revenues and reduced churn. In many ways, this can be seen as a next step in customer experience management.

Clearly, the missing piece in this vision was the “analysis” part, i.e. advanced analytics software. Comptel considered a number of possible acquisition targets in the analytics space. Comptel chose Xtract for a number of reasons, including the real-time subscriber behaviour analytics capability; the expertise and thought leadership in advanced analytics, particularly in telecoms; and the customer base, including major telecom references. In fact, Comptel had already partnered with Xtract in 2011, most notably creating a demo that was presented to delegates at the Comptel User Group (CUG) in June. That demo was extremely well received by operators attending the event.

This acquisition is clearly an exciting development for Comptel and Xtract, and customers and partners. Comptel will be sharing more details about its vision and plans at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from 27 February – 1 March. So why not arrange to meet there to find out more (email comptel.marketing@comptel.com)?


VanillaPlus Policy Control Features – A Sneak Peek

Posted: January 20th, 2012 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Policy control is near and dear to us here at Comptel, and we’re very excited for the upcoming February / March issue of VanillaPlus that will have a special focus on this area. In fact, Comptel has contributed some thoughts for inclusion in that issue, and we’d like to provide you with a sneak peek.

In one feature, Comptel CEO Juhani Hintikka weighs in on policy management as a means of bandwidth conservation and as a way to create upsell opportunities. Juhani explains how this is becoming a reality as policy concepts evolve and mature, and discusses additional opportunities available to communications service providers (CSPs) if they can take advantage of this function. This becomes especially relevant with the rollout of LTE, where almost every user transaction must travel through the policy control engine. As such, the Policy Charging Rules Function (PCRF) must be able to both handle the scale and complexity of these transactions—calling for a need to combine OSS flexibility and support to fit CSPs’ business models as well as provide network-level transaction processing.

In another article, Comptel’s policy control solutions manager, Joonas Ojala, shares his thoughts on how policy management will allow CSPs to better control their bandwidth to best provide a package that fits customer needs. To do this, CSPs need to steer away from technical attributes and focus more-so on use cases and analysing customer behaviour in order to differentiate service packages appropriately. For example, those who surf the web randomly should have a different option than corporate customers who may have a higher priority allocated to them in terms of speed.

To learn more about Comptel’s thoughts on these topics, check out the upcoming issue of VanillaPlus!


Best Wishes for the Holiday Season!

Posted: December 23rd, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

With the holidays and New Year just around the corner, we wanted to briefly reflect on the milestones Comptel achieved in 2011. Most notably, we celebrated our 25th anniversary, which is pretty remarkable in the telecoms software industry. Comptel was also honoured for multiple awards, announced several customer projects like the catalog-driven service fulfillment deal with NBN CO, unveiled our Next Generation Fulfillment Strategy and hosted a successful 14th annual User Group.

Each holiday season, we send our greeting cards electronically and donate the money saved from the traditional, printed cards to a charitable fund. This year, Comptel has selected Plan International to receive our donation (last year, we worked with the Kileva Foundation). It is one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world, and works to promote child rights and bring millions out of poverty.

Comptel’s donation will support Plan’s mission to achieve lasting improvements in the quality of children’s lives in at least 50 developing countries. For those who would like to get involved with Plan International, you can learn more here.

To all our customers, partners, investors and friends, we wish you a peaceful and happy holiday season and look forward to another fruitful and cooperative year in 2012!


Management World Americas Video: Diego Becker on Show Trends

Posted: November 16th, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Events, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Between meetings, presentations and all the other happenings at Management World Americas, we managed to steal a moment of time with Comptel’s vice president of the Caribbean and Latin America (CALA), Diego Becker, to discuss his thoughts on the event. Customer experience has been a common theme at the show, and in this short video, Diego expands on this and shares some thoughts on additional trends he’s seen arise from the event. Take a look at the below video for an update from the Management World Americas floor!


More from Management World Americas: Why Attend Tradeshows?

Posted: November 10th, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | No Comments »

This was the question TM Forum’s president and CEO, Martin Creaner, posed during Tuesday’s keynote speech at Management World Americas in Orlando. He noted that almost everyone in the industry is aware of the current challenges facing and opportunities awaiting communications service providers (CSPs), from increasing pressure on revenues and the threat of cyber security, to the potential of data mining and the impact of new regulations. With competition at every turn, Creaner believes that CSPs must transform or risk being relegated into dumb pipe status—delivering someone else’s services to someone else’s customers for a low return.

And the real value of attending tradeshows and conferences isn’t to find out about these trends, but rather to explore how our peers are addressing them. And it seems that every CSP’s strategy is centered on growing new revenues while maintaining a superior customer experience.

CSPs are looking at innovative marketing techniques, new pricing models and more, in order to grow revenue and offset the erosion of traditional income streams. They’re also looking at innovative content services to generate complimentary additional revenue, with things like smart grids, M2M and mobile payments. These all have huge potential but also pose huge risks because, as Creaner said, you don’t know what you don’t know.

In that same vein, it’s a reality that OTT players and complex value chains have a distinct presence in the market, and the only way to assume a role here is if the CSP can add value. Creaner believes that the fact that CSPs own a network, or own lots of customers is not enough—to penetrate the OTT market, they will need to prove they are adding a particular value that the whole industry needs.

Ultimately, when it comes to maintaining and growing the customer experience, a holistic view is needed. CSPs must focus on end-to-end customer experience management and be in a position to manage service quality across the key value chains.

We’re excited to continue this conversation with colleagues and peers at the show, approaching Management World Americas and the ever-changing telecom world in general with an open mind.


Management World Americas: Cocktails with Comptel and Discussions around Data

Posted: November 9th, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This year’s Management World Americas, taking place in Orlando, Florida, is buzzing with excitement and even may be the biggest yet, with a rumored 500 attendees! To kick things off, Comptel hosted a cocktail reception on Monday evening for press and analysts, which involved a lively discussion around OSS/BSS industry trends, particularly fulfillment. At the reception, Comptel’s CEO Juhani Hintikka presented the company’s strategy and described how Comptel is addressing the most pressing issues challenging communications service providers (CSPs) today.

One of the most prominent hurdles is the volume explosion – with mobile data making up 30% of traffic, and still growing, and video traffic alone expected to consume 66% by 2015. Juhani asserted that this should be seen as an opportunity rather than a challenge: if that data can be turned into information, this would create a basis to really differentiate and enhance customer experience.

This is especially true when it comes to over-the-top (OTT) players. Instead of competing with them, CSPs must begin to think of how to work with them, bringing to the table some key assets. Those assets include the control of the network, the BSS/OSS infrastructure (being able to deliver and charge for services), but also potentially the understanding of customers – which is where turning data into information comes into play. In other words, OSS plays a role in creating a reliable ecosystem that is attractive to potential partners.

However, CSPs are not there yet. What they need is to be able to turn data into actionable information, or as Juhani put it, deliver on the new paradigm: event – analysis – action, in real time.  In other words, Juhani believes the real value is to act in real time, jumping on an issue when it’s hot instead of letting it fester. If you can get the analytics right, you gain an opportunity to increase revenue – adding value rather than simply pushing a technology.

This message was well received by the press and analyst present at the event.

Stay tuned for more updates as we take in all that Management World Amercas has to offer!


Survey Says: Close Customer Focus and Real-Time Data Analysis Key

Posted: July 7th, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

In addition to organising an industry analyst day and customer / partner presentations, Comptel moderated an interactive session focused on the customer experience during last month’s Comptel User Group (CUG). The session, which involved our partners Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent, surveyed nearly 100 attendees on the evolving state of the customer experience, the role network and other service data and OSS play, and the significant potential revenue opportunities for communications service providers (CSPs). Like our past research, it yielded quite interesting results!

Respondents first indicated that they believe CSPs, when compared to over-the-top (OTT) players, device manufacturers and operating system companies, provide the best customer experience. However, as Cisco’s Russ Kaufmann brought up, OTT players have a head start in providing good customer experience for cloud services. Alcatel-Lucent’s Pierre Dubost also made a good point—if asked the question of who provides the best customer experience two years ago, there likely would have been a very different answer. But, CSPs are really trying to invest in customer care and focus on driving brand loyalty rather just pushing products.

Supporting this, nine out of ten participants pointed to customer experience management as one of the major factors contributing to operators’ survival and success—because as Kaufmann pointed out, when things do go wrong, it can greatly affect churn. These responses support those of a Comptel-sponsored Vanson Bourne survey, which previously identified customer experience management as a significant potential revenue opportunity. Eighty-seven percent of consumers said that their quality of experience influences their allegiance to their CSP, and the majority of them would not only move but also pay more money for faster, more personalised services.

While the importance of a high customer experience was clear, there was general agreement that it’s difficult to determine what exactly will satisfy each customer. More than half (55%) of participants indicated that network performance has the greatest influence on the customer experience, yet all of the other responses varied. Dubost was right in saying that all of these factors are impactful—ultimately, CSPs require a holistic view of customer behaviour in order to better manage (and take the necessary actions to ensure) the customer experience.

Clearly aligned in thought, 100% of survey respondents recognised the value of leveraging network and other service data and their OSS; however, only about one-third of CSPs noted that they are fully utilising this information. There is a huge opportunity for operators to gain superior insight into customers and improve end-users’ experiences. With real-time data analysis and a close customer focus, CSPs can also boost their bottom lines, for example, through profiling for targeted marketing campaigns and traffic shaping for premium services.

Comptel is excited to see how operators take advantage of the opportunities a real-time, interactive and personalised OSS platform presents. What do you think of the interactive session discussion? For more information about the survey results, please contact comptel.marketing@comptel.com.


Closing out the 2011 Comptel User Group

Posted: June 20th, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Another Comptel User Group has come to an end. Last week, nearly 200 communications service providers (CSPs), partners, industry analysts and Comptelians from around the world travelled to Helsinki to discuss OSS/BSS and the importance of marrying technology with business strategy – and to celebrate Comptel’s 25th Anniversary.

Three major areas stood out, especially during Wednesday’s CSP presentations. First, and unsurprisingly, was managing the data and device explosion with OSS/BSS. Country host DNA Finland spoke about its application of policy control to help cope with subscribers’ demand for mobile broadband. The operator emphasised the importance of differentiation and network resource prioritisation / utilisation in order to keep its customers satisfied and come out on top in a fiercely competitive market.

Harmonizing OSS/BSS was also largely talked about during the conference. Two of our oldest customers, one from Latin America and one from Europe, reviewed their initiatives to increase efficiencies—whether in terms of cost, service delivery, etc. The first discussed its focus on migrating pre-paid customers to post-paid, while the second explained how it has been modernising its inventory system by consolidating and automating interfaces and outsourcing application maintenance.

Lastly, several CSPs shared how they were leveraging OSS/BSS to cater to specific market needs and thus grow their revenues. A Brasilian cable MSO touched upon how it is looking to mediation to help increase productivity and optimise customers’ home visit experiences (e.g. for installation and service support). In another case, a Kuwaiti operator talked about how it is enabling real-time, online provisioning and activation with Comptel Dynamic SIM Management—all to fulfill the region’s desire for vanity numbers.

There were certainly some interesting stories and takeaways this year! Attendees, should you have any additional feedback on the 2011 Comptel User Group content, we welcome your thoughts. Or if you would like to learn more about any of the above areas and how Comptel can help, please contact comptel.marketing@comptel.com.


Happy Birthday Comptel!

Posted: June 16th, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Today marks Comptel’s official 25th birthday. This is quite an accomplishment in the OSS and broader telecoms market! As our head of corporate development, Simo Sääskilahti, said in a recent press release, it really is testament to Comptel’s close collaboration with customers and focus on developing long-term partnerships.

Yesterday, during his Comptel User Group welcome speech, CEO Juhani Hintikka highlighted some of the key milestones in our quarter-century history. Did you know that…?

  • Comptel’s mediation solution supported the first GSM call in 1991.
  • Today, we serve more than 280 communications service providers across 85 countries and reach more than one billion subscribers worldwide.
  • The Comptel Dynamic OSS is behind 20 of the 30 largest mobile operators and processes approximately 20% of the world’s mobile CDRs.
  • Comptel has delivered approximately 1300 projects since its start.
  • About sixty percent of the company is located outside of our Helsinki, Finland headquarters. In fact, the office in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is rapidly becoming one of our largest.
  • Comptel User Group gold sponsor and partner IBM is also celebrating an important birthday today.

We’re proud to have helped so many operators empower their communications services, better serve their subscribers and drive their businesses forward. The customer case study presentations yesterday were great proof points of our collaborative efforts and successful deployments–the feedback and enthusiasm we’ve since had has been excellent. For those customers and partners in attendance at the Comptel User Group, we hoped you’ve enjoyed your time in Helsinki and celebrating our birthday with us.


Customer Experience Takes Centre Stage at the Comptel User Group

Posted: June 15th, 2011 | Author: Olivier Suard | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

We began the 2011 Comptel User Group yesterday with our second annual OSS/BSS industry analyst day. As I previously mentioned, customer experience was a major theme within each of the presentations.

Our CEO, Juhani Hintikka, first explored the concept of data as the new oil—operators haven’t tapped the potential of subscribers’ information, he explained. In order to create customer loyalty and, at the same time, derive new sources of revenue, they need to exploit every event or transaction in a customer’s lifecycle (without compromising privacy) in order to gain critical insight and take proper action in real time.

Greg Scullard from Comptel’s CTO Office took this thinking a step further. Operators have largely focused on processing orders without developing real relationships with customers. But, as he noted, time is of the essence, and it’s the details that are paramount to winning customers’ hearts, minds and wallets. Operators should instead make analysing subscribers’ behaviours a priority; by doing so, they can find a way to interact with customers much earlier than points of sale, proactively ease their frustrations and prevent churn.

Whether speaking about next-generation fulfillment, the evolution of mediation and charging, or the potential of these two core Comptel areas when combined (e.g. dynamic SIM management), the leadership team proved that operators really need to think about OSS as an integral component to improving the customer experience and enabling their businesses.

Comptel User Group - Radisson Blu Espoo

Overall, the day’s conversations on customer experience were informative and lively, and industry analyst feedback on our corporate strategy and technology vision was positive. We look forward to building on the discussions today with our customer and partner presentations, and tomorrow with several interactive roundtable sessions.