Posted: May 15th, 2013 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: customer experience, Management World 2013, mobile, revenue, telco | No Comments »
At Management World 2013 in Nice, France, Keith Willets, the chairman of TM Forum, highlighted something that’s on the mind of every communications service provider (CSP): declining revenues. A lot of this decline isn’t from competition and certainly isn’t from a lack of demand, either. It’s from the radical changes in mobile usage habits around the world.
The drastic decline in SMS, amounting to about $30 billion in lost revenue last year, is one example that Willets mentioned. The text message is swiftly being replaced by IP-driven services like iMessage, leaving no room for CSPs to build new opportunities in the same space. Instead, as Willets explained, they need to look elsewhere.
The Customer Conundrum
Amid the panicking about changing consumer habits, there’s something even more important that’s fallen to the wayside: the consumers themselves. The telecommunications industry has six billion customers around the world, and Willets reminded everyone at Management World 2013 that telco is ranked in the lowest quartile for customer experience.
Changing the way CSPs interact with customers was part of Willets’s survival kit for this “digital storm.” He listed data analytics, real-time offers and bundles as being critical for operators to build a sustainable business and better relationships with customers.
Willets’ point was simple: if CSPs treat their customers well, they’ll be more tolerant and forgiving. In a world where CSPs are scrambling to create new revenue streams, the customer has to stay top-of-mind.
Overcoming the Paradox with Personalisation
What I heard from Willets’s speech was everything that Comptel has been working on. With traditional sources of revenue declining steeply, CSPs have to recalibrate by focusing on personal, customised offers that serve to engage, delight and sell to customers at the same time.
Predictive analytics should be at the core of this approach. If CSPs can use big data to hone in on customers’ behaviours and needs—and automatically and proactively leverage that knowledge for new business opportunities—then this era of sweeping change across the telco industry will clearly be change for the better.
Posted: May 10th, 2013 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: customer experience, Events, Management World | No Comments »
The past few months have been very busy at Comptel. In addition to getting ready for Management World 2013 in Nice next week, we’ve been building partnerships with other organisations that also believe in taking customer experience to the next level for communications service providers (CSPs). By working with like-minded businesses, we have been able to not just help CSPs adapt to current trends, but plan for the future, too.
Here are our two latest joint offerings with our newest partners:
1. Adaptive Next Generation Service Assurance with Accanto Systems
First, we have partnered with Accanto Systems, a pioneer in customer experience management solutions for converged networks, to include Comptel Convergent Mediation with Accanto’s Intelligent Customer Experience Management (iCEM) platform. The result is a powerful, advanced network traffic monitoring tool that empowers CSPs with real-time, actionable intelligence they can leverage to deliver a better quality of service and quality of experience.
The Adaptive Next Generation Service Assurance offering will be critical as CSPs work to accommodate the explosive growth of data traffic and connected device usage, while simultaneously deploying new technologies such as LTE. It’ll be especially handy for service operations because it will enable them to drill down into available data to create a holistic view of network, service and device usage.
“We are happy to partner with Comptel and announce our joint offering to the market,” says Jarkko Multanen, CEO of Accanto Systems. “By combining Comptel’s convergent mediation product with our iCEM platform, we believe we can effectively address the performance management challenges that CSPs currently face, and at the same time, create new opportunities by providing visibility into the customer experience.”
2. Comptel Fulfillment Integration with Salesforce.com
Our other new partnership is with cloud computing leader Salesforce.com. Initially, we have entered a non-commercial agreement in order to revolutionise the way CSPs think about sales, service and innovation by integrating Comptel Fulfillment, our leading platform for catalog-driven order orchestration, with Salesforce.com. This will allow CSPs to better focus on accuracy and timeliness of service delivery.
“Comptel recognises that our customers are driving their focus to becoming ‘customer companies’ and that we need to leverage our platform to help them accelerate their transformation,” says Antti Koskela, senior vice president and CTO of Comptel. “Our next-generation fulfillment platform allows us to innovate in the areas that are most important in helping CSPs focus on the customer experience.”
The Future is Customer-Focused
Both of our partnerships are in line with what Comptel believes is the future of all CSPs: personalising service for every individual customer. We are determined to continue innovating to help CSPs with this mission and when we find a partner working toward the same goal, everybody wins.
Comptel will be at Management World 2013 in Nice, France from 14 -16 May. Stop by at Agora 2#11 if you’re interested in talking more about the future of CSPs and customer experience management. If we’re not there and you want to meet, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted: February 11th, 2013 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Events | Tags: analytics, CIQ4T, fulfillment, Mobile World Congress, order management, Service order management | No Comments »
Most order management implementations rely on an ‘order entry – order orchestration – order execution’ philosophy. It’s a commonly used model, although providers are regularly heard to comment about a lack of visibility into orders, once a service delivery process has begun. This lack of visibility leads to a poor experience for customers who in many cases suffer a poorly configured service and are generally first to flag that there is an issue. The problem is likely to grow and become more relevant to mobile operators, as end-to-end LTE service rollouts and complex Enterprise mobility solutions (including BYOD), add an increasing amount of touch points in the network.
A big challenge faced by CSPs with traditional order management is costly order fallouts. With a lack of visibility and control throughout the order orchestration process, both network resources and the workforce can be deployed or dispatched at incorrect times – typically when earlier pre-qualification stages of service order orchestration have failed to complete. This can be costly in operational and investment terms.
What if you could intelligently and proactively analyse requests for service, before they are placed as orders in the system? What if you could use predictive analytics to perform “smart validation” of orders as they come in, to judge which orders are expected to cause problems? What if you could proactively treat these orders differently? – assign them to a special queue to specifically address and ensure customer satisfaction. Is it possible to leverage fulfillment and analytics to be preventative instead of purely reactive?
Deep analysis into the data used at each critical stage of order orchestration can help to predictively validate feasibility, reveal patterns and identify input behaviour that contributes to higher order fallout rates. Armed with advanced and analytically-enriched information, CSPs can effect real improvements to service delivery accuracy, aid in the improvement of business processes and help to drive down operational costs.
Comptel are available at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona 25-28 February to discuss this and other topics including:-
- Personalising policy and charging powered by predictive analytics
- Monetising mobile broadband with contextual marketing
- Improving QoE based on expected customer value
- “Making inventory work” with a federated approach
Posted: October 2nd, 2012 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: 4G, business operations, catalog, communications service providers, CSPs, OSS/BSS, product lifecycle management, Service Provider IT, SPIT | No Comments »
While some are still a bit hesitant to adopt a service-layer catalog, we’re seeing communications service providers (CSPs) use it more and more as a driver for their overall business operations. This is especially true as service portfolios become broader, and as CSPs realise that simple commercial product catalogs can’t deliver the agility and rapid deployment needed to help them effectively compete. I recently wrote about this and the various benefits catalog can bring to CSPs, especially in terms of making product lifecycle management more efficient. Now, I’d like to dive a bit deeper into why catalog initiatives are a must for service provider IT (SPIT).
Catalog has traditionally played a role in many proof-of-concept exercises, as it can make product development and deployment easier, faster and less expensive. However, most CSPs haven’t followed these ideas through to operational adoption. This is starting to change as emerging technologies are fuelling the need for new tools to manage product lifecycles, and increasing organisational complexity only adds to this need. Meaning, CSPs must manage converging technologies and dispersed capabilities across departmental and service boundaries, which demand that formal management of the service lifecycle be a key part of the OSS/BSS architecture – cue catalog.
While CSPs realise the need for progress, one of the biggest obstacles they face in shifting to a catalog-driven approach is fear of transformation and the subsequent impact on existing processes. Alleviating these fears may be as simple as introducing catalog in phases to various departments rather than to the entire organisation at once. It’s important to think about the longer term benefits, too. CSPs can realise substantial architecture paybacks by integrating a system that wraps and re-uses its legacy infrastructure with new catalog-driven models.
When considering the investments being made in various technologies like 4G, coupled with the demand for personalised product delivery, catalog initiatives seem essential for management and have the potential to ensure true differentiation in the market. There is a very real possibility that the traditional OSS/BSS boundaries and architectures of the past will be completely redrawn, with service catalogs at the centre of the new SPIT platform. Do you agree?
Posted: September 27th, 2012 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: BSS, catalog, Comptel Catalog, Comptel Fulfillment, fulfillment, OSS, provisioning and activation, Service order management | 1 Comment »
Advantages of a catalog-driven fulfillment philosophy
We’re regularly faced with our Service Provider customers and prospects questioning the inclusion of catalog within the Comptel Fulfillment stack – stating quite categorically that “they already have a product catalog” and why would they need another? So I just wanted to put a few words together to demonstrate the real advantages behind the service catalog approach.
More than ever, increasingly complex services depend upon efficient, fast and accurate time-to-market, but too often in many OSS and BSS implementations, product specifications are intrinsically linked to the workflow that implements the service. In the most extreme cases, the workflow itself is the specification of the service. This practice leads to an unmaintainable and inflexible architecture, because every time a change is required to a product, the workflow must be modified. The more changes that are made, the lengthier the workflow becomes, and the more unreadable, unmanageable and unviable it is as a practical architectural solution. Unfortunately, in many cases this tends to be the case for single catalog implementations.
In catalog-driven fulfillment, the service catalog acts as the brains of the system. This means that service order management, provisioning and activation systems are not only able to retrieve product decompositions from the catalog, but also use that information when orchestrating and fulfilling orders. Additionally, in a well architected solution, workflow components can be designed within order management which can be published for discovery by the service catalog.
Comptel’s catalog-driven approach to service fulfillment works independently of workflow design, effectively decoupling product lifecycle management from the technical processes required to implement services. When technical product information is managed in Comptel Catalog, a customer has better visibility on deliverable products. Additionally, they will find it easier to define new products that can be delivered without complex and lengthy workflow creation and modifications.
Therefore, specifying technical product information in a data definition, rather than in a workflow design delivers immediate efficiencies in terms of building, delivering, enhancing/customising and supporting a product. Taking a catalog-driven fulfillment approach will allow a CSP to:-
- Launch products and services faster. Increasing the profitable lifespan of new services, accelerating product launch to meet market expectations for new service and quickening competitive alignment.
- Reduce product launch and management costs. Enabling access to new low volume niche markets, protecting margins in the face of reduced profit on mass market services.
- Enable greater innovation in product and service creation. Customer expectations for tailoring is growing, so maximising the ability to convert network potential into innovative marketable products, particularly products built together with partners, is key.
Posted: August 24th, 2012 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Compelling Cases | Tags: Compelling Cases, Comptel, Comptel Catalog, CSPs, fulfillment, IT, Making Data Beautiful, mobile, order management, provisioning and activation, ROI, service provider, Southern Europe | 1 Comment »
As part of our “making data beautiful” initiative here at Comptel, we’d like to share real-life examples of how we’ve helped communications service providers (CSPs) put this idea into action. Today, we’re launching an ongoing series, “Compelling Cases: Comptel in Action,” that showcases the various successes of our work with CSPs through mini-case studies. These stories will illustrate real-life examples of Comptel’s solutions in action, starting off with today’s inaugural post on increasing productivity through streamlined service delivery.
Realising the need to stimulate growth and accelerate revenue generation, a mobile service provider based in Southern Europe embarked on a task to achieve these goals. To do this, the service provider sought to more efficiently introduce new products and services to its customers and to better manage its assets. After considering several competing vendors, the CSP opted to deploy Comptel Fulfillment, which would enable it to achieve its goals of offering a broader portfolio of products and services and simplify its service creation process.
With Comptel Fulfillment, the CSP would be able to take a multi-dimensional approach to solving its challenge. Specifically, Comptel Provisioning and Activation fully automates the process of activating subscriber orders, Order Management for end-to-end control of customer purchases, and Comptel Catalog for breaking down a sellable product bundle into technical network capabilities.
After beginning work with Comptel, the CSP was able to increase its process and IT efficiency, plus increase operational staff productivity by up to 10%. On top of this, a return on investment (ROI) is anticipated in just 18 months from the time of deployment. Ultimately, the CSP’s fully integrated approach to service order orchestration means they now have streamlined service delivery, improved asset management and a lower total-cost-of-ownership.
This and other third-party validated case studies are available at TechValidate-Comptel Solutions
Posted: June 5th, 2012 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights, Telecom Trends | Tags: analytics, CEM, CIQ4T, contextual intelligence, CRM, Customer Experience Management, telecommunications | 1 Comment »
I’ve recently been asked for my opinions on the difference between Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with relation to the telecommunications sector. This is, indeed, an interesting question, especially considering the subtle, yet remarkable, differences in the answer.
Let’s first consider CRM, which has traditionally been defined as a means for communications service providers (CSPs) to manage the contact and various segmentation parameters of their customers. For instance, these systems provide the ability to build targeted campaigns based on demographic or other more or less rigid segmentation criteria. CRM also enables CSPs to react swiftly when customers are demanding new services or to respond, after the fact, to a negative customer experience.
We are now, however, operating in a time where managing the customer base through high level segmentation or post-event action isn’t sufficient enough, on its own, to ensure a differentiating customer experience. This is where CEM steps in. It can enable organisations to proactively—and even preemptively—engage with, and take appropriate targeted actions to avoid any challenges that might surface, such as quality of service issues.
Yet, the perception still exists that CEM is simply the ability to understand, in-depth, the manner in which services are being used by subscribers and having the availability of related transactional data. While this helps broaden the knowledge about CSPs’ customer bases, their needs and preferences, we are now living in a time when CEM can be extended to encompass true personalised and proactive action.
Coupling real-time data from services and networks with a contextual understanding of a customer’s situation leverages both the CRM and CEM concepts to place real intelligence in the palm of CSPs. This level of contextual intelligence will, undoubtedly, bring with it great customer experience and differentiating opportunities.
The recently announced CIQ4T (Contextual Intelligence for Telecommunications) concept addresses this need and opportunity to link together CRM and CEM. It leverages advanced predictive analytics to provide a holistic, contextual understanding of individual subscribers’ usage patterns, behaviours and circumstances to proactively drive personalised interaction and improve overall experience.
After all, the battle for incumbent versus challenger in the telecommunications space is no longer being fought in the infrastructure build-out, but instead on CSPs’ ability to retain customers and build a positive reputation for service. Subscribers have so many options when it comes to selecting a CSP; it’s imperative for operators to proactively influence and eventually anticipate the needs and wants of its customers. So it really isn’t about defining the difference between CRM and CEM, it’s about making them work holistically together. #CIQ4T
Posted: May 25th, 2012 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: billing, business, charging, CIQ4T, contextual intelligence, customer, innovation, Management World 2012, TM Forum, TNO Information & Communication Technology | 2 Comments »
While the weather remained unexpectedly warm here in Dublin, the conversations at Management World 2012 also heated up this week. Like Keith Willetts discussed in his keynote session, dealing with competition from over-the-top (OTT) players, combating churn and managing revenue growth were big areas of focus at TM Forum’s annual flagship conference. I had the pleasure of sitting in on a session that touched upon these industry challenges and really reinforced the overall theme of innovation.
Henk Ensing, technical consultant for TNO Information & Communication Technology, a Dutch institute for applied science that specialises in helping companies innovate, covered the potential for dynamic billing and why communications service providers (CSPs) need to inject some new thinking into their charging concepts and business processes. He highlighted that the key elements to dynamicity were analysing transaction-based usage, applying intelligent business rules and considering the contextual status of individual customers. Coincidentally, these were the main attributes for Comptel’s own Contextual Intelligence for Telco (CIQ4T) perspective.
Henk went on to state that dynamic billing brings the element of customer trust to a new level and illustrated this with an analogy comparing CSPs to fresh produce market merchants. Many people have a regular routine of going to the market on the weekend, generally stopping by their favorite vendors for particular foods. The vendors, in turn, are familiarised with their customers’ preferences and can tailor the products they sell accordingly or make recommendations on complimentary additional products based on their extensive experience with the produce—further strengthening their interactions. The vendors, however, don’t always have fixed prices on their produce, which may vary depending on factors like the season and supply. Yet, what keeps the customers coming back? It’s the relationships the vendors are building and nurturing.
Similarly, dynamic billing is based on strong customer relationships where each transaction is a unique opportunity to create a positive end-user experience. Taking into account the context of and appropriately targeting each individual customer interaction is key though. For example, CSPs should consider where the customer is in his or her lifecycle and what products will fit his or her specific needs and wants, at an appropriate time that adds true value.
Policies that govern charging and the network have an important role to play in understanding and implementing this dynamic ability. According to Henk, the beauty of dynamicity is that these policies can be changed in real time based on customers’ evolving requirements. Say, if someone gets paid every two weeks, he or she can opt to make a payment during that time and customise it depending on his or her personal preferences.
Henk’s thoughts on dynamic billing and charging concepts fit in nicely with the discussions at Management World 2012 and reflected Comptel’s own thinking on how CSP innovation needs to evolve. Analysing customer behaviour is just one step of the process, but intelligently determining their contexts to make interactions more relevant and personalised will significantly result in a high quality of experience and improve CSPs’ bottom lines. Ultimately, it’s about strengthening loyalty through a focus on relationship enhancement.
Posted: May 23rd, 2012 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Events | Tags: connected, customer experience, digital, innovation, M2M, Management World 2012, revenue monetisation, TM Forum | No Comments »
Hello from Ireland, or as they say in Gaelic, Dia dhuit! Comptel is having a fantastic start to this year’s Management World 2012 – where the sun is shining and the Guinness is never in short supply. This year’s theme is “Rethinking Communications – Enabling Connected Life”, and the key undertones so far seem to be innovation, the customer experience and revenue monetisation.
The keynote speakers on day one of the conference touched on some interesting points to this end. In particular, TM Forum chairman Keith Willets began with the humbling statistic that there are now six billion people connected on the planet, who are cumulatively driving the speed-up of change – a “digital tornado,” he called it.
As this digital revolution occurs, so too comes fundamental changes to mobile architecture, and the big question is – can communications service providers (CSPs) adapt quickly enough and deliver the innovation levels that will be required to survive and prosper? Keith also talked about CSPs needing to continue to break down product silos with IP services and find ways to work with over-the-top (OTT) providers, as well as described this new digital economy as SAASification – with new exciting opportunities emerging for simplified service offerings in various verticals including healthcare, energy and M2M.
So how do you rise to the top of the digital world? Keith assured the audience – do what you do best, and forget the rest. Innovation will be huge, so instead of punishing failure, encourage risk-taking. Look to collaborate and partner with other telecoms software and CSPs to enable and maintain innovation.
And, analytics’ use for personalising products and tailoring services for customers will play a big part at the end. Ultimately, success will come from customer centricity and, in particular, real-time, individualised engagement – after all, Keith asserted, it’s now the customer that holds all of the power!
We’re looking forward to the rest of Management World 2012, and if you’re interested in speaking with us, then swing by the Comptel booth, #64!
Posted: May 16th, 2012 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: News | Tags: Comptel, CSP, customer engagement, customer experience, Customer Satisfaction, fulfillment | No Comments »
Today, we’re excited to announce the availability of Comptel Fulfillment 8, the latest version of our catalog-driven platform that enables communications service providers (CSPs) to streamline and manage the end-to-end process of service order capture to service delivery.
This new version of Comptel Fulfillment was designed specifically to reduce the complexity of today’s multi-faceted, blended communications environment and expedite the deployment and launch of rich communications services. For instance, the highly performing platform, which brings to life our Next Generation Fulfillment strategy unveiled last autumn, enables CSPs to manage a broader portfolio of products and services. This includes the inclusion of third-party applications and content, which supplements the traditional product offerings of the CSP—and simplified service creation with the link to an agile and efficient service catalog.
On top of that, Comptel Fulfillment 8 monitors and expedites the end-to-end process from service-order capture to service delivery with precision and minimal human intervention, which greatly reduces the likelihood of failed orders, disappointed customers and ultimately lost revenue. Utilising a common platform and fully integrated components, such as a statefully aware service and resource inventory, the product understands the status and context of CSPs’ networks, customers and service use – and its open flexibility makes rapidly responding to changing market requirements easier.
With customer expectations continuing to rise, CSPs are under tremendous pressure to meet, and exceed demand with fast, accurate and customised service delivery. We’re proud that our new fulfillment solution enables this by giving CSPs superior command of their products and services and the ability to better incorporate innovations into their offerings. For more information, read today’s full announcement on Comptel Fulfillment 8.