By Harry Järn, Head of New Business Ventures, Comptel NXT
Last week’s Nexterday North delivered big ideas from industry experts, business leaders and futurists who discussed the impact of digitalisation on our world. It also included one big surprise: the launch of Comptel’s FWD, a solution that we believe will revolutionise how operators serve customers in the next age of digital services.
What is FWD? It’s a full E2E, cloud-based, white-labelled, solution for operators.
The basic components of FWD, which includes SMPL, the native app, CTRL, the cloud-based controlling system and CNSL, the browser-based operator management tool, combine to create a complete solution for enabling and managing mobile data purchasing.
The native app radically simplifies how mobile customers purchase data. It puts customers in the driver’s seat by letting them set their own terms for buying data. It also puts operators in a better position to monetise mobile data at a time when customers desire more control of service terms and highly personalised, instantaneous service.
Our own mobile customer survey demonstrated why many subscribers are frustrated with the current state of mobile data purchasing. According to the report, 65 percent of consumers struggle to find a mobile data package that fully meets their needs, while 62 percent feel their mobile operator lacks a wide enough range of package options.
Part of that frustration can be tied to rigid mobile data packaging. Though they currently buy data by the gigabyte, customers aren’t sure just how much data they need. Is a 1GB package enough if you only plan to check emails and surf the Web? Is a 10GB plan economical for someone who watches streaming video on their smartphone?
FWD eliminates customer confusion by empowering mobile users to easily buy time-based data access. Here’s how it works: Let’s say a user wants to browse Facebook for just a few minutes. After he opens the Facebook app, he’ll be prompted with a few time-based data options, whether it’s one minute or one month of access. Once the data packet is purchased, the user is free to browse Facebook without limits, and he can easily extend his session if he needs more time.
That means no more bill shocks for surpassing their data overages. No more frustrating data throttling in the middle of a streaming television program or movie. No more complex, extended data service plans. It’s a simplified purchasing process that ties directly into customers’ desire for data control. Our survey found that 65 percent of mobile users want to set their own terms for buying digital content and services. FWD lets them do that.
The FWD management tool for operators opens up new possibilities to sell, target and market mobile data, as well as monitor your business performance in real time. You have full control over offer creation, which means you can experiment with new ways to entice your mobile customers. Embedded analytics will help you understand how your customers consume mobile data and allow you to react accordingly, which could mean dynamic pricing that helps you run a more efficient and profitable network. All of this analysis occurs instantly and in-the-moment, not after a month of data crunching.
We’re also excited about the possibilities FWD offers operators in tapping into a new market: the 2 billion individuals worldwide who have not yet been connected to the internet. With smartphone penetration expected to take off in emerging markets, the question of bringing all these new mobile users only will need to be answered. FWD provides a compelling solution because it’s easy to use, fosters customer engagement and loyalty, and encourages customers to spend more on mobile data.
Digitalisation is forcing many operators to re-think how they engage with and serve a new breed of mobile consumer. Comptel is excited to help operators innovate their service approach and drive toward a digital business revolution.
It’s hard to believe that 2014 is just about to come to a close! Like we’ve discussed in Decembers past, Comptel sends season’s greetings cards electronically and donates the money saved from the traditional, printed cards to a charitable fund.
Last year, Comptel selected UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. In 2012, we started a project with Kiva, an organisation focused on connecting people through financial lending to empower entrepreneurs. Our contribution to this non-profit has since generated 38 loans in 24 countries.
In 2011, we donated to Plan International, one of the oldest and largest children’s development organisations in the world, which works to promote child rights and bring millions out of poverty. And, our donation for 2010 went to the Kileva Foundation, which helped pay for the building of a Kileva Eastfield Primary School classroom.
Drum roll for this year’s chosen charity…which is Right to Play! While food, water and shelter are essential, so is a childhood, complete with education and opportunities to actively engage with other children. There are areas of the world today where children are not able to experience the benefits of play – and Right to Play aims to tackle this problem.
Right to Play uses the power of play to educate and empower children to be guardians of their own health and active participants in their communities. The organisation’s programs create positive experiences and teach important life skills that help children adopt and maintain lifelong healthy behaviours and attitudes.
There is more to come in our work with Right to Play – stay tuned! But, in the meantime, we wish you, all of our customers, partners, investors and friends, a peaceful and happy holiday season and look forward to another fruitful and cooperative year in 2015.
By Jussi Ware, Vice President, Australia and New Zealand, and Alliances APAC, Comptel
After 15 years of business in Australia and New Zealand, Comptel celebrated the opening of a new office in Sydney, Australia on 4th December.
Our business and customer base in Australia and New Zealand have grown steadily since we opened our original regional office in 1999. Today, eight of the leading telcos in the Australian and New Zealand market are Comptel customers. In recent years, Comptel has played an important role, in particular, in national broadband initiatives both in Australia, supporting NBN Co, and in New Zealand, supporting Chorus and Enable as part of that country’s Ultra-Fast Broadband programme.
The new office celebrates our continued commitment to support communications service providers and other telco industry players in Australia and New Zealand.
It was a pleasure to host a party to reinforce this and Comptel’s success in this market. Guests included local customers and partners such as NBNCo, Tech Mahindra, Alcatel-Lucent and Pactera. Representatives from Finpro, Team Finland and the Finland-Australia Chamber of Commerce also brought some Finnish flavor to the party.
Mr. Pasi Patokallio, Ambassador of Finland for Australia and New Zealand, gave the welcome address followed by comments from Comptel CEO Juhani Hintikka.
We are constantly looking for opportunities to add value and provide local support and relevant solutions to our customers around the globe. The new Sydney office will allow Comptel to further grow within the Australian and New Zealand telco markets, while strengthening our ability to serve customers in this part of the world.
You probably have not been able to avoid hearing the term, “Big Data”, nor about the expectations of its limitless possibilities for communications service providers (CSPs). CSPs have a unique opportunity to delve into the spectrum of network, customer, service and other information at their fingertips and flowing through their OSS/BSS, eventually using it to improve both internal operations and customer-facing processes.
But Big Data sadly often means Big Projects. It is not just management of the three core “Vs” – volume, velocity and variety – that contributes to this, so can the setup of the technology to store and collect the data. But often, the biggest challenge stems from the fourth “V”, or value. What do operators need to do in order to drive true value from Big Data? I believe that there are some key requirements for being successful here:
Have a strategic business objective to focus on. Do not just collect data for the sake of collecting data, but have a goal in mind and a roadmap of what to do to drive more value when you reach that goal. (Buy-in from the boardroom, of course, helps, too, especially with issues like breaking down organisational silos.)
Don’t start with a blank slate. It’s important to have a set of proven, productised applications to address your business pains, whether it be customer experience-driven like smart throttling or network-focused for proactive service management, for instance.
Collect experience and learning in your organisation if you see information as your key asset, but don’t wait until you have built an experienced team to do so – have that as your plan, but start generating value from operational applications from the get-go.
And that’s where Comptel comes in. We’ve been developing our Big Data offering to help CSPs give their initiatives a running start, and also supply them with the tools to support information-based decision-making and derive the true value they’ve been looking for – quickly and in a future-proof and extendable way – to solve acute business pains and build on that success.
Comptel provides a true Big Data solution, addressing all key components of the Big Data process:
1) Data Ingestion: Integration, importing and formatting of historical and real-time data from CSPs’ own data sources, combined with external data for a truly holistic view of the business. This is powered by Comptel’s proven technology used in our mediation solutions.
2) Data Management: Transformation, correlation, enrichment and manipulation of data to ensure optimal usability, and using the most appropriate methods to store data—whether it be Hadoop for unstructured data, massively parallel processing databases or in-memory data grids.
3) Data Analysis: Highly accurate, real-time predictive analysis, modelling and reporting, powered by machine learning.
4) Business Analytics Applications: Productised solutions to solve acute business pains, utilising the whole Big Data solution to drive immediate value.
One important aspect of Comptel approach’s is the utilisation of both historical and real-time data to drive true value—we do not see these as separate discrete steps of a process, i.e. building a predictive model and then applying triggers based on the model’s predictions, but instead having the predictive model applied in the real-time data stream to reap and benefit from contextual intelligence.
Clearly, Big Data analytics is reshaping the telco landscape. According to our recent research supported by Vanson Bourne, about two-thirds of telco executives (64 percent) say they are already in the process of leveraging Big Data to improve customer service, for instance. This is the time for Big Data to show that it is not just a hyped concept but a true generator of value—and we believe that the way to do that is through scalable, Big Data solutions designed to achieve and build on CSPs’ business objectives from day one.
To discuss how contextual and operational intelligence can augment CSPs’ efforts, come to our booth (Hall 5, Stand 5F41) at Mobile World Congress 2014. Look forward to seeing you in Barcelona this week!
Want to learn more about telco in 2014? Download our new eBook, “What Telco CMOs and CTOs/CIOs Are Thinking in 2014.”
In this eBook, we share exclusive, global executive research that highlights:
2013 has been full of good news and remarkable achievements by the Comptel team. We wanted to quickly recap five of the year’s highlights:
1. Mobile World Congress 2013
At the beginning of 2013, Comptel had a notable presence at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona. At MWC 2013, there was a lot of talk, from monetising LTE and ensuring privacy when it comes to Big Data, to efficiently using operational assets and enriching the customer experience – themes that are sure to carry over into 2014.
2. Comptel Survey Reveals Preferences of Mobile Consumers
To gauge consumer sentiment when it comes to mobile operators today, Comptel also conducted an extensive survey on customer experience, with the help of Vanson Bourne. Our survey showed that there’s a real need for better, more personal interaction between communications service providers (CSPs) and their customers—and that this can be fostered with contextual intelligence at every touch point.
3. Partnerships Forge New Paths
In keeping with our goals of improving the customer experience and “Making Data Beautiful,” we partnered with organisations that have those objectives in common. First, we partnered with Accanto Systems to help ensure that our customers are empowered with next-generation customer experience management capabilities. Second, we partnered with salesforce.com by integrating Comptel Fulfillment to revolutionise sales and service creation and delivery innovation.
4. Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific Recognises Comptel
This year, Comptel was awarded “Most Innovative Telecom OSS / BSS Vendor of the Year” by Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific. The analyst firm’s annual Asia Pacific ICT awards program is given to companies that displayed growth in performance and ground-breaking achievements. In addition to those metrics, Frost & Sullivan examined nominees’ major customer acquisitions, portfolio diversity and product innovation.
5. Comptel Social Links Wins Pipeline Innovation Awards
Another major victory for Comptel was winning a Pipeline Innovation Awards for Comptel Social Links. Pipeline’s annual programme honoured prominent telecommunications industry innovators for their advancements in technologies, products and deployments. The 2013 judging panel was comprised of key executives from leading CSPs around the world such as AT&T, BT, Cox, Intelsat, TELUS, Turkcell and Yota, as well as influential industry analysts.
To 2014 and Beyond
We’re proud of everything we’ve accomplished and can’t wait until 2014, which we’re sure will be just as good as 2013!
This is a special guest post from Comptel Sales Manager Cristina Monacelli.
On June 13, Comptel hosted an event in Rome at the Finnish ambassador’s residence to introduce our solutions to the Italian telecommunications market. We really wanted to engage with the country’s communications service providers (CSPs) and this gathering gave us that opportunity.
CEO Juhani Hintikka shared the strategy behind Comptel’s slogan, ‘Making Data Beautiful,’ and illustrated the power of automating decision-making to drive business opportunities and build stronger customer relationships.
Luca Desiata, our keynote speaker of the evening, delivered a thought-provoking and powerful presentation on “Chess and Corporate Strategy.” He used the metaphor of chess as a guideline for a course of corporate strategy, leadership, decision-making and problem-solving.
In the latter part of the evening, the guests experienced exquisite Finnish delicacies, including fennel-salmon with horseradish and Rhubarb pie, as found in some of the country’s best traditional restaurants. And, of course, everyone enjoyed the taste of the fine Italian wines.
The Chess Game Behind Corporate Strategy
Desiata’s keynote speech began by outlining the game of chess itself – a game with deep historical roots and enduring cross-cultural fascination, and how it was influenced by strategic thinking, elegance, analytical skills, intuition and talent.
Chess has been used throughout history for a number of parallels but, strangely enough, never before for corporate strategy. It has contributed to the progress of information technology and artificial intelligence, and has been used to test war strategies and psychological theories, but businesses have been largely left out of the equation.
Since Desiata is a corporate strategy expert with a passion for this game, he decided to change that. His speech highlighted the powerful ideas in his new his book, which is appropriately titled Chess and Corporate Strategy, and what business leaders can learn from this age-old game, including:
1. Advanced Strategic Thinking
Decades ago, experiments were conducted with some of the greatest chess champions. A team of psychologists asked the players to verbally explain the process of strategy elaboration behind a move, and discovered categories of thinking that are surprisingly similar to the ways of business strategy.
Some of the most poignant parallels were around decision-making biases and pitfalls in the process of strategy elaboration. Just like chess masters, executives have to reconsider all of the options on the table again and again, and make sure their decisions aren’t being weighed by pre-existing beliefs.
A game of chess is all about careful negotiations. Players trade pieces and spaces and hope they’re getting the better part of the deal.
Negotiations tournaments can mimic this process by dividing people into pairs to negotiate on a business case. These negotiations are repeated by changing pairs until, after a certain number of runs, the winner of the “tournament” emerges. The tournament dynamics highlight the transactional, prize-forming process, which in the last rounds tend to converge towards an equilibrium value determined by different elements such as technique, motivation and preparation.
3. Approach to Risk and Uncertainty Management
Risk-return matrices – like losing a Queen to take out a well-positioned Rook on the chessboard – are constantly applied to the financial and industrial portfolios. Desiata explained that the risk attitude of a chess player for choosing a variation is similar to the risk attitude of an investor. This establishes a quantitative parallel between chess and finance.
“Chess and Corporate Strategy” by Luca Desiata has been offered at MIP – Politechnique of Milan Business School and at Bocconi University’s Executive MBA. Customized executive courses have been given for managers of major Italian companies.
Sometimes, a brand can become so powerful that it can carry the entire organisation and even take over as a corporate identity. We come across many stories where a brand becomes larger than life, bigger than the corporation running it, thus creating the ultimate experience for the customer. That’s the sign that a brand has fully delivered on its promise.
So how do we make data beautiful? I usually get this question from a lot of different people, from journalists to customers to new employees. My answer is simple: we specialise in telecommunications and have been serving companies that have staggering amounts of data (Comptel processes 20 percent of global mobile data) for more than 26 years. This data has been collected, processed and analysed—and turned from intelligence into real-time opportunities for our customers. Ultimately, what we do brings people closer to their interests and their loved ones. We think that is beautiful.
The tag line expresses not just what Comptel does, but how we feel about our brand. It combines the rational (data) with the emotional (beautiful). Together, these two values basically define our company. We apply analytics to data in a way that allows for intelligent decisions, smart operations and the automation of customer interactions—turning Big Data into business opportunities for communications service providers (CSPs).
We recently got recognised for our ability to take CSPs to the next level in customer experience management. Such recognition not only endorses our brand but also helps to quantify value for our customers.
We are constantly thinking of partnerships to enhance our portfolio and fulfill our brand promise to our customers. Recently, we’ve been working with salesforce.com to commercialise the smart order validation opportunity. Comptel showcases the value of our growing portfolio to our customers through a solid track record of reducing costs, supporting service innovation, enabling operational excellence and improving the quality of customer interactions for CSPs across the globe.
Creating and maintaining a valuable brand may look easy, but it involves great thought leadership, engaging the right audience and constant validation to support your positioning in the market. Your brand helps build the perception of your organisation, and it goes much further than just your logo. After all, you need to stand out to be noticed, and what is a better way to be noticed than being a brand that delivers on its promise?
Voice has turned into a voice of concern for CPS, since the voice & text messaging businesses don’t grow anymore: On the contrary, the revenues are declining. The telecom industry is undergoing a thorough transformation, and as a result, Data is becoming more important day by day. The word on the street (or in space) is that he’s getting BIG.
Those who are most willing to accept the shifting landscape and try to figure out completely new business and revenue models are most likely to come out strong. Our guy Data really likes to crunch numbers and analyze information to arrive at the right conclusion. In a similar fashion, CSPs need automated predictive analytics to enrich information about the customer to provide attractive and accurate offers quickly, allow personalization, predict/prevent churn and identify fraud, create enhanced customer profiling and superior quality of experience.
It’s no longer news to anyone that customers pay a lot of attention to the price of their plans and quality of service when choosing the CSP, but it’s really important to realize how much the social circle influences a customer’s purchasing decision. A Vanson Bourne study indicated that globally more than 40% choose their CSP based on the experiences and influence from their friends and family. Understanding this playing field and social network sure sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?
The processing, enriching and analyzing of big data to make it valuable and actionable requires a considerable amount of automisation, otherwise tackling such an immense amount of information becomes a daunting proposition. An example of such automisation is the realtime decision-making process that defines, when and how to react to poor quality of service by identifying customers who are the most affected by it, to be able to launch a proactive retention or marketing campaign.
However, Data had to learn something else in addition to ‘mathematics’. If you want to connect with people on an emotional level, pure ‘mathematics, statistics and analytics’ aren’t simply going to cut it. You need creative ways to win the hearts and minds of people, and to do that, you have to understand them as individuals. Knowing your customers enables CSP to act proactively with the best possible personalized offering and contextually at the right time. An example of such offering is the proactive identification of those customers who need an upgrade for the data package because their usage pattern has changed. Or the proactive identification of those customers who are using multiple SIM cards from different CSPs. To prevent them from churning and making them to prioritize your offering, it’s relevant to know what their personal preferences are.
In addition to the ‘usual suspects‘ in the telecom ecosystem like customers, CSPs, vendors, OTTs (Internet Service Providers), additionally there are the newcomers from the ‘Internet of Things’ (such as energy, retailers, health, education, automobile, …) who can together with telecoms build unique value propositions where both parties can win. The struggle against the OTTs is transforming into a co-operative approach which allows value-adding joint propositions letting CSPs tap into the OTT’s revenue.
Some have suggested a premium charging model for LTE but many operators are distancing from this approach as it makes LTE generally unaffordable and unattractive for many customers, causing many to stay with their current 3G/HSPA+ plans. The essence of the discussion is to find other ways and means to generate revenue which places the emphasis on developing the co-operation between OTTs and CSPs. Identifying new revenue sources is essential, but we should not forget to keep an eye on the cost base. What’s interesting is that there seems to bea direct relation between subsidized LTE handsets and the CSP’s EBITDA margin: the subsidized handsets have a negative impact on the CSP’s margin which makes it important to know who’s really going to use the CSP’s LTE services (Source: www.tefficient.com ). The solution is to pinpoint those LTE users who really consume LTE services with the help of predictive analytics, instead of choosing the expensive strategy to subsidize LTE handsets for everyone. Please refer to the white paper written by Tefficient: ‘Why mass marketing is inefficient when launching LTE’,
On top of these above mentioned, there’s quite a lot of dynamics around identifying Quad Play opportunities in the CSPs’ business plans at the moment. Bundling broadband, TV, mobile, and fixed creates sticky services and customers, improves the revenue flow and reduces churn significantly, compared to the single or triple play. CSPs are seeking ways to provide these types of offering models by acquiring them or through co-operation. Tackling this kind of complex, multi-service and multi-technology order process requires a common platform with a fully integrated, catalog-driven approach to service order orchestration if you would like to fight the costly order fallouts. And when you add a robust Fulfillment environment enriched with analytics-driven smart order validation that closely monitors the end-to-end process of service-order capture to service delivery, you’re really good to go.
At the same time, shared accounts or multi-device/multi-user accounts are gaining more importance as an offering model, attracting not only users with several gadgets but also families and small business users utilising the same shared account for their data usage. These models are offered with no limit for voice & text usage but with limits on the data plans. The new era clearly concentrates monetisation on data services. Some CSPs are even bold enough to talk about replicating the same model to their WiFi users, meaning that data usage limits would be imposed on home broadband users as well.
All in all, a lot of interesting topics circling around the market, and many CSPs have sent out ‘trial balloons’ to test the market response. The known common denominator is that Data will be the future monetisation engine for CSPs, and BIG Data is the way to gain relevant information on customer’s preferences, personalisation and predictions for their ‘next move’. A horizontal and high-performant mediation layer contributes to the collection and processing of BIG data; and enriching the customer and network data with predictive analytics, human expertise and machine learning to automate decision-making. This is a viable way to go forward when combatting churn, generating new revenue and offering bespoke data service packages to customers.
At Comptel, we’ve prided ourselves on being an Operations Support System Independent Software Vendor (OSS ISV) that can span across different standards and interfaces. For us, that flexibility is crucial to building and providing a dynamic system that we know will fit all of our customers’ needs. That said, I won’t hide the fact that to make sure our software runs just as well on one telecom network equipment manufacturers (NEM) technology than another’s requires significant effort from our team.
That’s why we were interested to see that Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), three of the world’s largest telecom NEMs, have decided to launch an OSS interoperability initiative (OSSii). In short, the businesses agreed to sign bilateral, cross-licensing agreements that will ostensibly help foster the development of a standardised interface from their equipment.
We’re curious about where this initiative will lead. TM Forum has been working on standardised interfaces for fifteen years, and we can’t help but wonder if this could be the start of a rival organisation. Huawei’s OSS & wireless networks president Jiang Wangcheng said that the OSSii will “provide operators in all markets the ability to fully capitalise on the best OSS solutions available”, reducing operating costs and time-to-market, but most of the top ISV OSS solutions already have very sophisticated interface development kits that allow for support, time-to-market flexibility and interoperability.
Could this OSSii instead be meant to help these big NEMs capture a larger slice of the OSS pie for their own services and SI organisations? Nevertheless by simplifying interface challenges, the market could take on a new dynamic.
Innovating on Top of an Interface
Most OSS ISVs like Comptel have already accomplished what Ericsson, Huawei and NSN are trying to do. We’ve had to develop solutions that communicate across different platforms and systems out of sheer necessity. Comptel has solved the interoperability issues of telecoms vendors with products that work across the board. The real challenge now is integrating existing and new networks to deliver convergent services in a way that maximises reusability and capacity.
The OSSii is a move in the right direction for these three NEMs, who have been guarding their licenses and interfaces very closely up until now. We hope that, once they have developed a standardised interface, they will join OSS ISVs to help revolutionise the space of concept-to-cash, Service Defined Network (SDN) and other upcoming changes in the telecom industry. This is where we think the future is—beyond operability and resource management, into the realm of profitable service growth.
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