Posted: June 26th, 2013 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: CSPs, data analytics, Italy, strategy | 2 Comments »
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.
Posted: June 5th, 2013 | Author: Fariha Shah | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: brand, Comptel, Customer Experience Management | No Comments »
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.
At Comptel, we did a brand refresh last year to align with our ‘Event-Analysis-Action’ strategy; the essence of it is captured in our slogan, ‘Making Data Beautiful’. Such a simple brand promise requires serious behind-the-scenes planning, because we have to tackle the complex, real-world scenarios behind Big Data, and introduce Comptel’s technological innovation and strategic framework as a key differentiator.
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?
Posted: June 3rd, 2013 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Industry Insights | Tags: analytics, big data, CSP, CSPs, customer experience, data, LTE, voice | 1 Comment »
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 be a 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.
Posted: May 28th, 2013 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Industry Insights | Tags: Network Equipment Manufacturer, OSS, OSS Interoperability, OSS ISV, OSS/BSS, SDN, Service Defined Network, TM Forum | No Comments »
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.
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: February 8th, 2013 | Author: Jani Virkkula | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: analytics, big data, binary | 1 Comment »
010000100110010101100001011101010111010001111001….This is what data often might look like to many of us, including CSPs, and at a first glance might not look like much. Many CSPs are also worried about the inevitable and immense data growth in their network which means that there’ll be no shortage of available zeroes and ones. However, this is more than just random bits and pieces. Inside the binary universe lies the key to understanding your customer which means that you can stop worrying about the Big Data and embrace it as an unprecedented opportunity instead. Let us tell you how.
If you take a seemingly meaningless binary string and apply advanced analytics to it, you get ”010000100110010101100001011101010111010001111001”: this translates to ‘Beauty’. The same goes for “01001101 01100101 01100001 01101110 01110011” which actually converts to “Means”. This is what we do: we tap into your data, no matter how unstructured or disorganized it may seem on the surface, make the data more beautiful and eventually turn it into valuable information. The more data you have at your disposal, the more information we can generate for you – and the more opportunities for customer delight and generated revenue you have.
So, what to do with all that beautiful information you’re now comfortably sitting on? How about turning the information into action by applying contextual intelligence to it? This allows you to identify what types of customers you have, what kind of services or offers do they find attractive, and react to your customers’ needs instantly. There’s a group of young, vibrant, business-like, party-hardy, happy-go-lucky and funky customers just waiting for you to make an offer that is tailor-made for their individual needs. Many require services that fulfill their needs at a specific moment (for example, want a temporary turbo-boost for video downloading or to join a video conference). You have all the required information at your disposal not only to serve your customers better but also to grab hold of that precious piece of revenue that you’d otherwise have missed, because you didn’t have the tools to react at the right time. Seize the day and dive deep into the data pool: we’ll teach you how to swim in it effortlessly to find the treasure trove that is hidden at the bottom of the pool. 01000001 01110011 01110011 01100101 01110100 spells for “Asset”.
Comptel – 01000011 01101111 01101101 01110000 01110100 01100101 01101100
Makes It – 01001101 01100001 01101011 01100101 01110011 00100000 01001001 01110100
Happen – 01001000 01100001 01110000 01110000 01100101 01101110
For You - 01000110 01101111 01110010 00100000 01011001 01101111 01110101
Posted: November 30th, 2012 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Events | Tags: Australia, CIQ4T, OSS | No Comments »
We all know that during these uncertain economic times, life in business might not be always that easy, don’t we? However, I’m a strong believer in positivism and its power of energizing people. Therefore, I took the opportunity to write this small blog to share the joy and enthusiasm of my dear colleagues Down Under.
We in Comptel have worked hard to transform the company from a traditional, if I dare to say maybe a bit dull telco engineering company, to a faster moving and an agile Internet-age software company. After ten months in Comptel, I have experienced an amazing spirit of ”Make it Happen”, which is also one of our four core values. The recent recognition by Frost & Sullivan is only one example of the results of our dedication.
I was personally inspired by the pictures the team sent to me after the Awards Banquet on the 20th of November 2012 in Australia. It is wonderful to see Men at Work Down Under with such big smiles while knowing that they really put their hearts into it and give their best effort to bring the highest customer value in their respective markets.
The other reason to write this blog is to remind of our thought leadership in Contextual Intelligence For Telco (CIQ4T). The comment from Mr. Mark Dougan, managing director, Australia & New Zealand, Frost & Sullivan confirms that we have succeeded in differentiating with our approach: “The company has proven its ability to not only effectively operate and grow in the competitive market, but also, with the debut of its CIQ4T, fuel OSS innovation and raise the bar for CSPs’ customer engagement practices.”
Simply put, Contextual Intelligence (CI) is the principle of understanding a uniqueness of a person and the circumstances, ( i.e. the context) and turning that understanding into an opportunity. This is a valid guideline for various business situations as well as for life in general. If you happen to be around Orlando next week, visit us at Management World Americas, 2-6 December 2012 to hear more.
Posted: November 27th, 2012 | Author: Afaq Bashir | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: OSS/BSS, Project Management, telecoms | No Comments »
Recently, the U.S. Air Force announced that it is shutting down its next-generation, billion-dollar logistics management software project after its implementation was consistently stalled, and goals went unmet. This multi-stakeholder project started in 2005 and was designed to save billions of dollars by streamlining supply chain management and replacing more than 200 legacy IT systems and 500 interfaces. With such promising benefits, the decision to scrap this project raises more questions than answers: Why did it take so long, and so much money, to realise this project wasn’t going to pan out? What planning process was in place that allowed this to happen?
Drawing Parallels with Telecom and OSS Projects
Projects in the telecom industry have similar implementation challenges, especially because of the numerous stakeholders involved like network suppliers, OSS/BSS vendors, system integrators, VAS providers, in-house IT and various communications service provider (CSP) departments. Such a landscape of not just stakeholders but also systems and processes results in high complexity and risk, meaning there are many ways project execution can go wrong. For instance, individual vendors may promise more than they can deliver, system integrators might not take end-to-end responsibility, and CSPs could miss some important details. These gaps in ownerships, stakes, understandings, initiatives and interoperability create a snowball effect over time, leading to project delays that could mean disaster.
Insistence on Collective Responsibility
To help prevent this, it’s important for CSPs to be very knowledgeable about the big picture apart from being very detail oriented. Knowing the big picture ensures that the CSP can keep a firm grasp on the various parties engaged, and to what capacity, as well as each party’s weight and significance during the course of a project. On the other hand, being detail-oriented ensures that the CSP knows how to negotiate a meaningful, clear and unrelenting scope of work for each party. The scope of work distributed across different stakeholders should be collectively exhaustive and aspects like dependencies and engagement service level agreements (SLAs) should be very clearly stated and agreed upon in advance.
This can ensure that any conflicts of interest are alleviated, so vendors can act in the best interest of the project at hand to guarantee its collective success. Vendors like Comptel can play a very leading and helpful role in bringing different parties together to agree on a clearly documented scope at the very outset. This can involve details such as key objectives, success factors, project scheduling and budgeting, and risks.
Ensuring a Collaborative Project Roadmap
In my opinion, the CSP’s role in ensuring a collaborative project roadmap involving OSS/BSS vendors and system integrators is crucial. CSPs can define project execution models at the very outset and play an important role in overall project leadership and governance to ensure delivery within the constraints of budget, time and scope.
Furthermore, it is the CSP’s leadership alone that can contain the many simultaneous business-to-business relationships at any cost and without letting any party indulge in a game of blames. Success being the only ultimate benchmark, CSPs should trickle it down to all of its suppliers in unequivocal terms.
Posted: November 11th, 2012 | Author: Afaq Bashir | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Uncategorized | Tags: Middle East, OSS, Project Management | No Comments »
A learning organisation is the sum-total of the experiences of its people. At Comptel, we take great pride in having delivered on excellent projects, and the lessons we have learned through them are our prised possession. To a large extent, a distinctive pattern begins to emerge from the various projects and engagements conducted in each region. The Middle East and Africa (MEA) is no exception – its unique characteristics come through its many region-specific best practices, as well as the lessons and cultural themes we have accumulated through our commitment to our customers.
When it comes to the success of a project, leadership is an important aspect– from managing project charters and negotiating scopes, to resolving conflicts and involving stakeholders, to addressing resources and process implications. From my experience in MEA, I’ve seen six elements of success emerge that stem from strong leadership.
First, it is very important that a project be ‘trademarked’ both internally and externally. This should go hand-in-hand with the company’s corporate strategy and bear an inspiring slogan that attracts everyone’s contribution. Externally, with the customer, the trademark should bear in succinct terms the top 2-3 goals and objectives sought from the project. These should be posted at all times as the overriding milestones for all stakeholders, especially the customer. Internally, this should become more of a symbol that people can relate to in daily activities, when talking by the water coolers, for instance. Last, it should be attached to a group of influential sponsors, decision-makers and key participants, who can help develop an inclination across company ranks to make the project successful.
2. Strong Launch
The project should be kicked off like the Olympics. What I mean by this is that everyone should feel willing and ready to be a part of an exciting new journey. The most important thing is making sure that the project leadership is technology savvy and capable of understanding the complexities involved. A sense of control, responsibility, raw skill and effective management can only be inculcated by a project manager with extensive domain expertise. This, in my humble opinion, can be a deciding factor for a project’s success at the very outset. The project leader should then be able to recruit a balanced team and prepare for a strong launch.
The project leader should have a comprehensive, organisation-wide understanding of the customer’s business units (e.g. commercial, network, human resources, finance), business processes (TM Forum standards can help), key stakeholders, parallel vendors and existing IT and systems landscape. This helps align the project to all of these various entities, so that any risk is taken care of proactively, and all parties/resources are marshaled to a collective success.
4. Clear Scope
It’s important that the project leader is actively involved alongside any sales staff in negotiating, understanding and freezing the scope of a project. The scope should be very clearly documented and have approval from all key stakeholders. This can involve details such as key objectives, success factors, project scheduling and budgeting, and risks. Again, it takes a project leader proficient in that domain to effectively record the different requirements, needs, assumptions and risks.
The project leader should be able to develop a very clear communications methodology to ensure transparency and a real-time window into the project’s workings. He or she should be able to identify ‘what messages’ need to be passed to ‘which stakeholders’ at ‘what intervals’ through ‘what methods and channels’ with ‘what level of severity’. The communications methodology should be able to integrate and harmonise the many artifacts of project communication including meetings, emails, progress reports, workshops and portals.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the project leader should strive to be a true source of motivation, energy and inspiration for the whole team. A confident and independent leader can take hold of a project without letting control sink away to distant and irrelevant corners of the organisation. He or she should be bold enough to take calculated risks and use the team’s best energies to create win-win situations with the customer. An effective project leader manages and resolves conflicts through creative ideas and through the power of communication. A dynamic leader is imaginative enough to adapt the fabric of the project to the changing strategic needs of the customer and of his or her own organisation. Finally, he or she should be able to culminate all of these leadership themes into closing the project, celebrating it like a hard-earned victory, learning from its course and moving on to the next challenge with a bigger, more self-assured poise.
These types of leaders deliver on strategic opportunities, resulting in increased revenues through cross-sell and up-sell opportunities and references, and ultimately happier customers.
Posted: October 25th, 2012 | Author: Mauro Carobene | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: 3G, Comptel, LTE, OSS/BSS, telecom | 1 Comment »
Let me briefly introduce myself. I am Mauro Carobene. I have been appointed CMO in Comptel
a few days ago. I have been in the BSS/OSS business since 1996, when I started my career in Italtel. Since then, for one reason or another, I haven’t been able to leave the OSS/BSS arena. I have been in R&D, technical support, consultancy, sales and sales management roles.
I was asked me why I am still in this niche of the telecom market and not looking to do something else. I have asked myself the same question many times. If I look back to 1996 and consider what was understood as OSS back then, we have taken huge steps forward. Back in the day, most of the actions were completed manually on a type of VT100 terminal
using MML commands
. Today the situation has improved a lot on the one hand, but on the other the system complexity is growing exponentially. It is true that we have pretty user interfaces and nice tools to control the network, but it is equally true that the complexity of services and the time to launch and activate these services are growing exponentially.
To launch a new tariff plan five years ago required at least six months of planning. While still working in a different company, I remember working – already in March – in preparation for the Christmas campaign for one of our big customers… and I also remember how we failed the delivery already in November and how that customer was not able to run the campaign as planned. Nowadays, the marketing department of each operator (or Communication Service Provider since the difference between the two is getting bigger and bigger) can execute plans within a few hours. “Operators XYZ launched a flat fee campaign yesterday, we need to do it immediately as well!” and the CIO/CTO needs to execute immediately.
If someone asked me if operators have reached the right level of automation in running their operations, my answer is no. If we consider all the progress made in all the other fields of technology, I think that OSS/BSS is lagging behind.
What is missing?
1: “Plug and play” integration capabilities. When I buy an USB, I can plug it in to my computer and it works. I don’t need to care about the brand or the technology. I simply buy it, plug it in and I’m ready to watch movies, get auxiliary light or use a cup that keeps my coffee hot while I’m writing an email. This is USB
. Does the USB “Plug and play” concept exist in today ‘s OSS/BSS? The answer is a definite no. Operators are still spending a fortune to integrate different components and applications. There are naturally good reasons for the current state of business, but the fact remains that we are still behind.
2: Time to market for new services. Ideally, every service should be 100% modular and completely separate from technology. The capability to build customised services should be available for everybody directly from a Web UI. If I buy a car, I don’t have to waste time thinking about the asphalt or the type of road in general when I drive. The level of expectation should be the same for telecommunications. We shouldn’t need to care about 3G
or whatever technology. OSS/BSS should enable operators to completely separate the service layer from network layer, enabling them to build an overall service where each single service component can be hand-picked from a catalogue.
3: “Real decision automation”. Every CSP collects a huge amount of data and is capable of using different tools to correlate and post-process this data. The real issue is this: “Can these tools make decisions and make these decisions happen – and not just analyse?” If I drive a car and I have an ABS system
, when I hit the brakes and the wheels start to swerve, the ABS takes immediate action. It doesn’t generate a report that says “you hit your brakes too hard and now you have crashed the car!” Just image what the driver of the said car would do with such report…Transforming analysis into action will be the key success factor in enabling automatic decisions.
This is why I am still in this business. I dream of the day when the operator CEOs will able to decide which component to choose without thinking about the possible hidden costs of the integration, will be able to launch a new tariff plan or a new service simply by asking for the PowerPoint presentation from their marketing department and last but not least, will be able to automate all the phases of the process without ‘having to hit a wall’ and then simply receive a report that states the obvious. This is what we want to achieve in Comptel and this is the mandate that will keep me in the OSS/BSS business for a time to come.