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 email@example.com.
Posted: April 25th, 2013 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: charging, data pricing, OTT, policy control, real-time charging, real-time policy | No Comments »
At the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013 last week, I attended an interesting panel discussion that spoke about how marketing’s role was evolving when it came to policy and charging decisions. One of the most important takeaways was that marketing is going to have to get more involved in policy control and charging acquisition decisions, which has largely been the territory of telecom and IT departments.
That’s because, these days, CSPs are not seeing policy as an independent function. Instead, the focus is more on generating money with policy and charging tools.
The reason that marketing’s input is getting crucial is that, with revenues from voice and text on the decline, communications service providers (CSPs) have to create strategic, adaptive and sticky policies and charging bundles to monetise data. Cooperation with OTTs is becoming more important, because businesses need to develop flexible, joint offering models that can be adjusted for an increase in the revenue from data and cover the investment costs of ever-growing data networks.
Marketing is interested in developing an environment which makes it easy to offer targeted policy and charging bundles to customers, which is difficult to implement without the help of predictive analytics that can determine individual usage patterns and behaviour.
Combining Policy with Monetisation
Most CSPs today treat policy and charging as separate from strategic monetisation campaigns, but that’s changing. The panel showed that many businesses are thinking about policy and charging as a way to create a holistic approach to providing customers with the most relevant services. As data becomes the dominant force of monetisation, CSPs will have to transform policy control from static to dynamic and from reactive to proactive… and this is where marketing comes in.
Traditionally, policy decisions were predominantly made by telecom and IT departments, but as more emphasis is placed on analytics and ROI, marketing will have to be integrated into the mix. Now it’s time to analyse the information more thoroughly, and look beyond data usage per customer into what kind of data is used, by whom, at what times, and through which context, and make sophisticated predictions about the potential change of data usage or risk of churn. All in all, policy and charging models are going to become more complex, which in turn requires accurate network planning, end-to-end design and implementation capability.
Marketing will have to work with IT and telecom to target policy and charging models at a much more granular level. Each customer will have to be offered a policy and charging based on current and predicted behavior and data usage trends. Analytics tools will be the key to not just determining existing trends, but planning for new ones and responding to them in real-time or near-realtime, depending on each use case’s requirement.
The Paradox: Real-Time Policy and Real-Life Turnaround
As the panel explained, the problem right now is that the creation and management of policy control is not flexible or efficient enough. Often, policy models touch many parts of the organization, so decisions have to get approved by multiple departments and multiple levels of management before going into action. In these cases, CSPs risk losing serious revenue opportunities by not responding to customer needs quickly enough.
So, how can CSPs find efficient tools and simplify the process so that these new, innovative services will reach the audience fast enough?
Real-time analytics require real-time turnaround, but right now there are a lot of requirements for any policy change. It can take up to six months or more to deploy new policies, which inhibits the growth of the flexible environment needed to improve the deployment cycle in the first place.
The panel concluded by saying that there is a need to discover a way to simplify the process involved in policy creation. At Comptel, we’ve worked hard to provide some of those tools, with our analytics-driven mediation, policy control and charging platform. The answer to simplifying policy control and charging may be found in the new tools for CSPs that are available, which can better help marketing, IT, and telecom all come together to build business growth.
Posted: April 19th, 2013 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: analytics, charging, LTE, policy control | No Comments »
This week, I attended the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference in Berlin and came away with a lot of interesting insights. One of the subjects was, of course, the future of policy control and charging (PCC). As mobile devices diversify, so, too, do the ways that people use them. Consequently, communications service providers (CSPs) are going to have to think about PCC in a whole new way.
Policy should now be pervasive across all customer touch-points and platforms. Agility and flexibility is going to be paramount in new use cases, because CSPs are going to see a near-limitless combination of mobile data usage bundles, particularly when it comes to multimedia use. To meet this demand, there will have to be innovative new policy and charging models.
The Troubling Siloes of OCF and PCRF
Right now, most PCC efforts are separated. That can be a huge barrier, since OCF (Online Charging Function) and PCRF (Policy and Charging Rules Function) efforts can be stuck in siloes and CSPs can find it difficult to integrate them. However, now there are a lot of requirements coming from the market for diverse policy use cases that require integrated charging capabilities. On the other hand, policy is becoming more and more a strategic monetisation engine for CSPs. Given that there will be so many different use cases in the coming years, which need to be launched to the market quickly, it’s inevitable that policy control and charging systems are going to grow together, so keeping the two separate will do more harm than good. Policy offerings will grow more complex as use cases grow more diverse. Not only that, “policy” is something that spans all networks – applications, BSS, OSS, every device is affected by policy control.
Still, once there’s a platform that can scale alongside policy and charging solutions, PCC is going to be critical for CSPs. It’s clear that, as policy and charging evolve, so, too, will pricing bundles. CSPs that can create versatile bundles and use predictive analytics to offer them to the right customers at the right time will have a huge advantage in the coming years. Predictive analytics together with catalog-driven policy and charging will form in the future the environment to correspond customer’s ever-growing need for individually targeted packages and make them available fast.
Without the relevant user data, it’s impossible to personalise policies effectively. That’s important, given that presenters at the Policy Control Conference seem to believe that innovative strategies for policy will rely on increasing personalisation. So, it’s time for CSPs to consider how they can leverage the big data already at their disposal for meaningful customer insights so they can better monetise their services.
A prime example here is LTE deployment. During the Mobile World Congress, we heard how LTE service has proven to be difficult to monetise effectively, given that customers often don’t use LTE to its full potential and CSPs have to heavily subsidise LTE handsets. With the help of predictive analytics we should on the one hand target the LTE bundles with the subsidised handsets for the customers who would have the greatest benefit. But on the other hand by creating new policies based on user and usage data, it’s possible to create unique bundles that can make LTE a flexible service that becomes available when customers need it, not before. A good example is the instant bandwidth refreshment – also known as the turbo boost – to satisfy customer’s increased data usage.
This conference has highlighted what we here at Comptel have known for some time: real-time policy and charging decisions are going to dovetail with predictive analytics and catalog-driven approach.. Why? Because predictive analytics are the key to unlocking useful customer insights that can generate contextual intelligence for all customer interactions. With the right data and tools on hand, CSPs can learn about individual data usage and create new policy controls based on the easy-to-launch catalog-driven configurations that offer customers solutions when they need them, revolutionising the way that businesses think about policy, charging, and big data.
Posted: March 1st, 2013 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: 4G, analytics, LTE, Mobile World Congress, Unified data | 3 Comments »
As I mentioned the other day, Mobile World Congress was filled with excitement, with a robust exchanging of ideas among the various attendees and our customers and partners, as we look to the future of telecom. At the show, we were happy to further some of the discussions on LTE and analytics by welcoming a few guest speakers to Comptel’s booth.
The founder of operator benchmarking consultancy tefficient, Fredrik Jungermann, took us through how to pinpoint the right LTE customers. He first mentioned that not as many LTE customers are signing up as operators would like, but the numbers are rapidly growing. For example, 58% of Korea’s data traffic was over LTE in December 2012, and, likewise, Tele2 in Sweden saw an LTE penetration of 40%.
Fredrik explained that we’re transitioning away from a world of unlimited data, with more demand now put on unlimited voice and text. Of the smartphone data that is being used, 60% is through Wi-Fi, which is going un-monetised. With this in mind, he posed the question: what if operators could turn things around and monetise this traffic using LTE or operator-owned Wi-Fi?
The upsides include basic monetisation, which will mainly be based on volume, and as data traffic grows over the top (OTT) players can become an additional source of revenue. Further, offering shared data plans will help enable unused devices and drive revenues even further. The downside to this, though, is that it can be costly to supply LTE handsets, as they have the highest specs. Analytics can help match the expensive and rare handsets to the right customers – dynamically based on individual customers’ needs and behaviours. Overall, this is much more efficient than providing subsidised LTE handsets to everyone.
Additionally, we heard from Zain Kuwait’s director of management information systems, who delved into the various ways the company is improving the customer experience with analytics. If you are interested in learning more about this presentation, as well as Fredrik’s, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What did you think of this year’s Mobile World Congress? We’d love to hear your favourite highlights and if you heard any interesting news or stats around LTE and analytics. Safe travels home to all!
Posted: February 28th, 2013 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: customer experience, MEA, Mobile World Congress, QTel | 2 Comments »
Here in Barcelona, I had the fantastic opportunity to attend an exclusive Qtel event in which the company unveiled its new brand: Ooredoo. This translates to ‘I want’ in Arabic, which reflects the telco’s new focus on customer centricity and catering to end users’ desires. Examples of this vision include statements like: “I want a service that reflects who I am”, “I want the world to smile with me”, and “I want to fly higher”.
There were an amazing number of people who spoke at the launch, including Cherie Blair on her charity for women, the general of the International Telecommunication Union, the director general of the GSMA, Qatar’s Olympic medallist from the summer 2013 games, and the CEOs of Qtel Qatar and its subsidiary, Indosat. It was also announced that football star Lionel Messi is the operator’s new global brand ambassador, although he was unable to attend due to an important match.
Ooredoo strides to enrich people’s lives by understanding every single person’s wishes and dreams, and looking at how they can be fulfilled regardless of income or demographic. With this thinking, mobile services and Internet will be more broadly distributed in order to evolve the mobile economy, for prosperity, equality and beyond.
It was clear that the operator is really committed to people’s needs, as both connecting and challenging customers was stressed. It’s leading a Millennium initiative with the GSMA to help alleviate the burdens of poverty, simplifying broadband access so more people have the opportunity to educate themselves. The CEO of Indosat, Alex Rusli, explained that island people previously had to travel up to four hours for the closest services. After access was made available where they lived, they started to grow and develop. The moral of this story is that rural communities should have the same opportunities as those in the city – everyone deserves an opportunity to grow.
Adding to this is a particular emphasis on women. For instance, the company is rolling out a special program in Iraq specifically for women where the tariff decreases after three minutes of a voice call. Since women tend to talk for longer periods over the phone, they can now enjoy less expensive calls. There are also going to be more female staff serving women at various points of sale and an initiative to help women establish businesses – checking the price of fabric, for example, to ensure they are not overpaying.
Every person wants to grow, and Ooredoo is providing the opportunity to do so by contributing to social business, enriching people’s lives and connecting the world. What do you think of Qtel’s new brand? Leave your comments here or email us at comptel.marketing@comptel and share your thoughts about the 2013 Mobile World Congress!
Posted: February 26th, 2013 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: AT&T NFC, China Mobile, GSMA, key notes, LTE, mobile wallets, Mobile World Congress, OTT, Telefonica Group, Vodafone, VoLTE | 1 Comment »
The excitement was (and still is) palpable here in Barcelona, as Mobile World Congress kicked into full gear yesterday. The keynote sessions on day one did not disappoint, with four of the largest mobile operators across the globe outlining their business strategies over the past year and looking ahead to 2017 and beyond. First up was chairman of the GSMA and CEO of Telecom Italia Group, Franco Bernabè, who stated that spectrum, privacy and investments must be the key focus for mobile operators moving forward.
Sixty-two million wireless connections are already using LTE, and this number is expected to grow to 920 million by 2017. Spectrum, then, is clearly a priority. However, as Bernabè explained, it’s critical to do more than simply having the right amount of spectrum—mobile operators must ensure that it is also harmonised across the world, in turn, making mobile services more affordable for consumers.
Privacy is another element for operators to consider, as mobile phones are carrying an increasing amount of personal information. With $350 billion compromised this year due to security risks, there is a clear place for mobile operators to become central in secure identity and access management.
Finally, Bernabè urged, operators must find a balance between competition, innovation and investment. Investments will depend on three factors: economics of scale, foreseeable business environments and up-to-date regulatory frameworks. He continued saying that operators must remain committed to Near Field Communications (NFC), LTE and voice over LTE (VoLTE) to create economically viable competition, especially in regions where excess competition is depressing the markets.
Following the opening remarks, GSMA’s director general, Anne Bouverot, moderated a discussion on the challenges and opportunities for mobile operators. AT&T’s president and CEO, Randall Stephenson, believes that we’re moving from a period of wireless experience on mobile devices to one where connectivity is always assumed and new services, like home security and mobile wallets, can be layered on top.
Next, China Mobile’s chairman, Xi Guohua, added that operators should be more concerned about OTT competition, which can erode the value of services. He suggests consolidating industry resources, like networks and devices, to gain a competitive advantage in the value chain. Additionally, Xi believes there is an opportunity with LTE to strengthen collaboration among the Internet of things, such as M2M, which will increase dialogue and align interests for the world’s operators.
Adding to this, Telefonica’s executive chairman and CEO, César Aliert, stated that operators need to lead the ecosystems into a healthy future by implementing new commercial models to better serve customers and change market dynamics. This includes breaking the taboos associated with network rollout and providing the best experience possible to customers.
Then, Vodafone’s CEO Vittorio Colao dove into how his group of operators is transforming in this digital revolution. Interestingly, he noted that more than a quarter of mobile users check their phones at the dinner table, and 66 percent sleep with their phones. Life is clearly mobile, and this is only going to increase. Because of this, Colao stated that operators need to enrich the customer experience with other services. Winners will be those who have the best products and lowest prices and are most willing to compromise and put in the work.
So far, the keynotes have been exciting to listen to, and the show floor has been packed! We’re looking forward to attending more sessions and meeting our customers, partners and other across the industry to share ideas about our changing telco landscape. In the meantime, stop by our booth in Hall 6, stand 6C30!
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 1st, 2013 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights, Telecom Trends | Tags: analytics, CIQ4T, contextual intelligence, mobile broadband, Mobile World Congress | No Comments »
Contextual Intelligence at Every Customer Touch Point
The telecommunications market has become increasingly data driven; it plays a central role and extends into all areas of people’s daily lives. Consumers and business customers alike are looking for services and applications that reflect their diverse and individual needs. Over-The-Top players (OTT) such as Facebook, Google, YouTube and so forth, are increasingly successful in winning the hearts, minds and wallets of customers, by offering the applications and services that meet customer needs ‘beyond connectivity’.
“Monetising the data” –topic has been hot for a while now in telecommunications and other enterprises. Monetisation in terms of growing the data traffic and revenue but also using the data for customer and network intelligence is a huge business opportunity and yet challenging to capture. We see data as a lever for the CSPs to connect emotionally with their customers at every touch point where they interact with their customers.
Such interaction include a specific, personalised campaign at the moment when the customer is most open for a new offering or a temporary capacity allocation for a heavy video upload need. Our consumer research, which we conducted in 12 countries across the globe by VansonBourne, December 2012 (will be launched prior to Mobile World Congress) , shows that nearly half of the consumers would be willing to pay for a temporary bandwidth boost or data consumption upgrade. Thus the potential is there and can be monetized by leveraging advanced and predictive analysis and automated decisions and actions to make and save money. In other words; by leveraging contextual intelligence at every touch point.
At Mobile World Congress we will discuss the topic in more details with concrete showcases. The business use case list is long, but we have chosen the ones, which on one hand can demonstrates quick business results and on the other, can help CPSs integrated their organizational teams.
- Analytically-enriched order orchestration
- Analytics-driven, predictive policy control
- Contextual Mobile Data Campaigning
- Using a Federated Model to “Make Inventory Work”
- Customer value driven network prioritization
On Tuesday, 26th we will have a special guest, Fredrik Jungermann, the founder of tefficient, who will discuss on:
“Pinpoint the right customers – or dilute margin”
Fredrik shares his analysis of advanced LTE markets – including the US – with focus on the impact LTE has on the profitability of leading service providers. Is there an monetization upside using analytics?
To book your seat send the meeting request with a specific reference to: “Right customers for LTE”. See you there!
Posted: December 6th, 2012 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Events | Tags: CEM, CSP, customer experience, data management, Management World Americas 2012, OTT | No Comments »
Management World Americas 2012 is coming to a close, and as I looked at the beautiful sunrise this morning (which you can see in this picture), I was reflecting on our time here and all of the stimulating conversations and topics that are so relevant to our industry.
In particular, we recently discussed putting the customer first – a key theme in the customer experience management (CEM) sessions — and I’d like to expand on that a bit. In thinking about CEM, another trend we’ve seen come up here is that customer touch points are rapidly increasing, with ever more players having a role in the customer experience. As new devices emerge, over the top (OTT) services are introduced, and data usage continues to surge, this should come as no surprise. In fact, I found it interesting that even when it comes to contacting communications service providers (CSPs) directly, customers generally use multiple methods such as web, phone, email and SMS.
What all these various touch points and subsequent players mean for CSPs, though, is that it’s challenging to control the customer experience end-to-end. To help mitigate this, it’s essential to take advantage of the data at hand by collecting and analysing customer information. Doing so will provide a clear picture of who the customer is and allow for more personilised interactions at each touch point. As Ulla mentioned, this was something that was very prominent during the Equinix case study session where the company collected data and mapped the entire customer lifecycle for a complete view of customer activities and preferences.
In order to really make this strategy successful, a holistic approach to customer experience is needed, with both the marketing, IT and telecom teams aligned in their goals. Automated processes is an asset in bringing these worlds together – simultaneously looking at what’s happening in the network and coinciding customer activities. Where these two elements meet is where automated processes play a key role – enabling CSPs to see exactly what the customer is doing, understand the context, and automate an appropriate, personalised response. Strengthening this with machine learning means that CSPs can track customers’ behavioural patterns dynamically and automatically adapt to those as they change throughout a customer’s lifecycle.
Of course, I’d like to emphasise that this should be used in combination with personal, human interactions. Treating customers this way, with a human touch and by providing unique communications based on their preferences, is key to differentiating in an ever crowded market. And with automation helping this, CSPs can make many more targeted offers at the right time – a crucial factor to enabling a positive customer experience as touch points continue to expand.
Posted: December 5th, 2012 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Events | Tags: customer experience, Customer Experience Management, Management World Americas, service provider, telco, TM Forum | No Comments »
Yesterday, I was able to listen to some of the customer experience management (CEM) sessions held here at Management World Americas. Of course, customers were the core element of these presentations, but what became abundantly clear was that more than ever, customers are being thought of as assets to service providers’ business. When it comes to CEM, it’s no longer just about managing the experience – true CEM is going beyond that and ensuring each interaction with the customer is positive and consistent, which in turn will build a stronger connection with the service provider.
For instance, I listened to Joe Ewan from Innocent, a UK-based consumer food and drink company that specialises in natural smoothies and juices. This company has the number one smoothies in Europe and a giant fan-base because, as Joe put it, they invest the time and effort for a two way relationship with customers. One piece of advice he gave to telcos is that it’s easy to talk, and it’s harder to listen – but if you listen, you can learn. For example, every month Innocent generates a report that summarises feedback from the various customer channels like email, Twitter, Facebook, etc. This is a truly honest synopsis of both the positive and negative, and has been used to drive real change in the business. In addition to helping improve products and processes, this approach keeps customers satisfied because they like knowing that their experience matters.
I saw this approach exemplified in a case study session with Equinix, a premium carrier data center provider offering global interconnection opportunities. For Equinix, a seamless global experience is essential with over 60% revenue coming from customers across multiple regions worldwide. To achieve this, it mapped the customer lifecycle and looked at each interaction, keeping in mind that every touch-point is important. What the company developed was a 360 customer view for quick and effective communications. For instance, they learned that some customers were unhappy because they were receiving too many messages from the carrier. The answer was simple – cut down on these communications.
Now, Equinix provides a seamless experience to their customers and was able to drive positive change just by listening. It’s refreshing to learn of examples like these as we continue to put the customer first, and I’m eager to hear more as the show progresses. Have you heard any interesting customer-centric stories recently?