We’re winding down after an incredibly exciting and energetic few days in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress 2017. The team here at Comptel has set a goal to out-do itself at every annual MWC by making an even bigger impact than the year before. We definitely feel we accomplished that this year, with so much going on:
Check out how our booth, which doubled as a video game screen, came together:
Thanks to all those who paid a visit to our booth – it was well-visited, meeting rooms were fully-booked and we had a busy few days showcasing our solutions to customers, partners, analysts and media.
As for the full show, #MWC17 also had plenty to offer in terms of insights, announcements and industry excitement. Here are a few takeaways from several top keynotes last week:
John Stankey: Customers are The Ultimate Barometer of Success
In his keynote, AT&T CEO John Stankey said that the voice of today’s telco customer carries more weight than it has in the history of the telco industry. Customers want appreciation, personalisation and simplicity. They want to live their life on their terms and to get more for less. CSPs need to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable to live up to the expectations of today’s customers, said Stankey.
To succeed, telcos must build engaging digital platforms. What matters the most is how many hours your customers spend on your platform and how much of your full range of personalised services and content they enjoy, he added.
Stankey listed what he believes are the main engagement principles for future telco platforms:
Video will be the dominant playing field
Multi-sided business models will remain important
Content that is compelling matters
Integration matters for value and convenience
The product is software
Most importantly, the product is software that captures the customer’s imagination. Vertically integrated products do not have a future any more, said Stankey. Instead, it’s all about software that goes beyond ubiquitous connectivity, contributing to greater customer experience and a stronger emotional bond to content. Software is the product wrapper that reengineers entertainment and glues everything together.
Vivendi on the Future of Mobile Content
With strong positions in music, entertainment and gaming, Vivendi has a unique perspective on the various types of digital content today’s mobile consumer craves. In his keynote, CEO Arnaud de Puyfontaine explained that telcos will be able to offer mobile content through partnerships with companies like Vivendi.
The company’s mobile short studio, called Studio+, produces 10 episodes of a series, with each episode at 10-minutes in length, a model that de Puyfontaine said is perfect for bite-size mobile content experiences. His company is now developing telco partnerships to roll out the content, which in turns helps CSPs dip their toes into an innovative digital service channel.
Vivendi tried to purchase its own telco subsidiaries in the early 2000s, he explained, but that failed strategy pointed the company toward a more flexible horizontal convergence model. Strategically, telco partnerships will provide Vivendi and its partners scale and agility, said de Puyfontaine.
Disruption at the Network Edge
Executives from three mobile leaders – Sprint, Deutsche Telekom and Nokia – discussed the importance of edge computing to serving the new mobile economy. The panel included Günther Ottendorfer, COO, Technology at Sprint, Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO at Deutsche Telekom and Michael Clever, SVP Mobile Broadband at Nokia.
Edge computing brings network functions physically closer to the consumer to, among other things, dramatically reduce network latency. A number of factors drive this trend, including the growing number of connected devices (from VR/AR to connected cars) that require continuous broadband connectivity, and the emergence of 5G. For example, Sprint is diversifying its core network by deploying thousands of small cells instead of microcell towers, according to Ottendorfer.
Meanwhile, Deutsche Telekom has joined the Telecom Infra Project, a community initiative to re-imagine how telco networks support data-intensive services like video and virtual reality. According to Jacobfeuerborn, video will account for 80 percent of the world’s mobile data traffic by 2021, which means telcos need to work now to bring better connectivity closer to the consumer.
Nokia’s Clever spoke to the benefits of new network technologies – including a shared data layer and a stateless machine architecture – to introduce endless capacity, scale and robustness to the network. Real-time analytics of network data could radically reduce the complexity and costs of the network and help telcos generate new revenue streams by better leveraging network assets and customer data, Clever said.
If you’re in telco, you’ve heard a lot about transformation, enough that you’re probably even sick of the word. We feel the same way, so we want to help move our industry move past the point where we talk about change and toward the point of actually creating change. Our message is simple: stop overthinking and start doing.
Our latest book, Nexterday: Volume III¸ brings this message to life. Building off our first two books – Operation Nexterday and Nexterday: Volume II – this edition introduces new thoughts, ideas, and success stories from contributors both within and outside the world of telco. The objective is to give you practical next steps to evolve and grow your business in this rapidly changing digital landscape.
We’ll be publishing all of the articles from Nexterday: Volume III on an ongoing basis at Nexterday.org, our online magazine and reader community. Visitors to our booth (Hall 5 at Stand 5G40) at Mobile World Congress 2017 can receive a hard copy – but these are limited, so make sure to stop by early to get your copy!
Here’s what you can expect from Nexterday: Volume III.
What’s your journey?
When you step back and consider digital transformation from a 30,000-foot view, you can see that operators really have two potential paths to take: the customer journey and the service journey.
The Digital Customer Journey Telcos want to deliver a better customer experience (on average, operators have a net promoter score of 6, compared to 70 for over-the-top (OTT) service providers), and an omnichannel customer experience. So, the digital customer journey is all about the strategies, technologies and business models they take to improve the customer experience, favouring individualised engagement, marketing and sales approaches for B2B and B2C customers. This journey is all about saying “No” to bad customer engagement.
The Digital Service Lifecycle Journey Operators today need to create, deliver and support complex “living” digital services, but existing networks are too over-built, locked-in and inflexible to support modern service creation. This journey is about the steps operators can take to change their network reality, and it involves concepts and models like virtualisation and end-to-end hybrid service delivery to achieve network flexibility and agility. This journey is all about saying “No” to the monolithic franken-systems of the past.
Most frequently, we have seen the most forward-thinking service providers embark on one of these journeys, or both at the same time.
What’s in Nexterday: Volume III
Nexterday: Volume III tells you everything you need to know to get started, or to take the next step if you’re already following either path. We brought in some of the brightest minds from within and outside telco to share their expertise and insights, including:
Mike Walsh – a business expert who shares the simplest, most practical path to business transformation
Jon Wolske – the customer service expert from Zappos Insights who explains how you can be, first and foremost, a customer service company (that just happens to sell digital services)
David Meerman Scott – the sales and marketing guru who describes how real-time marketing powers a more efficient, results-driving marketing engine
Stefan Moritz – an expert on the customer experience, who explains how the most successful customer-focused companies did it by backing up their brand story with actual action
Stewart Rogers – the VentureBeat Insights researcher provides new data showing the biggest marketing opportunity companies are missing out on today
Dean Ramsay – the Analysys Mason analyst writes about the important role of inventory management in network transformation
Rich Karpinski – the 451 Research analyst breaks down the top US telcos and describes how each one is attempting to disrupt this mature market
Fredrik Jungermann – the tefficient analyst profiles the big return of unlimited data to operator service plans, and explains how top operators around the world incorporate this benefit
Stan Hubbard – The MEF Group director describes the two network qualities needed to offer better customer engagement and service delivery
Mustafa Oyumi – The Salesforce exec talks about the customer engagement model operators need in a modern service environment
Luca Decarli – the customer engagement expert describes how Saudi Telecom Company reorganized its business to deliver a higher quality of service
Antonio Elizondo – the Telefónica exec profiles OpenSource MANO and its key role in the development of an NFV ecosystem
Bengt Nordström – the Northstream charts the growth and future prospects of 5G connectivity
David Ho – From Kiina Investment, David provides a fascinating look at the digital technologies that are taking shape in China
Markku Hollström – Elisa’s IoT expert describes the ambitious IoT project that won international praise and provides an example for other telcos to follow
Velipekka Kuoppala – the Soracom VP writes about the model telcos and businesses need to secure the IoT
We also have insights from many Comptel contributors discussing everything from IoT, rating and mediation, NFV innovation, customer engagement, plus new research into consumer desires for personalised services.
Nexterday: Volume III is a comprehensive look at the state of our industry today, but, most importantly, it provides a practical guide for you to take the next step in your digital journey. Remember, it’s time to stop overthinking and start doing. Get our book to find out how.
Meet with Comptel at Mobile World Congress to get a copy of Nexterday: Volume III. Visit our booth in Hall 5 at Stand 5G40 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Niilo Fredriksen, Executive Vice President, Intelligent Data
A word of caution for all mobile operators: there’s a 50/50 chance your customers feel like you don’t actually care about them.
That’s what Comptel found when we commissioned a survey of 2,000 mobile data users in the US and the UK. Our new research report, The Power of Personal, reports that 52 percent of mobile customers feel like they are treated as just another nameless subscriber by their providers.
Obviously, that’s a problem that could lead to churn. Customers that feel valued are three times more likely to stay loyal to their provider, according to our research. Those that don’t feel valued leave, and 59 percent of respondents said they were not fully satisfied with their providers.
So how do you make sure your customers are happy, loyal advocates for your business? Personalisation offers a solution, and the survey found that it’s what mobile customers want from their providers.
In total, 55 percent of respondents said they would be open to receiving more proactive, personalised messages and services from their providers. But, only 13 percent has ever received this type of message.
Respondents said they were favourable to receiving all sorts of different messages, including:
An alert when they’ve reached their data cap
A notification when they’re about to trigger data roaming charges
A message when they’re using more data than usual
But it’s not just about warnings and alerts. According to our research, customers are also open to personalised messages about service offers, whether it’s a discounted data plan, sponsored data plan or a completely tailored plan that fits their exact needs based on service consumption. The key word, though, is personal. If you send customers an offer that doesn’t seem relevant to them, you’re not going to achieve anything but annoying them.
Service providers know a lot about their customers. It’s high time they started to use that data more intelligently to provide better more individualised services and to use that information to save customers money and build much longer lasting loyalty than is the current model. Our report gives you the guidance you need to do that.
Operators are on a journey to become true digital telcos. Rich Karpinski, a US-based analyst for 451 Research, recently explored how Comptel’s FASTERMIND™helps put CSPs on the fast track to becoming offer-driven, digitally-savvy operators.
“Few vendors have as a pure a vision of how mobile operators must evolve to become digital service providers as Comptel. It speaks the language, understands the requirements, absorbs and applies the use cases.”
Transforming operators into Digital Service Providers is at the heart of Comptel’s Nexterday vision. To execute on that vision, Comptel recently launched the FASTERMIND™ suite at Nexterday North 2016, to provide artificial intelligence applications for digital telcos. FASTERMIND™ recommends, predicts and automates real-time decisions, particularly supporting customer engagement automation.
“Rather than rely on a small handful of customer segment buckets and static, non-real-time campaigns to drive out offers, FASTERMIND’s monitoring and analytics tools work with other Comptel platforms – Monetizer for policy control and charging and Data Refinery for mediation and data processing – to allow operators to deliver more real-time, personalized and contextually relevant offers.”
Comptel’s Nexterday vision and strategy has garnered a great deal of attention in the market, and we are pleased to secure external analyst recognition for this new FASTERMIND™ suite, and also for our work in helping CSPs to evolve into DSPs by rethinking and redesigning customer engagement with real-time and contextual best-next-action offers.
“It’s not about bundling a digital ‘service’ like Dropbox or Netflix or simply offering a few new mobile data plan options. Rather, it’s a rethinking of how mobile operators interact with their customers, understanding their real-time needs and wants and having the analytics, decision-making and network execution capabilities to hit them with the right offer at the right time.”
Comptel’s Nexterday vision focuses on providing customers with an outstanding and memorable digital experience. By coupling FASTERMIND’s time-sensitive, contextual and personalised recommendations, with MONETIZER™, an easy-to-use tool for the rapid design of policy and pricing offers, and DATA REFINERY™, which captures a real-time 360° view of the customer, CSPs are fully equipped for future business growth.
“More aggressively than almost any competitor, Comptel has swallowed the ‘red pill’ and sent itself fully down the digital telco path.”
Rich Karpinski’s full report, Comptel speeds operator offer decision-making with FASTERMIND can be downloaded here.
Comptel will be exhibiting at MWC17 in Barcelona February 27 – March 2, 2017. Meet with us at stand #5G40, Hall 5 to learn more about our Nexterday vision and FASTERMIND™ for customer engagement automation.
Have the rules changed for Communications Service Providers to engage with their customers?
Digitalization has created a generation of empowered, engaged and demanding “Generation Cloud” consumers. These people want to be treated as individuals through using a service that meets their expectations and aligns to the way they live their lives. They don’t want to follow service providers’ rules but instead, define the digital market as they want to see it. Service providers have to identify product opportunities, then design and commercially publish new service offerings faster than ever. Only then will they be able to seize the increasing new opportunities for data, content, applications and service monetization. Effectively they have to monetize more in less time, whilst leveraging partner offerings for service enrichment.
How do service providers win the hearts and minds of customers with almost impossible expectations?
To meet the expectations of generation cloud consumers it’s no longer sufficient to have a static portfolio of products that a customer selects and uses unchanged for the lifetime of a contract. Lifestyles, demands and expectations create a digital opportunity for providers to continually engage with their customers with contextually relevant enrichments to a base package contract.
These enrichments or upsell opportunities can take the form of traditional data or messaging bundles, however they can now also encompass personalized add-ons such as streaming subscriptions or cloud-storage with a data allowance; time-based video streaming bundles and sponsored enterprise data packages. These modern-day enrichments have to be more understandable by the consumer, as lifestyle enhancements aligned to them.
Service providers have an opportunity to not only create these offerings but intelligently identify when to make a recommendation and with which product. They also have to simplify the engagement and buying process as closed-loop automation, allowing for consistent improvement, alignment and customer retention.
What would the perfect solution look like for CSPs to enable the personalised customer journey?
A comprehensive turnkey solution for the personalized journey will incorporate a number of steps that the customer service lifecycle will take. These steps consist of product creation based on identified market needs, campaign management and commercialization of those products, an ordering process and of course the delivery of a product in the first instance.
Once delivered it’s necessary to collect data and valuable information on the consumed service, which when analyzed provides insights to drive the intelligent recommendations required for next customer contact via a simple interaction or detailed marketing campaign.
Realizing that the recommended add-on is a perfect fit, the consumer then needs a seamless buying and delivery experience – leading to the creation of a revised automation-loop for continuous future engagement.
A Modern Day Customer Engagement Architecture
Leveraging a communications industry data integration framework, Salesforce, Apttus and Comptel are perfecting the personalized customer journey through a number of identifiable steps.
Designing – B2C or B2B service design based on technical network and service capabilities, with input from market research created by product management.
Commercializing – Publishing of the product as a commercial offering, allowing a customer to discover, select and customize to their needs.
Ordering – Submission of the selected and customized product as an order into the buying process. Incorporating CPQ processes (Configuration, Pricing and Quotation).
Delivering – Order processing and service activation plus an all-important notification to the subscriber for full customer engagement into the process.
Tracking – Continuous charging, metering and full reporting of service consumption by the subscriber, giving a 3600 perspective on contextual usage.
Analyzing – Contextual analysis on service usage trends of the subscriber leading to intelligent recommendation for product upsell and tailoring – customer alignment and engagement.
Growing – Perpetual engagement, offering continual recommendations to an individual and the option to buy. Perfecting the customer engagement process.
The result is an eco-system primed solution for customer engagement and contextually-intelligent product recommendations, leading to automated customer lifecycle management. The solution is enabled by the Salesforce Communications Framework & Data Exchange, Salesforce Customer Success Platform, Apttus Quote-to-Cash solution and Comptel Intelligent Data Monetization & Customer Engagement Automation.
Traditionally, the telecommunications industry has been separated by a common language: the language of business. CIOs and CTOs, along with their respective teams, have been controlling networks and performance optimisation, while CMOs usually focus on business growth objectives like sales, churn and retention.
What this means is that CIOs’ and CTOs’ performance is evaluated by different metrics than CMOs, so they are concerned about different things. When I attended Mobile World Congress 2013, I witnessed this firsthand. In one corner, communications service provider (CSP) CIOs and CTOs were discussing the impact of cloud, M2M and LTE on their networks. Meanwhile, CMOs and CEOs talked about consumer devices, apps and the latest movements in the market.
The hurdle CSP executives face now is that, to take advantage of the latest innovations and meet their respective objectives, they have to work closer together than ever before.
Painting the Big Picture
Within most CSPs, there are distinct silos. Teams from different organisations rarely talk about the same issues and aren’t often looking to solve the same problems. However, one issue that bridges this divide is customer experience. CSPs want to make sure that customer service is as good as possible. If you’ve delivered a great customer experience, your efforts are praised…no matter what team you’re on.
This is where CIOs, CTOs and CMOs have to discover common ground. As networks expand and markets change, CMOs are going to have to learn more about network optimisation, and CIOs and CTOs will have to start thinking about analytics, marketing and service personlisation. Thanks to technologically complex innovations like predictive analytics, marketing and technology are now inextricably linked.
I believe that every team can acknowledge that one of their top priorities is creating a seamless process that allows the business to define and maximise a customer’s lifetime value. By shifting the focus from network or business metrics to customer experience metrics, CSPs can change the dialogue between silos.
A Holistic Experience
In the telco industry, the future of networks is marketing and the future of marketing is networks. When a customer is using data across a network, CMOs now need to know how the data is being used. This allows for real-time, targeted marketing campaigns aligned with customer usage trends.
These kinds of findings would be impossible without the help of the CTO and CIO, as they track the performance and behaviours across a network. Likewise, advanced, automated marketing campaigns are going to impact networks in new ways.
By uniting silos with the common goal of creating a better customer experience, teams can finally break the language barrier and work toward shared objectives. This shift won’t just help revolutionise things for customers, it could help revolutionise things for CSPs, too.
Comptel will be at Management World 2013 in Nice, France from 14 -16 May. Stop by if you’re there and we can talk more about the future of CSP marketing!
A few months ago, a friend made me aware of the Afrinnovator website displaying the tagline: “Putting Africa on the map,” with the goal of “telling the stories of African startups, African innovation, African-made technology, African tech entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs.”
First, this publication is focused on technology really changing lives. We’re living in a world where seemingly everything is mobile, where there’s an “M-something” for everything. For instance, there is mobile banking, education, agriculture, trading, health, security and government. Additionally, it’s about mobile meeting the daily needs of the consumer — not just a mobile “entertain -and -share-everything” mentality as I am more accustomed to reading about.
Second, these services are not only being delivered by “sexy” data bandwidth hungry smartphone apps, but are also using low-tech solutions that will work with even the least technical phone. For example, there is mobile banking using USSD, mobile medical diagnosis using MMS to send pictures, and even mobile vehicle licensing and resume submissions for jobs using SMS.
So, you may now be asking what the OSS angle is for an OSS blog.
Well, the point is the differences I noted between the mobile service innovation in developed vs. developing countries is an example of how markets naturally work to allocate resources at an aggregate level to meet their needs. However, while most people will tolerate my generalisations of developed vs. developing markets, it is fair to say that generalised services are no longer good enough for individual subscribers within markets.
Essentially, what is needed at an aggregate level is not necessarily what is needed at an individual level within those markets. This is what Comptel’s Customer Engagement Solutions can do to ensure an operator that the appropriate services and customer experience is delivered for individual subscribers, given their personal context.
Now, as a consumer of services I am the first to admit that I don’t always know what I want until after I have experienced it – or it is taken away. So, am I suggesting empowering operators with mind-reading abilities? You bet I am…
Over the past several months, I have continued to travel and meet with customers and partners around the world. It is interesting to see that everybody wants to become more efficient, while growing their top lines and improving their business performance—but in the various regions, the approaches communications service providers (CSP) have taken to achieve these goals have been very different.
Recalling these dialogs, I am confident that the event-analysis-action strategic framework Comptel has developed is capable of addressing most of their needs and seeing through their business objectives. So, I’m excited to highlight two strong approaches for facilitating improved CSP business performance, which we are on hand to discuss and demonstrate this week in Dublin.
Utilising advanced predictive analytics technology, CIQ4T allows CSPs to gain an understanding of the uniqueness of individual subscribers and circumstances, and leverage that knowledge to predict behaviours and market changes, in turn, reducing churn, boosting customer engagement and realising better business.
What does that mean exactly? As Comptel’s vice president of analytics, Matti Aksela, shares in this video, the key characteristics in CIQ4T are contextual real-time insights, advanced predictive analytics and the fact that all of this intelligence can be translated into timely and relevant action. By leveraging historical and real-time data and predictive modelling to provide unique insights into future customer behaviours, CSPs can determine more targeted, appropriate and timely offerings for increased ARPU.
CIQ4T also provides the foundation for dynamic profiling and segmentation for service bundles and campaigns, makes mobile advertising more relevant and informs network operations with an estimation of usage volumes and types of devices in use for optimised asset utilisation. All of this contributes to most of the areas where CSPs want to focus—and so far, our customer implementations and proof-of-concepts have demonstrated encouraging results. One of the cases, which targeted a specific customer segment (top 10% of monthly users),has already showed a 21% reduction in churn and 25% increase in revenue.
Next, I’d like to mention the progress of our fulfillment offering and how our Next Generation Fulfillment strategy has come to fruition. Likewise, this is a much-needed component for CSPs to ensure a high customer experience, particularly at the first point of engagement, in order to remain competitive and to drive profitable business.
Our real-time, high-performance, catalog-driven and fully integrated fulfillment platform monitors and expedites the end-to-end process from service order capture to service delivery with precision and with minimal human intervention, which greatly reduces the likelihood of failed orders, disappointed customers and, ultimately, lost revenue.
We will be announcing in the coming weeks and months how CSPs are leveraging Comptel Fulfillment to accelerate time-to-revenue for new products; support service innovation to help gain first-mover advantage; and ensure accurate and consistent product launches and deployments, optimising the customer experience and leading to improved retention and ARPU.
Again, I am confident that this development will meet the changing service aggregation needs, enable true innovation for market leadership and set CSPs out on the right path in today’s increasingly complex telecoms environment.
I hope we will have a chance to ‘co’nverse on facilitating improved CSP business performance at Management World 2012 this week, and wish everyone a very productive and ‘co’llaborative tradeshow.
Today, we’re excited to announce the availability of Comptel Fulfillment 8, the latest version of our catalog-driven platform that enables communications service providers (CSPs) to streamline and manage the end-to-end process of service order capture to service delivery.
This new version of Comptel Fulfillment was designed specifically to reduce the complexity of today’s multi-faceted, blended communications environment and expedite the deployment and launch of rich communications services. For instance, the highly performing platform, which brings to life our Next Generation Fulfillment strategy unveiled last autumn, enables CSPs to manage a broader portfolio of products and services. This includes the inclusion of third-party applications and content, which supplements the traditional product offerings of the CSP—and simplified service creation with the link to an agile and efficient service catalog.
On top of that, Comptel Fulfillment 8 monitors and expedites the end-to-end process from service-order capture to service delivery with precision and minimal human intervention, which greatly reduces the likelihood of failed orders, disappointed customers and ultimately lost revenue. Utilising a common platform and fully integrated components, such as a statefully aware service and resource inventory, the product understands the status and context of CSPs’ networks, customers and service use – and its open flexibility makes rapidly responding to changing market requirements easier.
With customer expectations continuing to rise, CSPs are under tremendous pressure to meet, and exceed demand with fast, accurate and customised service delivery. We’re proud that our new fulfillment solution enables this by giving CSPs superior command of their products and services and the ability to better incorporate innovations into their offerings. For more information, read today’s full announcement on Comptel Fulfillment 8.
Last month, we polled Compelling Conversations on OSS readers on their customer engagement habits. Primarily relevant for communications service providers, the informal survey asked about when you’re most likely to interact with customers. Fifty-percent of respondents told us they were most likely to engage in order to create upsell opportunities, followed by a three-way tie (16.7%) between engaging at the point sale, point of complaint and when contracts are up for renewal. You can see the full results here.
This month, we’re curious to know where your business priorities stand, as new technologies continue to roll out and customer expectations remain high. We’re looking forward to your responses—and again welcome you to share any thoughts in the “Comments” section below, especially if you select “Other”.