The Benefits of Social Network Analytics for Marketing

Posted: August 14th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Benefits of Social Network Analytics for Marketing

Social network analytics (SNA) is becoming increasingly popular as communications service providers (CSPs) look to better understand their customers and secure a competitive edge in the market. As part of an advanced analytics approach, SNA enables CSPs to dive into the billions of daily transactions on their networks and utilise the calling patterns to identify influencers and better segment their subscribers – and ultimately realise more value.

For instance, call detail records provide CSPs with a unique insight into social interactions through the daily communication of their subscribers. This network may be even more important for CPSs than most online social networks, for example, which are just snapshots of a person’s interactions, many of which may not be very relevant, especially with regards to the activities of CSPs.

However, SNA alone is not the ultimate end-all solution and is, instead, one very valuable aspect of the larger scope of analytics. And when combined with predictive analytics, SNA truly offers a distinct advantage for CSPs. For instance, they can use SNA to power their predictive capabilities and generate insight regarding data that is otherwise unavailable on the single subscriber level. On top of this, SNA and predictive analytics can help CSPs benefit from the interactions between subscribers, help with overall customer experience management and automate operational actions to increase productivity. And let’s not forget, perhaps the best known application of SNA, viral marketing – an approach that remains one of the strongest, most effective marketing techniques. But again, it’s crucial to take into account that understanding the social network alone is not enough. Rather, when combined with the right product, predictive analytics powered by SNA can really make a difference.

Take, for instance, a teenager who texts frequently. If he or she receives an appealing SMS rate reduction that’s just right for them – perhaps one that predictive models have indicated would be suitable – this subscriber will be more likely to spread the word to those in his or her network, causing a positive ripple effect. As a result, many of these connections may pursue that same SMS rate, providing an increase in revenue for the CSP.

Ultimately, recommendations from family and friends can be far more effective than traditional advertising. In this way, combining predictive analytics and SNA can play a key role in any CSP’s arsenal. And of course, a well-executed SNA strategy balances providing personalised offers without infringing on subscriber privacy.

If you’d like to read more about combining predictive analytics and SNA— and taking this even one step further to understand and act upon the context of each interaction — download our recent whitepaper with Heavy Reading on Contextual Intelligence. What are your thoughts on SNA? Is it of value? Are there actual network influencers whose recommendation you follow regardless of the topic? Or would you say you’re more swayed by having CSPs make the right offer, and it holds more weight when the offer is recommended by those whose opinion you trust in the context of what is being offered?


Poll: What’s the Biggest Opportunity of Big Data/Analytics?

Posted: August 1st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

In June’s poll we surveyed the trendiest buzzwords circulating within the telecoms sector. “Analytics/Big Data” edged out with 43% of the vote, followed by “Customer experience management” with 38%. Rounding out the top three was “Innovation” with nearly 10% of the vote.

This month, we take a closer look at the poll’s trendiest buzzword to better understand what Big Data/Analytics means to you. Tell us what excites you most about applying Big Data/Analytics to the telecoms sector. We welcome you to post in the “Comments” section below as always.


Let the 15th Annual Comptel User Group Begin!

Posted: June 11th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Let the 15th Annual Comptel User Group Begin!

After some very good conversations at Management World 2012 in Dublin just a few weeks ago, we’re eager to continue the momentum and kick off the 15th annual Comptel User Group in Copenhagen, Denmark this week. Attendees can look forward to networking with Comptel’s executive management and our resident solution experts and learning from other customers and partners, in addition to partaking in some fun extracurricular activities like dinner at one of Copenhagen’s oldest theme parks and most popular attractions, Tivoli.

During the event, we’ll be exploring what seems like one of the hottest topics in the telecoms industry at the moment—analytics. In particular, we’ll be focusing on how it applies to Contextual Intelligence for Telecommunications (CIQ4T) and how it can help communications service providers (CSPs) address the challenges of customer experience management. Stay tuned for the results of an interactive voting session on this topic!

This year’s Comptel User Group will also feature a corporate strategy overview from CEO Juhani Hintikka, followed by presentations from TRUE Corporation in Thailand on provisioning, tefficient on improving efficiency in the telecoms sector, and Heavy Reading analysts Sarah Wallace and Ari Banerjee on compelling use cases for analytics, among others. Product demos and sessions on how they can help CSPs make data beautiful and better engage with their customers will also be available throughout the week.

While we wait for things to officially begin, here are some fun facts about the beautiful city of Copenhagen:

Did you know…

  • In 2007, Copenhagen was voted the world’s happiest city.
  • Around 30 percent of the Danish population – 1.8 million out of 5.4 million – live in the Copenhagen Metropolitan area.
  • Copenhagen’s harbor has been thoroughly cleaned in the past decade:  the inner harbor is now clean enough to swim in.
  • The dragon spire of Copenhagen’s old Stock Exchange, Børsen – now home to the Danish Chamber of Commerce – was created by a designer of fireworks.

Stay tuned for more insights from various Comptelians on-site at the Comptel User Group!


The Difference Between CRM and CEM—and Why CSPs Need Both

Posted: June 5th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

I’ve recently been asked for my opinions on the difference between Customer Experience Management (CEM) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) with relation to the telecommunications sector. This is, indeed, an interesting question, especially considering the subtle, yet remarkable, differences in the answer.

Let’s first consider CRM, which has traditionally been defined as a means for communications service providers (CSPs) to manage the contact and various segmentation parameters of their customers. For instance, these systems provide the ability to build targeted campaigns based on demographic or other more or less rigid segmentation criteria. CRM also enables CSPs to react swiftly when customers are demanding new services or to respond, after the fact, to a negative customer experience.

We are now, however, operating in a time where managing the customer base through high level segmentation or post-event action isn’t sufficient enough, on its own, to ensure a differentiating customer experience. This is where CEM steps in. It can enable organisations to proactively—and even preemptively—engage with, and take appropriate targeted actions to avoid any challenges that might surface, such as quality of service issues.

Yet, the perception still exists that CEM is simply the ability to understand, in-depth, the manner in which services are being used by subscribers and having the availability of related transactional data. While this helps broaden the knowledge about CSPs’ customer bases, their needs and preferences, we are now living in a time when CEM can be extended to encompass true personalised and proactive action.

Coupling real-time data from services and networks with a contextual understanding of a customer’s situation leverages both the CRM and CEM concepts to place real intelligence in the palm of CSPs. This level of contextual intelligence will, undoubtedly, bring with it great customer experience and differentiating opportunities.

The recently announced CIQ4T (Contextual Intelligence for Telecommunications) concept addresses this need and opportunity to link together CRM and CEM. It leverages advanced predictive analytics to provide a holistic, contextual understanding of individual subscribers’ usage patterns, behaviours and circumstances to proactively drive personalised interaction and improve overall experience.

After all, the battle for incumbent versus challenger in the telecommunications space is no longer being fought in the infrastructure build-out, but instead on CSPs’ ability to retain customers and build a positive reputation for service. Subscribers have so many options when it comes to selecting a CSP; it’s imperative for operators to proactively influence and eventually anticipate the needs and wants of its customers. So it really isn’t about defining the difference between CRM and CEM, it’s about making them work holistically together. #CIQ4T


Two Strong Approaches for Facilitating Improved CSP Business Performance

Posted: May 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s been some time since I last shared updates on Comptel’s business and strategy, but I was inspired to blog after listening to our team’s briefing for Management World 2012.

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.

Let me first touch upon Contextual Intelligence for Telco (CIQ4T), a completely new approach that can help CSPs take customer experience management to the next level and fully maximise their business opportunities. The concept comes from another discipline but is one we felt was critical for CSPs to leverage.

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.

This is only the first step in bringing the CIQ4T approach to life, but I’m expecting it to become a necessity for CSPs, as more recognise that their customers want personalised, real-time interaction and the importance of targeting the right individual with the right offering at the right time.

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.


Reflecting on My First Three Months with Comptel

Posted: May 15th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Reflecting on My First Three Months with Comptel

I promised to write a follow-up blog post after completing Comptel’s rebranding and spending one quarter with the company. I was especially inspired to do this after one of the Finnish business papers asked me to describe how I felt after having spent 100 days in my new role—but in just one sentence.

Requests for this type of ‘elevator pitch’ can be extremely difficult, particularly to be so concise, but mine came pretty easily: “It’s refreshing to be in a company where the values are high on senior leaders’ agendas and present in everything we do.” And after sharing this ‘elevator pitch’, it became even clearer to me that my colleagues, who have been with the company a bit longer, have positively experienced the change Comptel has gone through in the past year, and that other newcomers like me have also welcomed the spirit of the highly knowledgeable and friendly people we have.

In the last blog post, I also discussed the ‘love business’ and how the majority of consumers feel like they haven’t been getting enough love from their communications service providers (CSPs). I feel like discussing this softer side of doing business is critical for any organisation that wants to succeed. So, I’ve tried to summarise our corporate values and make them a bit more concrete with a couple of my own recent experiences as examples.

For instance, last week, I had the privilege of participating in a session where the core members of our analytics team shared their backgrounds and where they would like to see Comptel go in this space. There were many fascinating stories with members of the group talking about their Ph.D.s in mathematics, shared passions for solving problems, and journeys from battling trial and error to ultimately achieving real success when demonstrating how their algorithms can help CSPs get closer to their customers (e.g. predicting the churners with extreme accuracy). This was the perfect setting for showing our excitement about the value add we deliver to our customers and our focus on constantly making things happen and improving the results. I regret that I did not capture those stories via video, but we will soon have a short one featuring Matti Aksela, vice president of analytics. (In the meantime, you can read about Matti’s views on customer experience management in the April-May issue of VanillaPlus,)

Similarly, I visited three of our main offices: Sao Paulo, Brasil; Reading, U.K.; and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and found that it was really refreshing to see positive energy, close collaboration at both the global and regional levels, and a strong desire to meet our customers’ needs. And, respect, which is challenging to execute across all individuals in an organisation, was clearly evident as well. I believe the diverse cultural mix across our global organisation lends well to the way respect is shown and expressed—whether it is related to customer requirements or collegial collaboration.

Am I still in a honeymoon phase with Comptel? I don’t think so after hearing that long-time employees share the same feelings—and that they were the ones who established and have made our corporate values happen. The key to this: believing that nothing is impossible and being able to put egos aside and respecting decisions made as a team versus as individuals.

It’s interesting to see how our four values—passion, united, respect and make it happen—are related. It is a bit difficult to make the most out of oneself without passion, and business today is such a complex entity of variables that nobody can make it alone; thus, it is critical to unite and collaborate. Without respect, we cannot ensure that our work is fully resourced and timed to deliver the expected results, such as the processing of more than half a billion network transactions daily for Telefónica Central America.

Comptel’s business outlook is ambitious, requiring constantly winning new customers and enhancing our portfolio by launching new products, solutions and services—all while improving our productivity. The key to achieving these objectives is to align all of the forces needed to reach these goals, ensure a shared direction, keep people motivated and tweak the environment to produce winning teams. I believe that well-implemented values like ours provide fuel for the engine needed to deliver such promises to the market.

This was my reflection from my past three months at Comptel, but as I’m more of a forward-looking person, I would like to briefly highlight our presence at Management World 2012 next week. We are excited to meet with customers, partners and prospects, and discuss how we can help CSPs understand the status and context of their networks and their customers and their service use, rapidly respond to changing market requirements and, more importantly, institute the best approaches for predicting churners and generating new revenue opportunities for better business. We are all passionate and excited about showing how our ‘event-analysis-action’ strategic framework has been operationalised. Hope to see you in Dublin and ‘co’nverse on making data even more beautiful!


Comptel Acquires Xtract

Posted: January 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Last week, Comptel announced its intention to acquire Xtract, a company headquartered in Espoo near Helsinki (Finland) and specialising in advanced analytics. The purpose of the acquisition is to extend Comptel’s product portfolio and expertise, specifically with a view to deliver on the “event-analysis-action” vision outlined in the company’s strategy, which was communicated to the market in Q4 2011.

Comptel’s strategy is focused on helping communications service providers (CSPs) to act as service aggregators (i.e. blending together services from multiple sources), and to use data about customers and operations to drive real-time business decisions and deliver services. This strategy builds on Comptel’s current expertise, i.e. processing a large amount of usage data (“event”) and making things happen in the network or elsewhere (“action”), e.g. fulfilling a service order or implementing a policy.

Comptel believes that by analysing the data they process in real time, CSPs can turn that data into actionable information, which can be acted upon automatically. This will allow CSPs to improve their interaction with their customers, offering better services to them and to their partners (e.g. third-party providers), resulting in increased revenues and reduced churn. In many ways, this can be seen as a next step in customer experience management.

Clearly, the missing piece in this vision was the “analysis” part, i.e. advanced analytics software. Comptel considered a number of possible acquisition targets in the analytics space. Comptel chose Xtract for a number of reasons, including the real-time subscriber behaviour analytics capability; the expertise and thought leadership in advanced analytics, particularly in telecoms; and the customer base, including major telecom references. In fact, Comptel had already partnered with Xtract in 2011, most notably creating a demo that was presented to delegates at the Comptel User Group (CUG) in June. That demo was extremely well received by operators attending the event.

This acquisition is clearly an exciting development for Comptel and Xtract, and customers and partners. Comptel will be sharing more details about its vision and plans at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from 27 February – 1 March. So why not arrange to meet there to find out more (email comptel.marketing@comptel.com)?


Around the World

Posted: September 26th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Broadband Traffic Management…
Analysys Mason: MNOs Need a New Approach to Compete with OTT VoIP
A report from Analysys Mason forecasts that third parties could account for as much as 16 percent of mobile service revenue in Western Europe by 2017. Consumer interest in over-the-top (OTT) mobile VoIP applications, such as Google Voice and Skype, are forcing operators to address the issue of how to charge for these types of services. Principal analyst Stephen Sale and research director Tom Rebbeck state that short-term measures like blocking or charging a premium for OTT services fail to address the issue in a sustainable manner, and operators should instead use a scenario-based approach to engage with longer-term market developments and effectively compete. As the report notes, common themes across each scenario include the need for operators to use policy control to manage the price and value of third-party applications, along with the need for them to pay attention to customer behaviour.

Tech Central…
The State of Telecoms in Africa
Africa is quickly moving to high-speed broadband, yet the continent’s ability to offer more Internet services and data access could be hindered by the inability of operators to deliver reasonably priced, fast and reliable bandwidth. Russell Southwood, head of African telecom consultancy Balancing Act Africa, says migrating to LTE may be the solution needed to overcome this roadblock.

Despite the challenges outlined in the article, Africa’s fastest growing sector is the telecoms industry, as noted in previous highlights, which gives hope that operators will spur innovation through continued expansion and better service and greater rural coverage. In addition to LTE, what game-changing technology do you think is needed to achieve a high-speed Africa?

Pipeline Magazine…
Analysts Weigh in on the Customer Experience
Stratecast, Yankee Group and Infonetics Research discuss the customer experience management (CEM) craze and agree that defining CEM can be difficult. The bottom line though: increasing revenue and reducing costs do not automatically equal a better customer experience. However, working on customer experience first and implementing the right “technologies that allow you to do a better job of understanding your customers,” as Nancee Ruzicka of Stratecast says, “[can] reduce costs. They do improve revenues. They do have all of those positive money effects. Then you start to see your business case.” What do you think of the analysts’ points on CEM?


Around the World

Posted: August 12th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Computer Business Review…

Mobile Network Operators Face Surging Data Delivery Costs: Study

According to Juniper Research, mobile data delivery costs could go up to $370 billion by 2016—a sevenfold jump from $53 billion in 2010. The analyst firm reported that mobile network operators can reduce costs with Wi-Fi network build-out, femtocells and network sharing initiatives.  Juniper also suggested that mobile network operators in developing countries transition to renewable energy for off-grid networks.

The bottom line though: data usage is outpacing operators’ revenues. This only continues to underscore the need to strike a balance between encouraging service use, controlling resources like bandwidth and ensuring maximum payback. Policy control gives operators the levers to manage mobile data delivery and monetise the services.

Alcatel-Lucent Blog

Customer Experience Management and the Thieves of Time

Did you know that it costs about five to ten times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing customer? As Alcatel-Lucent’s Vincent Kavanagh notes, unfortunately, “money talks”— and most companies typically end up incorrectly distributing their marketing spend. They’ve also ignored the fact that happy customers have proven to stay longer and spend more, and not made customer experience management (CEM) a priority.

Luckily, operators are paying greater attention to CEM. They are being increasingly conscious of customers’ time and interacting with them more over multiple channels including social media. One important area that they have yet to tap into though is their OSS and network data, to gain a holistic view of subscriber activity. By doing so, operators can open up a myriad of possibilities and turn them into something that can be monetised.

TYN…

Cloud Computing: Latin American Market Will Be 69% in Five Years

IDC recently conducted its Cloud Solutions Roadshow in Argentina, and after meeting with various Latin American company executives, one of the research firm’s vice presidents, Ricardo Villate, has dubbed 2011 as “the year of the cloud.”

IDC survey results have shown that 14.5 percent of Latin American companies with more than 100 employees have implemented cloud services. This is nearly three times more than in January 2010, and the market is expected to continue this steady growth pattern, reaching 69 percent in five years.

It’s exciting to see barriers to enterprise cloud adoption like security and performance management being broken down, much like Comptel demonstrated through several TM Forum Catalyst initiatives.


Five Ways to Enrich the Customer Experience

Posted: August 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

By Samantha Tanner, Telecoms IQ at IQPC

Customers are the most important part of a Communication Service Provider’s (CSP) business; after all, if a CSP doesn’t have any customers, they don’t have a business. Therefore, your customer experience strategy must reflect how important they are to you.

When putting together your customer experience model, take into consideration these five key aspects:

1. Emotions: Decide what emotions you are trying to invoke in your customers, and design an engaging customer experience around that.

Colin Shaw, founder of Beyond Philosophy believes that the process of turning customers into advocates has to be thought through—what does it mean to make them an advocate? What would it take to make them one?

According to Comptel’s CTO office director, Greg Scullard, the details of every event or transaction in customers’ lifecycles are key to winning hearts, minds and wallets.

2. Advocacy: Encourage advocacy by working toward a long-lasting customer relationship.

Andrew Williams, director of customer experience for Orange FT Group, believes that “the reason (advocacy is) important is that customers who are genuinely engaged with you and your service(s) are likely to stay longer and spend more money by buying more services or more expensive plans. But also, importantly, (customers) are prepared to go out there and tell their friends and family about what a great experience they’re having.”

3. Engagement: Actively seek out what services or actions will make your customers happy. Think about what your customers want and what they might require from you. For example, are they increasingly setting up smartphone plans? If so, one core desire will likely be fast data / Internet access.

Olivier Suard, marketing director at Comptel, explains that operators need to go the extra mile and be more interactive with their customers. By leveraging their OSS and network data, they can develop a complete picture of their customers’ behaviours, which will enable them to proactively engage with them, anticipate problems and ensure their satisfaction.

Likewise, be sure to listen to customers’ feedback. Subscribers are increasingly turning to social media as a customer service tool. Karl Whitelock, director, OSS/BSS business strategy, Stratecast agrees, finding that “what is most striking today is the speed with which customers react through social media. If a customer has a bad experience […] there can be a movement of thousands of others demanding a more equitable solution in just a few hours.” As mindsets change, so do the channels that customers want to be engaged through—be sure to listen and take note.

Dr. Nicola Millard, experience futurologist for BT Global Services, concurs: “The Internet’s given us a lot more choice than we used to have. So we’re seeing more people seeking advice via Googling or asking their social media connections. Often, the organisation is the last port of call.”

Image via TmoNews

4. Switch Focus: Change your mindset from being ROI-driven to being customer focused, and the ROI will come naturally.

Fifty percent of the customer experience is based on how the customer feels, explains Shaw. Relaying this message and integrating it into the way a company operates can be a challenge, especially when the overarching mindset is focused strictly on ROI. Because of this, he believes, it’s important to put yourself in the customers’ shoes. And over the past two years, , CSPs have really tried to focus on investing in customer care and driving brand loyalty rather than simply pushing products.

5. Never Be Satisfied: Keep going back to the drawing board and ask yourself if there is any way to further enrich or improve your customer experience.

Take, for example, Orange FT Group’s customer experience strategy. Every time a new product or service is launched the company maps out its customers’ journeys to try and understand what customers will want and what their needs are.

Emilie Smith, customer experience manager at Orange FT Group, says: “I think one of the things that we found is that sometimes there’s not an understanding across all areas of what actually happens, particularly at that beginning stage where a customer is doing his/her research. So, one of the things we do is take our staff back to being customers—we’ve seen that they then really understand the experience.”

In conclusion, if you want your customers to be loyal, and thus maximise revenue, work on your overall customer experience strategy. It goes a long way in portraying to your customers what kind of relationship you are hoping to build with them.

For more information on this topic and to listen to the original interviews, please visit www.customerexperienceevent.com.