Passionate about Adding Value

Posted: May 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Passionate about Adding Value

A good month ago I changed my position from heading Marketing and Communications to leading the newly established Analytics Business Unit in Comptel. Since then, I have had six customer meetings in the Middle East Africa and Asia Pacific regions in addition to the kick-off workshop with the new team and one week of holiday. To sum up, I could state that my past six weeks have not been boring.

Ulla Koivukoski and her new Analytics Business Unit at kick-off

Some of my friends and my dear daughter have asked about the constant source of energy to go for something unknown or new. Advanced analytics is still taking its baby steps in the telecommunications industry. One friend was teasing that wouldn’t it be nicer just to focus on gardening and fishing instead of running constantly into new challenges. The answer to the latter question is naturally yes, but when one has the passion for something else, why not to go for it as long as the inspiration and motivation is there? And the former question? I simply love my job and my colleagues from whom I learn everyday something, if nothing more, about myself.

What keeps me going then?

Think back to one of those moments when you succeeded in making somebody really happy and were appreciated for it? How did you feel? I’m sure you felt good. It’s the same with my job. Those of you who have been in the technology business know that it’s not always bed of roses when delivering complex solutions. However, when you have delivered the solution and see the satisfied smile on the customer’s face, you can feel good as well. You might not be as emotional in this sense as I am, but it’s maybe worth reminding that customer satisfaction and customer profitability have a strong correlation.

During the trips to the regions, it was my great pleasure to meet one of our customers whose marketing team was very happy with the results which we had delivered together with them. I also met some communications service providers (CSP) who don’t yet have our analytics, but who got nearly as excited as I about the business opportunities we could bring to them. To be fair, I must admit that I also visited a customer site, where we are still in the building phase and are a bit learning the environment and way of working. However, I was really delighted to experience the spirit of collaboration “to build the success for both parties”, as the customer stated.

How do I know whether we are adding value?

The hot topic of the entire ICT world is Big Data. There is a lot of hype around it and some scepticism, whether the CSPs can ever really monetise it. In telecommunications, the tendency has been to invest in large systems and then start building something valuable on top of it. The market is changing faster than it used to, and maybe there is a need for more dynamic and ready thought-out solutions to address specific business issues? This is the way how we think we can help derive value from Big Data. We have been working on specific business cases that are based on some of the real results from our projects. Naturally we have applied them in fashion that protects our customer’s anonymity but are still very enthusiastic about the opportunity, for example, to help CSPs prevent churn to both stop wasting their marketing OPEX and get more revenue per customer. One exciting opportunity is related to new technology launches such as LTE, but there are many more.

This week has been another inspirational week for me

Although I did not have time to participate in the Management World 2013 in Nice, I can remotely celebrate the announcements which we have posted at the event. Naturally the greatest pleasure was the Pipeline Innovation Award of the Customer Experience Management for Comptel Social Links. The other news, such as the innovations intent with a cloud computing leader, Salesforce.com and collaboration with Tech Mahindra Limited show that we as a company have succeeded to encourage our people to come up with non-traditional ways of delivering customer value and to understand the importance of partnerships.

The first weeks with the Analytics Business Unit have been hectic and I don’t expect anything less from the future, but there is so much positive momentum and customer interaction that it keeps me and the team going.


Comptel Forms Two New Partnerships to Help CSPs Focus on Customer Experience and Smarter Operations

Posted: May 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , | 3 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 comptel.marketing@comptel.com.


Comptel Comes to Turkey to Make Data Beautiful

Posted: March 20th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Comptel Comes to Turkey to Make Data Beautiful

For the telecom industry, spring is always such an interesting time due to the variety of events taking place. Most of us divide the season into the periods of ‘before and after Mobile World Congress’ and ‘by Management World’. Comptel’s no exception to this—we are participating in a number of events in the first half of 2012, as we continue to build our presence closer to customers, fulfilling the promise of growth to shareholders.

To obtain new customers and to make existing ones even happier, we continuously look for opportunities to operate in their local markets. So, this week, we are attending Eurasia Com in Istanbul, Turkey. Our CEO, Juhani Hintikka, along with other Comptelians, will be on hand at the conference and the networking event on the 20th of March, which we have sponsored in celebration of the opening of a new office in the country.

Personally, I regret that I cannot attend the event. Istanbul is a wonderful city with a mixture of Asian, European and Middle Eastern cultures. I lived in Istanbul when the famous WAP-era was about to start and there was talk about bringing Internet to everyone’s pockets. In those days, we had a hint of what was to come in mobile, but both technology and understanding of end-user needs needed a few rounds of evolution before the mobile Internet could truly take off. The business models between the network providers and service and applications providers have also developed drastically.

Another milestone I can recall from my experience in Turkey’s telecom landscape happened about five years ago, when the industry started to talk about customer experience. I had the privilege, with a former colleague, to benchmark where one of the Turkish service providers were in terms of customer experience, compared to one of the leading Western European service providers. Since then, the situation of Turkey’s telecommunications has changed quite a bit. In fact, according to the CIA World Fact Book, it is a “comprehensive telecommunications network undergoing rapid modernization and expansion especially in mobile-cellular services.”

Turkey indeed is an important market for Comptel, and we aim to continue building a strong presence there. I wish a great event to all of the Eurasia Com participants and hope you’ll attend the networking event introducing us and our “Making Data Beautiful” messaging to the country.


Management World 2011: Another Day in Dublin

Posted: May 25th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Day 2 of Management World 2011 started more or less where Day 1 left off (i.e. plenty of wind outside and plenty of meetings inside).

We have been very pleased by the turnout at this event so far. When TM Forum announced at very short notice last year that it was moving the event from Nice to Dublin, my immediate concern was: will people follow?

As a result, given the perceived risk and to some extent the intransigence of TM Forum on pricing, we decided to scale back our investment in the event. Comptel is not a sponsor and has not opted to take executive appointmentsettings this year. We have invested more in the booth, however, and built on two floors to give us an extra meeting room and afford us a better view of the exhibition hall!

Anyhow, it seems that, despite the near universal grumbling about Dublin not being Nice, people have turned up. Our meeting rooms have been full, and the exhibition floor has been busy. A straw-pole of my colleagues yesterday indicates that the customer and partner conversations have been good, too.

Aside from that, today saw the presentation by Comptel’s Mika Tanttu and Stratecast’s Nancee Ruzicka on the business drivers for policy control and how to get complete control over the customer. Specifically, they shared what TeliaSonera is doing in the space, with the help of Comptel.

And tonight is THE event of the show: Comptel’s party! When Management World was in Nice, Comptel used to hold a very popular rooftop party. This being Dublin, an open rooftop party is not really an option, so we have instead opted to go underground in a bar called The Vaults. We are very much looking forward to it and Day 3!


The Innovation Revolution Makes its Way to Dublin

Posted: May 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Management World 2011 got off to a good start today despite the looming ash cloud. TM Forum reported an increase in attendance—up from 3100 to 3500—and we had the first of 100+ pre-set meetings with customers, partners and industry media and analysts.

Unfortunately, Barack Obama was unable to swing round to our booth today, as he left Dublin early last night to London. However, Ireland’s minister for communications, energy and natural resources, Pat Rabbitte, gave a nice welcome to begin the keynote session. The major theme for this year is: innovation, and how the industry needs to evolve to deliver revolutionary, profitable services. Like Mr. Rabbitte and the rest of the morning’s speakers noted, establishing collaborative partnerships and enabling customers’ journeys (in which OSS plays a particularly important role) are crucial to this.

Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Comptel partner Alcatel-Lucent, joined in via a video message from the eG8 to discuss the challenges of today’s digital economy. According to him, it’s important to connect the dots between operators’ interactions with consumers; as we’ve written before, customer loyalty will change if subscribers’ expectations are not met. The industry needs to be better able to cope with their demands.

Following Mr. Verwaayen was Stephen Shurrock, CEO of O2 Ireland, who explained how his organisation is trying to be

Stephen Shurrock, CEO of 02 Ireland

relevant to customers’ and Ireland’s journeys. To seize the data opportunity, O2 is focused on taking the complexity out of service / price plans—it’s about giving consumers the confidence to further take up data offerings, he said. The operator is also spurring innovation by expanding into new areas like financial services and the mobile wallet, and through its network-sharing deal with Eircom to provide better speeds and greater rural coverage.

What did you think of the morning’s presentations on the “innovation revolution”? We look forward to discussing this concept further while in Dublin.


Management World Goes Green

Posted: May 17th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | Comments Off on Management World Goes Green

Traditionally held in Nice, France, Management World is going green this year—to Dublin, Ireland that is! The conference also looks to largely be focused on the communications revolution and how it’s impacting CSPs’ green (or revenue)—the “Optimizing Customer Experience” and “End-to-End Revenue Management” Summits, for example, will discuss strategies for maximizing profitability and tapping into new business opportunities.

In addition to attending these informational presentations, connecting with customers, prospects and partners, and discussing hot topics like 4G/LTE, cloud computing and the customer experience, we’re thrilled to explore the new location. And to get attendees better acquainted with Ireland (beyond Dublin’s traffic jams and so-so weather), we uncovered some fun, little-known facts:

  • The longest place name in Ireland is Muckanaghederdauhaulia, in County Galway.
  • The original Guinness Brewery in Dublin has a 9,000 year lease on its property, at a perpetual rate of 45 Irish pounds per year.
  • Catherine Kelly, who died in 1785, was allegedly the smallest Irish woman ever. With a total height of just 34 inches and a weight of 8 pounds, she was known as “The Irish Fairy.”
  • A single day of good weather that pops up in a long stretch of bad days is known in Ireland as a “pet day.”
  • Bram Stoker was working as a civil servant in Dublin when he wrote “Dracula” in 1897.
  • Historians believe St. Patrick’s real name was “Maewyn Succat.”
  • The national symbol of Ireland is the Celtic harp, not the shamrock.
  • Killyleagh Castle, in County Down, Northern Ireland, is the oldest occupied castle in Ireland. Built in the 13th century, it is still in use as a private home.

Those attending Management World 2011 are invited to the Comptel booth, #49, to learn more about our suite of OSS solutions.


TM Forum Catalyst Explores the Monetisation of Cloud-Based Collaboration Services

Posted: May 10th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, News | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Over the past several years, Comptel has participated in a number of TM Forum Catalyst projects (most notably, the Product and Service Assembly initiative). And in the run up to Management World 2011, we’ve decided to team up with BT, Cisco and Progress Software again and build upon the Inter-Cloud Service Management Catalyst. A press release was distributed today announcing the latest proof-of-concept and the addition of Amartus, InfoVista and MetraTech to it.

I am particularly excited about the Enhanced Cloud Service Management Catalyst, as it is the first to involve Comptel’s mediation and policy control solutions. Last year, we were primarily focused on fulfillment, with being responsible for orchestrating the delivery of hosted unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) services. Now, in the second phase, we’re also taking a key role in the monetisation of these services by capturing and rating usage and performance data from the infrastructure. It’s great to have this year’s project leveraging most of our software assets, and thus completing the Comptel Dynamic OSS loop.

What’s also interesting to note about this Catalyst—the same core set of applications traditionally used to manage mobile networks is being applied to UC&C in the cloud. For instance, just like the mobile world has gone through many changes in terms of the way subscribers pay for services, customers of UC&C solutions will be looking for pricing that accurately represents their usage levels—whether its billing for video and call usage per minute or per second, blended pricing where video usage doesn’t incur charges for the audio that accompanies it or different pricing for the host and participants. To achieve this service differentiation, operators of UC&C services can exercise flexible policy control and charging capabilities.

Management World 2011 attendees, if you’d like to demo the project, email comptel.marketing@comptel.com or visit the Enhanced Cloud Service Management Catalyst booth in Forumville.

For those unable to make it to Dublin, a whitepaper with more information on “The Criticality of Effective Service Management in Monetising Cloud-Based Collaboration Services,” is available for download.


Around the World

Posted: December 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Around the World

Telecoms.com…
Realising the Value of Policy Control
Like Bob Machin, Informa Telecoms & Media analyst Peter Dykes recognised an interesting trend at this year’s Broadband Traffic Management conference – the growing realization that policy control can do more than just address operators’ pain points of capacity and usage issues.  While managing bandwidth is certainly a challenge for most operators, others are exploring policy control solutions for business growth opportunities.  Small operators in highly competitive emerging markets perceive policy control as differentiating technology because they are able to implement more effective loyalty campaigns and discounts in markets that are susceptible to high rates of churn.  Research from a number of sources including Informa has shown that while the ‘capacity crunch’ is an issue, where, when and how it occurs varies from network to network.  Peter states that “the likelihood is, however, that once this issue has been addressed, those operators using policy control in a more customer-facing manner will serve as examples of what else is possible with a little imagination.”

TM Forum’s Inside Revenue Management…
The BSS/OSS Beast
For years, industry professionals have grappled with the BSS/OSS divide, and whether or not the two should be differentiated.  But the results of a recent TM Forum’s BSS/OSS survey and a well-attended BSS roundtable at Management World Americas shed some new light on this debate.  People still view the 36 processes or functions that were noted in the survey as being predominantly BSS or OSS (41% and 19% respectively), but that almost one-third were both.  The general consensus is that just as CSPs remove the operational silos in current transformation projects, they should also remove the BSS/OSS silos as well.  The TM Forum is focusing their attention on integrating the BSS OSS space.  Keep an eye out for more on this subject via TM Forum’s website, blogs and communities.  Also, you can read some of the survey comments in Tony Poulos’ article, Support Systems by Any Other Name…

Light Reading…
Boom Time for Policy
Heavy Reading’s Graham Finnie raises an interesting question about the future of policy management –“despite [the] extremely positive picture for the sector, one big question remains: will policy tools now go on to assume the wider role in the network of the future that many inside in the industry are betting on?”.  Exploring this a bit further, the analyst firm conducted a survey and found that traffic management is the number one catalyst today for deploying policy tools (nothing surprising here).  Yet, many vendors are emphasizing the creation of more personalized services with policy control solutions.  Results show that there is certainly strong interest in personalizing services to differentiate from competitors; however, it is not the core catalyst.  Finnie points to five things that need to happen before policy can “really move to the heart of the mobile service package and creation story”:

  • First, operators and vendors need to engage with product development and marketing groups inside the telcos.
  • Second, a related point, policy creation tools need to be as easy to use as possible, so that marketing can build and deploy policies themselves.
  • Third, network operators need assurance that integration with subscriber data stores and charging systems will deliver what’s required at an acceptable cost.
  • Fourth, operators need assurances that greater policy complexity will not cause the policy platform to fall over, or become impossible to manage.
  • And fifth, policy will need to be deployed end-to-end, including in the RAN and at the individual cell level.

What do you think the number one catalyst is?


Around the World

Posted: November 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Around the WorldInside Track…
Management World Americas 2010: A View from the Sunshine State
Management World Americas is over for another year…  TM Forum recaps this year’s Orlando conference in this Inside Track newsletter article.  According toe TM Forum, more than 1,200 attendees participated in discussions, conference sessions, debates and networking opportunities.  One particular theme that permeated the event was cloud services.  Martin Creaner, president of TM Forum, commented, “Last year here in Orlando, we had a major launch of our involvement in the cloud space, and this year, the cloud sessions [were] standing room only.  It’s not only due to a growing importance of cloud services, but also the fact that service providers get the concept of cloud as an important part of reducing costs and as an enabler of this transformation to a new business model.”  As Comptel’s recent Comptel User Group survey showed, Cloud certainly offers a great opportunity for service provides, but like any other service, it needs to be closely managed.  If CSPs can’t define and deliver services efficiently, charge appropriately and keep customers satisfied, cloud will not be profitable.

Zippy’s Telecom Blog…
Smartphones Generate Nearly 65 Percent of the World’s Mobile Traffic
According a recent Informa report, smartphone users generate about two-thirds of total mobile cellular traffic worldwide (this excludes mobile broadband traffic generated by laptops and other portable devices, as well as Wi-Fi traffic offload that make up most mobile phone traffic).  Yet, only 13% of mobile subscribers use smartphones.  Moreover, as smartphone users spend more time on the Internet, the traffic that each individual generates—or average traffic per user (ATPU)–will increase over the next five years by 700%.

What’s interesting to note is that other reports, like this one from Analysys Mason, suggests that there is no ‘mobile data tsunami’.  Analyst Rupert Wood notes that mobile data growth is around 30 percent per year—not 100 percent like some of the wilder estimates have suggested.  Rupert point out that it is still the PCs that gobble up the bulk of mobile data in Europe—not smartphones; This was confirmed by various service providers, including Vodafone, speaking at this week’s Broadband Traffic Management conference in London. However, this proportion is rapidly changing, as smartphone uptake continues to boom and PC mobile data flattens.  Which figures do you think are the most accurate?

Connected Planet…
GSMA: The Time Has Come for More Connected Devices
The GSMA changed its rules to allow for embedded SIMs that can be remotely activated.  The wireless industry is a bit surprised by this announcement because GSMA decisions are driven by its mobile operator members, who, with the decision, may lose some control, such as locking people into their networks or having influence in the retail chain.  Rob Conway, CEO and member of the board of the GSMA, believes that embedded SIMs will provide security and portability for consumers, as well as additional functionality for enabling new services, such as such as e-Wallet and NFC applications. This news may also allow OTT players, like Apple or Google, to embed SIM cards into their phones and cut operators out of the retail chain, since phones would be remotely activated for a carrier network via stores and points of sale.  However, the announcement focused on the flexibility and innovations that its new “taskforce” (including includes AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom Orange, KT, NTT DOCOMO, SK Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Verizon Wireless, and Vodafone) can develop.  What do you think of this change?


What to Expect at Management World Americas

Posted: November 8th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Comptel will be exhibiting at this year’s Management World Americas, taking place in sunny Orlando, Florida from 9-11 November.  The week is shaping up to be a busy one—Comptel will not only be present at TM Forum’s conference in the U.S., but also at AfricaCom in Cape Town, South Africa.

As for Management World Americas, this year’s theme is “Beating the Revenue Crunch: Smart Pipes, Smart Services, Smart Business”.  And, TM Forum has put together an impressive keynote program that will debate the business and technology decisions communication service providers (CSPs) have to make in today’s world, where traditional voice and messaging services are declining and the explosion of data offerings is failing to deliver matching revenue growth.

Some of the questions that will be tackled by highlighted speakers including our partners IBM and Alcatel-Lucent—where, how and when should our industry reposition itself, and to what?  Is the future one where today’s CSPs become service-enabling ‘smart pipes’ and deliver an array of new retail brands, or is there still a strong role for telcos as retailers?  What would that change entail?

Supporting this theme will be four summits, 80 sessions and more than 100 presenters from CSPs and vendor companies worldwide.  The Cloud Summit, New Services and Business Models Summit, Operational Excellence Summit, and Customer Experience Summit will explore the current telco industry challenges and opportunities through case studies, panel discussions and executive roundtables.  Comptel and Mexican CSP Axtel will be presenting at the Operational Excellence Summit tomorrow, 9 November at 3:00 p.m. on the operator’s multi-phase OSS consolidation project, to roll out WiMAX and other next-generation network technologies and introduce new services to its customers.

Also on tap for Management World Americas, like in years past, are Forumville and Catalyst demonstrations.  Forumville will feature five themed zones showcasing nine live proof-of-concept, collaborative projects, including the Cloud Service Broker Catalyst.

For those going to Orlando, we hope you’ll swing by booth #28 and say hello.