Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Policy Decisions, Revenue, and Marketing’s Changing Responsibilities

Posted: April 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013: Policy Decisions, Revenue, and Marketing’s Changing Responsibilities

At the Policy Control and Data Pricing Conference 2013 last week, I attended an interesting panel discussion that spoke about how marketing’s role was evolving when it came to policy and charging decisions. One of the most important takeaways was that marketing is going to have to get more involved in policy control and charging acquisition decisions, which has largely been the territory of telecom and IT departments.

That’s because, these days, CSPs are not seeing policy as an independent function. Instead, the focus is more on generating money with policy and charging tools.

The reason that marketing’s input is getting crucial is that, with revenues from voice and text on the decline, communications service providers (CSPs) have to create strategic, adaptive and sticky policies and charging bundles to monetise data. Cooperation with OTTs is becoming more important, because businesses need to develop flexible, joint offering models that can be adjusted for an increase in the revenue from data and cover the investment costs of ever-growing data networks.

Marketing is interested in developing an environment which makes it easy to offer targeted policy and charging bundles to customers, which is difficult to implement without the help of predictive analytics that can determine individual usage patterns and behaviour.

Combining Policy with Monetisation

Most CSPs today treat policy and charging as separate from strategic monetisation campaigns, but that’s changing. The panel showed that many businesses are thinking about policy and charging as a way to create a holistic approach to providing customers with the most relevant services. As data becomes the dominant force of monetisation, CSPs will have to transform policy control from static to dynamic and from reactive to proactive… and this is where marketing comes in.

Traditionally, policy decisions were predominantly made by telecom and IT departments, but as more emphasis is placed on analytics and ROI, marketing will have to be integrated into the mix. Now it’s time to analyse the information more thoroughly, and look beyond data usage per customer into what kind of data is used, by whom, at what times, and through which context, and make sophisticated predictions about the potential change of data usage or risk of churn. All in all, policy and charging models are going to become more complex, which in turn requires accurate network planning, end-to-end design and implementation capability.

Marketing will have to work with IT and telecom to target policy and charging models at a much more granular level. Each customer will have to be offered a policy and charging based on current and predicted behavior and data usage trends. Analytics tools will be the key to not just determining existing trends, but planning for new ones and responding to them in real-time or near-realtime, depending on each use case’s requirement.

The Paradox: Real-Time Policy and Real-Life Turnaround

As the panel explained, the problem right now is that the creation and management of policy control is not flexible or efficient enough. Often, policy models touch many parts of the organization, so decisions have to get approved by multiple departments and multiple levels of management before going into action. In these cases, CSPs risk losing serious revenue opportunities by not responding to customer needs quickly enough.

So, how can CSPs find efficient tools and simplify the process so that these new, innovative services will reach the audience fast enough?

Real-time analytics require real-time turnaround, but right now there are a lot of requirements for any policy change. It can take up to six months or more to deploy new policies, which inhibits the growth of the flexible environment needed to improve the deployment cycle in the first place.

The panel concluded by saying that there is a need to discover a way to simplify the process involved in policy creation. At Comptel, we’ve worked hard to provide some of those tools, with our analytics-driven mediation, policy control and charging platform. The answer to simplifying policy control and charging may be found in the new tools for CSPs that are available, which can better help marketing, IT, and telecom all come together to build business growth.


What Technologies Are Impacting Policy Management?

Posted: February 22nd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on What Technologies Are Impacting Policy Management?

I was recently talking about policy management with my colleague, Ulla Koivukoski, and started thinking about how far we’ve come and how it will continue to evolve. All of the new and advanced technologies that have been introduced in the past couple of years are having a big influence on this, and will continue to shape how communications service providers (CSPs) utilise policy management capabilities.

One of the most prominent of these technologies is 4G/LTE. Because LTE enables faster data speeds, customers will inevitably want to consume more and more data. CSPs who can gain deeper insight into such data usage will have a clear advantage. For policy management specifically, this means the ability to provide different packages with different rating models that are unique to customers’ behaviours. It also means implementing bandwidth or data caps in certain instances– otherwise, we’d use all of our network capacity!

Adding to this, it’s crucial for CSPs to identify the impact of down throttling on individual customers who are likely to churn and/or cause a revenue loss. For example, if customers experience poor quality of service (QoS), CSPs need to be able to proactively offer them a higher bandwidth or data package. In this way, the risk for revenue loss and customer churn can be mitigated while simultaneously improving QoS for the right customers. Further, a predictive analytics engine can suggest which customers will be most valuable for CSPs based on pre-defined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), and which customers desire a corrective action to keep them on-board (e.g. a dedicated bandwidth prioritisation).

CSPs also can benefit by tightly coupling policy control with real-time charging. Like our recent consumer research demonstrated, financial considerations like personalised product/service promotions can influence customer behaviour. So, if CSPs can not only dynamically control the packages that are being delivered to customers and how, but also competitively price their offerings, they can increase the amount customers are willing to spend and maximise their revenue.

Linked closely with this is big data, which is giving CSPs a huge opportunity to add value. To tap into the power of big data, CSPs must first sift through and analyse the immense data volumes, both structured and unstructured, to get complete views of their customers. With this, CSPs can offer new services and bundles to customers with both efficiency and rapid time-to-market. Adding to this, a combination of advanced analytics and mediation enables CSPs to begin use cases like proactive broadband upsell for customers based on the prediction of their changed usage pattern, premium user identification, and automatically approaching customers with the right offer, in the right context.

Another technology making an impact on policy management—and one that goes hand in hand with big data—is the cloud. More and more, the cloud is one of the best options for storing and processing data. It allows for offline processing and the ability to trigger information online, to achieve real-time, personalised campaigns. Latency and security threats remain a concern, but if these can be managed properly, then I see policy making a big shift to the cloud.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg – there are many more advancements being made every day. As our world and the technologies in it continue to evolve, I look forward to seeing how policy management will grow and change to drive a better, more efficient customer experience.


Informa’s Policy Control & Real-Time Charging Conference: A Sneak Peek

Posted: April 19th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Here at Comptel, integrated policy control and real-time charging is one of our core areas of expertise. I couldn’t be more excited to explore this topic further at an Informa conference next week in Amsterdam. It’s always great to network and share ideas with communications service providers (CSPs), analysts and others across the industry. Plus, this time, I have the opportunity to give both a presentation and participate in a panel discussion at the show.

To give you a brief preview, I’ll first be leading a session titled “Exploring End-User Appetite for Buying Bandwidth Boosts and the Real-Time Charging Mechanisms Required to Support These Policies” on Tuesday, 24 April at 16:10. In this presentation, I’ll show how CSPs can use policy control to offer customers more personalised service packages and create upsell opportunities. I’ll provide an in-depth look at why CSPs should focus on interacting with customers in real time upon the point of usage rather than concentrating on the point of purchase or point of complaint.

A bit later in the day, at 16:35, I’ll join Zain Kuwait’s Monther Alomani and Tekelec’s Joanne Steinberg for a panel discussion on “What Policy 2.0 Enabled Services Are Delivering Incremental Revenues for Operators Today? Success Stories and Future Possibilities”. Moderated by Analysys Mason’s Glen Ragoonanan, we’ll debate how CSPs can effectively use traffic management technology to increase ARPU, and share what innovative services we are seeing generate interest and revenue from subscribers today.

Will I be seeing you at the upcoming conference? What policy control and real-time charging issues are you looking forward to discussing?

If you cannot make it to my presentation or panel session, I hope that we can connect at Comptel’s booth in the exhibition hall.