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.


Join Comptel and NET at Management World Americas 2012 Next Week

Posted: November 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Join Comptel and NET at Management World Americas 2012 Next Week

It’s that time of year again – Management World Americas is about to kick off, and I couldn’t be more pleased to be presenting on day one of the conference in the Cable Summit with Rodrigo Duclos, CIO of NET. Part of a track on “The Road to Applied Success”, our session will cover the Brasilian cable multiple system operator’s (MSO) OSS/BSS transformation project and evolution to provide a richer customer experience.

Due to skyrocketing demand for broadband services, NET wanted to develop a more sophisticated quota management system, using the Comptel Mediation system, to enhance its communications offerings and personalise service and price plans for subscribers. Rodrigo will explain how the cable MSO was able to automate the mediation process and more intelligently analyse customers’ broadband consumption, and discuss the benefits this can bring to NET’s business. For instance, it allows for more advanced charging models based on service use and gives subscribers the power to control and monitor their usage and bills in real time—resulting in more streamlined operations, a flexible and creative business model and an enhanced customer experience.

Again, I’m very excited to share this great case study with Management World Americas attendees. I hope you will come see the presentation on Monday, 3 December at 10:30 a.m. EST in the Cable Summit or visit the Comptel booth (#7) in the expo hall.


Conversation on CIQ4T with Heavy Reading, Part 1

Posted: July 17th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

At Comptel, making data beautiful means transforming the voluminous amounts of information that service providers have on hand into contextual – and digestible – insight. This entails moving beyond the simple collection of data and discovering the true applications of the information.

Heavy Reading analysts Ari Banerjee and Sarah Wallace recently discussed this very topic, exploring how contextual intelligence for telecoms (CIQ4T) can elevate the customer experience through many dimensions. In this conversation, they consider how, in order to fully maximise business opportunities, communications service providers require a holistic understanding of an individual subscriber’s usage patterns, behaviours and circumstances – and the benefits this provides. You can listen to the full podcast of the conversation here or read the highlights, from part one of our two-part series, below.

Ari Banerjee: Sarah, how do you define CIQ4T especially when it comes to dealing with the communications industry and telcos?

Sarah Wallace: CIQ4T is defined as being able to understand the uniqueness of a person, circumstance or object and converting that understanding into an opportunity. That translates very well into telecoms because providers are really trying to get a better understanding of their subscribers and then translate this into an opportunity to retain customers and further monetise their opportunities with them.

Ari Banerjee: Obviously advanced analytics plays a major catalyst role here. In our opinion, advanced analytics is a key enabler for CIQ4T. It helps to navigate through the huge amounts of data that operators gather to get a more in-depth profile of the subscriber and understand factors, like their preferences and usage patterns. Then, service providers can use that data with advanced algorithms to predict future behavior patterns.

Advanced analytics implementation typically involves the creation of architecture that enables the collection, storage and integration of data sets from a variety of systems. Then, applying correlation and analytic techniques to identify patterns of significance across these data sets. Obviously, this helps to provide a root-cause analysis and to become more predictive.  On top of that, all of these different processes or ways of handling Big Data help to facilitate the delivery of actionable intelligence and provide context-specific insight for end-users.

So Sarah, now that you’ve defined CIQ4T, can you talk about its key characteristics that you see in your research with service providers today?

Sarah Wallace: Sure. So in telecoms, one key aspect is the real-time capability – or being able to take all the data, process it and turn that into analysis to make offerings in real-time. And then you have the characteristic of prediction – or being able to predict subscriber behavior and allowing for optimal decision-making, when it comes to planning and designing for future offers. There’s also connecting with the customer at all touch points and having a contextual or deeper, granular understanding of those touch points to determine which action should take place next.

Of course, there’s also the ability to handle large volumes of data – for instance, combining the data from the network with other sources, such as CRM and OSS and other network elements. Then, being able to apply that data for real-time decision-making. There’s also the operational aspect of advanced analytics and CIQ4T, which based on the analytics, determines the need for action toward the customer, network and the feedback loop for machine learning.

Ari Banerjee: So what you’re talking about is being able to navigate through Big Data to provide a more predictive pattern of how someone, a network, or the subscriber will behave in the future and to understand the different parameters that make up a subscriber profile. This includes things, like his location, his action patters, and business life, how he’s using services during office hours, non-peak hours, family time – and how to basically provide more offers that are very focused on his day-to-day needs. This is a shift away from mass-market approach of campaign management to more of a focused, one-to-one approach.

Stay tuned for part two, in which Ari Banerjee and Sarah Wallace put analytics into action and discuss compelling CIQ4T use-cases that illustrate just how effective the approach can be.


Around the World

Posted: February 24th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Around the World

Microsperience…
First Touch, Last Touch, Every Touch
Analyst Teresa Cottam explains why every interaction that takes place between a communications service provider (CSP) and a customer is important. The CSP often perceives the first touch, or first customer engagement to be a sales transaction where it signs up a customer to receive a service. However, customers believe that their relationship with a CSP doesn’t just begin with a simple sale—it takes a longer period of time to cultivate.

Teresa uses a personal experience with an old broadband operator to explain how CSPs should build better relationships with customers. After mishandling her service transfer process, the operator made her wait 30 minutes on the phone, and a support assistant accused her of signing up for the wrong package and dismissed her concerns.

Teresa says this example emphasises issues that currently exist in the market, and proves that CSPs need the ability to analyse data in real time to get a better understanding of and retain their customers. CSPs need to focus on not just the first touch but any and every touch in order to build loyalty. She also notes that in today’s competitive market, even forgetting that ex-customers could be future customers is a missed revenue opportunity and could hinder CSPs’ success.

telecomasia.net…
APAC Telcos Concentrate on Quality
Joseph Waring gives an overview of a recent Telecom Asia-Ovum survey of telecom executives in 19 countries across Asia Pacific. The results revealed quality of service (QoS) to be the key distinguishing feature for operators in the region.

Interestingly, the survey also found that fewer respondents (38% compared to 54% two years ago) viewed unlimited data rates as the most effective way to charge for mobile broadband services. But Ovum analysts believe that the percentage of people who agree with this method is still too high, and urges operators to steer away from flat rates, which can over-burden networks and negatively impact QoS.

Additionally, survey respondents indicated that they believe video will be the key driver of continued mobile broadband traffic growth in Asia Pacific. Like Comptel, Ovum believes that operators must look to balancing the management of resources like bandwidth, while controlling customers’ data services, in order to maximise the customer experience and monetise their offerings.

CommsMEA…
Right Path for Roaming?
Industry experts wonder if recent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) regulations could potentially cause more harm than good. These called for telecom operators to slash mobile phone roaming charges to consumers by at least 50 percent beginning 1 February in a bid to bring costs in line with those in Europe. Roaming revenues account for a significant proportion of overall profits for many CSPs, and a sudden forced reduction in tariffs may, unfortunately, lead to price increases, less investment in other areas and other unintended consequences.

But, there is evidence that Gulf operators are already moving in the right direction towards decreasing roaming tariffs without the regulations. Peter Lyons, director of spectrum policy, Africa & Middle East for the GSM Association (GSMA), says that operators responding to the competition are driving roaming costs down and that they are making an effort to increase the transparency of roaming rates. On the other hand, some point out that regulation is needed to protect against distortions in the market that can be created by dominant players. What do you think is the right path for the Gulf in terms of roaming?


Survey: Customers Need More Love from Their Mobile Operators

Posted: February 21st, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: News | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Perfecting the customer experience has long been the goal for many communications service providers (CSPs). We certainly saw this issue reflected upon at last year’s Mobile World Congress. However, each year, as customer demands become more complex, it’s increasingly important for operators to do everything in their power to understand and anticipate customers’ needs and deliver on them.

We at Comptel wanted to gauge what customers think about their relationships with their mobile operators, and shed light on how mobile operators can better engage with them to increase loyalty and capitalise on potential upsell opportunities. (A big thank you goes to research firm Vanson Bourne who we commissioned last month to survey 2,000 consumers from across the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States.)

The survey findings clearly indicate that customers need more love from their mobile operators. Two-thirds of respondents said that they feel neglected by their mobile operators, and more than two in five are likely to churn within the next two years as a result.

Would you appreciate your mobile operator being more interactive with you based on how you use its services?

More interaction would certainly go a long way in ensuring customer satisfaction. For instance, more than one in five respondents reported experiencing poor quality of service (QoS) at least once a week. Yet, the majority of customers (72 percent) are largely willing to forgive and forget if their mobile operator apologised and sent a special offer. Younger customers aged 18-25, in particular, are most likely to become more loyal if shown more love.

If your mobile operator noticed this poor service when it happened and sent you an offer (e.g. free coffee at Starbucks) and apologised, would you be more loyal to them?

The survey also revealed that there are significant revenue opportunities to be had if mobile operators were more attentive to their customer bases. Nearly three in five respondents said that if their mobile operator offered faster download rates, they would pay for it. In fact, nearly one in five respondents said that they would be willing to pay more than five pounds, euros or dollars extra monthly for such an upgrade.

If your mobile operator offered you faster download rates, how much would you pay for this a month?

Like I said in today’s press release, with so many customers expected to churn if their needs are not better met, mobile operators need to adapt to their demands for more personalised and dynamic services to survive. Comptel believes real-time data collection and analysis and increased customer interaction are critical to fostering loyalty and maximising revenue opportunities.

A full copy of this research report will be available at our booth at Mobile World Congress (27 February – 1 March in Barcelona) in Hall 1 at Stand 1C06, or email comptel.marketing@comptel.com. We hope to see you at the show and look forward to discussing the issue of customer engagement further in the coming months.