Predicting the Next Big Thing in the Bulgarian Telco Market

Posted: June 6th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Around the World, Events, Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Predicting the Next Big Thing in the Bulgarian Telco Market

Tram in Sofia City CentreThis week, we hosted a media event in Sofia, Bulgaria, where we have an important global service delivery site. We employ more than 70 IT professionals there and are hoping to grow this office in the coming years. Our team caters to European and Middle East and African customers—quite often in cooperation with our global service delivery team based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The theme for the event was built around the Barcelona-in-the Box concept, but this time, we wanted to highlight the Bulgarian market. Ulla Koivukoski gave a presentation entitled “Bulgaria on the Global Mobile Map,” which covered three main themes: Enriching the User Experience – Enriching the Operator, Big Data, and Business Transformation – Reshaping the Operator.

What we learned is that the Bulgarian mobile market is very similar to the markets in most European Union (EU) countries. For example, the number of post-paid customers is high when compared to the prepaid market, which accounts for just one-third of subscribers. The challenges in the Bulgarian market are also very similar to others in the EU. According to Business Monitor, the mobile average revenue per user (ARPU) in Bulgaria declined 25.3 percent in 2012, while mobile sector growth was at 5.5 percent and reaching 167.1 percent market penetration.

This means that communications service providers’ revenues are getting thinner, and at the same time, there are investment plans for bringing LTE to the market. The Bulgarian fixed broadband market is very advanced, and therefore, customers also have great expectations for mobile data.

During the event at Grand Hotel Sofia, the attendees shared their views about the Bulgarian mobile market. Most people admitted that they very seldom use mobile data, instead relying on open Wi-Fi networks that are widely available. Local operators could turn things around and monetise this traffic using LTE or operator-owned Wi-Fi.  We also brought new ideas concerning how to apply our ‘Event’-‘Analysis’-‘Action’ strategy to build business and showed one use case demonstrating how we can derive value from data with operational predictive analytics.

Comptel is ‘Making Data Beautiful’ with automated decisions that drive action, and we were honored to show the attendees in Sofia just how we do that.


The Rising Importance of Proof-of-Concepts

Posted: April 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on The Rising Importance of Proof-of-Concepts

Recently, outside of my working life at Comptel, two of my friends have been looking for new jobs after a considerable time in their current roles.

Separately, they both shared with me their remarkably similar job seeking experiences. They explained there appeared to be more candidates looking and immediately available, and stated that the interview process was longer, harder and had more steps than they had remembered. Significantly, my mates had to attend lengthy assessment centres, where they had to literally demonstrate their suitability for the prospective jobs.

I am pleased to announce they were both successful in their applications, but the steps, themes and parallels they encountered made me think of the current way telecoms software providers are selected by communications service providers (CSP).

From my position as project manager in Comptel’s Europe West services team, I acknowledge the rising importance of proof-of-concepts in the procurement process. Has this become the equivalent of the assessment centre in an interview process? Helping customers to assess and select the right vendor for them?

For a measured financial outlay, proof-of-concepts can be of enormous mutual benefit to both technology providers and CSP customers:

Suitability: Our customers can experience first-hand the suitability or relevance of Comptel’s products and solutions against their specified functional user scenarios. As the supplier, we can ensure that we properly understand the requirements and priorities that matter to our customers (and on occasions, gain ideas on how to improve our core products for all customers!). Furthermore, customers can assess the impact of a potential new solution on their businesses.

Technical Solution: Technically, both parties immediately understand how they can integrate a new solution with existing systems and interfaces. Through hands on knowledge of the requirements and technicalities, Comptel can accurately and confidently deliver fixed price quotes.

Commitment: A proof-of-concept is a real statement of intent from both parties; they are committed to reviewing and proving the solution is appropriate for the product and strategy.

Risk: Investing in a new solution is a substantial decision by CSPs. With an upfront proof-of-concept, the risk to the business is reduced through upfront working and engagement. Comptel ensures that it understands CSPs’ businesses, and that its solutions can really meet their requirements.

Head Start: By investing in a proof-of-concept, it allows both parties to make a head start when the full implementation project is approved. There is a common understanding and relationship in place from day one. Unlike a brand new customer, contracts and ways of working together are understood, reducing kick-off lead times.

Learning: Through a proof-of-concept, all participants learn, from subtle things such as understanding customers’ key business drivers, to actually meeting the Comptel personalities that will work on the main implementation!

From a Europe West services perspective, I enjoy being asked to manage proof-of-concepts. They are often fast-paced, focused and provide Comptel with an opportunity to show its strengths and values.

I also believe that going through an interview process does not have to be stressful—it’s a collaborative event to make sure that both parties understand each other and can work together to deliver success. Comptel believes in the value of understanding and working together with its customers!


Exceeding Customer Expectations with Services

Posted: March 30th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Telecom Trends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Ralph Booth joined Comptel’s Europe West services team as a contract project manager towards the end of last summer and enjoyed it so much he became a permanent employee by the end of the year. In this blog post, Ralph explains why he was impressed by Comptel’s services proposition and strategy.


Since joining Comptel in August 2011, I have found the company’s approach to services particularly refreshing and relevant in today’s market. More often than not for market-leading software providers, the description of services in customer proposals comes loaded with delivery facts, boastful methodology claims and complex resourcing suggestions. In the current market, customers look beyond these brochure-style claims and instead look for a partner to help them evolve, develop and lead. Whilst Comptel is founded on a heritage of successful deliveries, I have found we also have a more relevant services offering that expands our services footprint beyond the traditional delivery credibility into a more engaging and personal service approach. This is what makes frontline services such an exciting and important part of Comptel’s evolving business—we really are all about the customer.

Regional Emphasis: Comptel adopts a regional approach to services, positioning teams in local hubs to bring customers closer to design and implementation work. In Europe West alone, we have regional offices in the U.K., Netherlands, Germany, Bulgaria and Italy. A regional approach guarantees that Comptel builds lasting relationships with our clients.

Relationships and Continuity: During my induction programme, I learned that the average number of years of service by Comptel employees was around five. This emphasis on continuity is crucial in providing a common approach and retaining knowledge about our customers, their preferences and solutions. The experience within the business of our customers allows us to start conversations from a position of mutual understanding.

Relevance and Structure: Services in Comptel are logically structured and include the skills and expertise one would expect, ranging from solution architects, software developers, support teams, project management and ongoing customer care and contact through client management. These defined roles allow us to build sensibly sized project teams with clearly defined roles and objectives that customers understand and can relate to. Furthermore, project team members are accessible and easily contacted or brought on site. Comptel’s customers get to know the personalities who work with them on their deployments!

Interaction and Management Accessibility: Comptel values regular internal and external steering boards. These are held to share, assess and track progress of projects. Significantly, the emphasis placed on these sessions means they are well supported, with senior management attending to listen to the feedback. Feedback is also encouraged through customer satisfaction surveys that look to understand what went well and on occasions what can be improved next time.

Project Management: Comptel recognises the benefit of good, old-fashioned project management and insists on having a dedicated project manager on all of our major programmes. This approach provides our customers with leadership and direction, but also makes a very clear statement as to the level of accountability the services team feels about its work.

To sum up, my impressions thus far are that services from Comptel more than meet our customers’ expectations. Comptel is large enough to deliver, lead and influence, but is small enough to listen to, engage with and build lasting relationships with its customers.