As social media takes an ever-larger bite out of the text and voice business with platforms such as Whatsapp and Messenger becoming widely used, Telcos are finding themselves under tremendous pressure to reduce costs, provide higher levels of customer satisfaction and increase revenue, writes GRANT CHRISTIAN.
The telecommunications industry is in a period of huge digital change, and customers are more empowered than ever before. This wave of disruption is likely to continue over the next few years as growth in video streaming services, online ordering of food and products, and connected smart devices continue to challenge traditional models.
As social media takes an ever-larger bite out of the text and voice business with platforms such as Whatsapp and Messenger becoming widely used, Telcos are finding themselves under tremendous pressure to reduce costs, provide higher levels of customer satisfaction and increase revenue.
To do so, they are adopting omnichannel customer outreach strategies and offering self-serviceable online customer service. In the near term, Telcos are hoping to use real-time customer 360-degree data so as to personalise promotions, campaigns and services along the entire customer lifecycle.
All Telcos and operators need to adopt open, agile IT architectures that enable them to innovate faster in a fast-changing industry while simultaneously exploiting their data troves to run effective, precisely targeted marketing activities.
Some network operators are already using analytics to understand and reduce customer churn, improve network design and ticket resolution, and reduce spending. Unfortunately, many telco companies are not meeting these challenges adequately.
In a recent survey, Capgemini reported that 48 percent of 5,700 end customers rated their network providers to be ‘poor’ in terms of digital services, while only 14 per cent rated their network providers as ‘great’ in that respect.
The telecommunications industry has been experiencing a spree of mergers and acquisitions for almost a decade, and most of the consolidated telco companies have ended up acquiring legacy technologies and data silos that require so much hands-on maintenance that their IT departments don’t have the agility to modernise their enterprise data architecture.
As a result, most of the medium to large-sized Telcos rely on too many data silos and legacy technologies. For some of the larger, more established telco companies, their aging, complex IT infrastructure prevents them from competing effectively with newer, more nimble competitors.
Virtualisation Shows the Way
Data virtualisation is a modern, agile data integration technology that can protect any IT department’s infrastructure investments by providing real-time reporting and analysis, and thereby making data work efficiently across business systems. Certain software vendors have built advanced data virtualisation platforms, which have been proven to deliver the above benefits to some of the largest names in the telecommunications industry.
Whether a telco company hopes to create a master data solution, 360-degree views of the customer or product, data services for its customer portal, or migrations to the cloud for agility and cost savings, deploying a selected data virtualisation platform as the enterprise data layer is now critical for success. In addition, Telcos are able to future-proof their enterprise data architectures with the data virtualisation platform and thereby building on existing capabilities to extend the functionality of available data.
Let us consider an industry scenario, whereby a major telecommunications organisation needed to streamline customer service and business processes in order to remain ahead of their competitors. In order to optimise their customer service response times and to improve overall customer experience, the telco may need to provide integrated customer information to their call centres and customer portals. By choosing an advanced data virtualisation platform, they were able to extract data from multiple internal information systems (CRM, billing, support incidents, provisioning, data warehouse, etc.), and provide their customer service agents a unified real-time view of their clients. With this single access point to all the information needed for any customer service request or task, the telco was thereby able to improve efficiency, reduce response times and ultimately increase customer satisfaction.
Telcos Can Overcome Digital Disruption
By assessing the available data across all customer touchpoints throughout the organisation and ensuring that high-quality information is activated and made accessible in real-time, telecommunications companies can improve customer experience, prevent churn and develop a more functional, efficient business model capable of handling further digital disruption.
- Christian is Regional Vice President – Australia & New Zealand (ANZ)at Denodo.