Tuesday, February 26, 2019

BrandPost: The Network Gets Personal

In a competitive environment, with so much emphasis on the need for communications service providers (CSPs) to offer more personalized services to increase customer loyalty, the network plays a crucial role, explains Kent McNeil, Vice President of Software for Blue Planet. While the connection between network infrastructure and the customer relationship isn’t obvious, it is actually what drives personalization of services and competitive edge.

Enhancing the customer experience and lowering churn rates are key objectives for CSPs; however, an influx of competition is challenging customer loyalty. Equally, leading-edge technologies, from devices to cloud, have created new visions for consumers and enterprises. This has significantly changed customer demands, as well as expectations about how those requirements are fulfilled. Customers expect more personalized services, with tailored offers and ease-of-use.

Are CSPs considering the whole suite of tools at their disposal when it comes to gaining customer satisfaction? Managing the front end with an easy-to-use CRM system and providing responsive customer care at key touch points are critical. So too is ensuring the billing system is accurate and reliable. These components are obvious. Yet the network has an equally important role in keeping customers satisfied.

Data feeds personalization

For the service provider, data is like gold dust. Without data, personalization of services is not possible. Data is what feeds the knowledge that enables operators to design policies, and it’s these policies that govern operational support systems (OSS) to achieve the most effective outcomes.

The network is the source of all this data. For personalization to be successful, CSPs need to collect data in real time about what services their customers are accessing and how they’re using those services. This insight builds a picture of customers’ interests and behaviors, allowing CSPs to anticipate future needs and create tailored services and offerings. It also allows a CSP to stand out among its competitors and increase customer loyalty and retention.

Too often, the first time a CSP knows about an unhappy customer is when they churn out. Loyalty is very low in the telecoms sector. If a CSP can differentiate and offer customers what they need, when they need it, customers will remain happy.

The network underpins data

Yet without ensuring that the network can effectively and efficiently deliver this data to back-end OSS, personalization will either fail or will not be speedy enough for the customer. As more automated systems are integrated to cope with the increase and variety of network traffic, solutions must be employed to intelligently monitor and control the network.

Control of the network will play a fundamental part for CSPs as the market continues to expand with web-scale or niche competitors. Owning that powerful data source and network infrastructure—and mining the data—will give CSPs an advantage over new players.

The federation advantage

High-quality delivery of a variety of services is essential to be competitive, yet long-term customer satisfaction can only be achieved if the network is reinforcing the positive customer experience that is established at the onset.

Many legacy network systems are constraining the “ultimate customer experience.” Silos in the back end mean that although the customer receives one package through one account, several manual steps are required to be completed, across multiple OSS, to deliver any chosen service. This fragmented approach results in service delivery inefficiencies, since numerous time-consuming operations are required to fulfil the said service. Silos between CSPs further add to the complexity of managing long-reach, site-to-cloud services.

The same challenges exist for ongoing management and assurance of services: time-consuming, error-prone, manual operations. With many different systems, it is difficult and cumbersome for a CSP to effectively monitor all systems in real time for ongoing quality assurance. This means faults and issues are often overlooked and only recognized when the customer complains. Network issues are not easily isolated, identified, or resolved.

Many CSPs face time and cost constraints when it comes to a complete overhaul of OSS, but this is not a necessity. The problem with existing systems is the lack of synchronization across the end-to-end infrastructure. By implementing a unifying system that overlays legacy systems, one can federate important monitoring data to ensure optimization of network performance and enable more efficient utilization of network resources in the delivery of new services. This unified approach enables rapid, accurate delivery and assurance of tailored services, and is a critical stepping stone to future success.

The network transforms the customer experience

Digital transformation is the in-vogue industry buzzword, but it’s not a meaningless term. It signals that the network is evolving to meet the dynamic needs of the new digitally focused and highly knowledgeable customer. This focus on the customer at the center is vital to CSPs’ success in this digital age—they need to ensure that network infrastructure is capable of supporting evolving customer demands, now and in the future. By leveraging their valuable core network infrastructure for data-driven, federated, streamlined operations, they are extremely well positioned to transform the customer experience.

Learn more about Blue Planet network orchestration here.

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Thanks to Brand Post (see source)

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