From Regulatory Mandate to Enterprise Customers' Demand for Control
By Jayant Dwarkanath , CEO of Intense Technologies
Why Enterprise Customers can have their Cake and Eat it too?
Enterprise customers for Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) are not only the largest revenue contributors but the most complex of customers to manage and satisfy due to the volume and number of services they consume. Enterprises are also getting very demanding in all aspects, prompt service delivery, flexible and timely invoicing, favorable contracts, immediate dispute resolution, order and service provisioning, tracking and more.
That is only one side of the story. On the other hand, TSPs are facing increasing business challenges due to the following factors:
• TSPs Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) is coming down due to severe competition, as they are driving down prices and margins.
• Telecom subscribers are increasingly resorting to alternate ways of communications through internet, instant messaging, e-mail, group chatting and others through smart phones and a plethora of mobile apps such as Google (e-mail, chat, voice and more), Skype, Whats App, Line, Viber among others.
• Voice products have become a commodity forcing them to focus on Data - providing attractive plans at competitive prices.
• Most TSPs are even offering bundled plans as a combination of multiple services for mobile users comprising of voice, data, SMS along with other value added services such as caller tunes, audio/video downloads and more.
In today's environment, an enterprises' telecom spending does not stop with a simple phone line or with an internet connection. It extends to several services ranging from local & long-distance phone services, toll-free numbers, mobile and wireless services, e-mail, video & voice conference services with 2G/3G/4G data services, inter-office networks, switches, routers, wireless and wire line services along with several others.
Consuming these many networks and services invariably adds up to a substantial expense for most businesses. According to IDC Research Group, telecommunications costs are on average not only the second largest indirect expense, but also the third or fourth largest expense overall for a business. According to another research conducted by the Aberdeen Group a few years back, average small to medium enterprises spent about $26 million a year while an average Fortune 500 company spent about $116 million a year on telecommunications alone.
Little wonder then that Enterprise Customers form the kernel of revenues for a TSPs!
Enterprise Customers want Control - so, give it to them - But this is Easier said than Done
Enterprise customers want the highest level of self-service possible - the ability to choose how they want to manage their accounts, pay their bills, request support and shop the way they want. That is not all, they want prompt service delivery, flexible & timely invoicing, favorable contracts, immediate dispute resolution, order and service provisioning, tracking and more.
Most TSPs are grappling with providing their enterprise customers what they demand. Primarily this is because in Telco, there are hundreds of entities that can be involved in a business process. And most of the time, these entities are managed by different OSS or BSS components. In order for the process to flow, two or more entities should be shared as information carriers. The multi-vendor structure of the Telco sector introduces problems in here. The OSS/BSS vendors use entities that are conceptually same but technically different. For example, a customer entity has a customerName attribute in one tool, the same attribute is called "cName" in the other tool. Following the same example, the first tool holds a customer type attribute in integer type, while the other holds the same in a String type. Obviously, there should be some conversions between these two systems.
With respect to enterprises, TSPs face even more difficult challenges to satisfy their demands as the back-end systems are common for all types of customers - retail, wholesale, HNI and more, and hence have to rely on external additional applications to further process the data. Often these systems and applications need to be maintained separately and independently.
The Solution - Give your Enterprise Customers what they want
With most enterprise customers looking at their TSPs to provide them the ability to stay in control of their telecom expenses TSPs are obliged to deliver to their enterprise customers with a solution that is comprehensive, cost effective and easy to use.
The good thing about providing the enterprise customers what they want is that TSPs can differentiate their services and save millions because of decreased customer requests, faster revenue realization and increased web-sales, while providing great customer experience.
Other benefits to TSPs include:
• Substantial cost savings in enterprise customer service
• Quicker revenue realization
• Increased enterprise customers loyalty and retention
• Increased sales and ability to attract new enterprise customers
• Richer customer experience and ability to provide targeted marketing
• Plugging revenue leakage
In short, the TSPs today need a solution that address all the facets of a TSPs Enterprise Customer Care challenges, right from Billing & Collections Management, Multiple Billing Systems, Service Management and Operations, Customer Relationship Management, Customer Interface Management, Business and Operations Support Systems, Fulfillment to Revenue Assurance. The next question is obvious - Are the TSPs ready for the game?