Success in the digital world is about survival of the fastest

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In today’s telecoms world, it is a case of survival of the fastest, not necessarily the fittest, according to a new paper from real-time specialist Openet. At the same time, operators must lose their fear of failure and be prepared to experiment and improve, rather than take too long to get a product to market.

The company proposes a greenfield, digital (therefore mobile) first strategy, that largely bypasses the existing IT stacks. The idea of creating a sub brand to achieve fast time to market, while not affecting existing legacy IT, is gaining traction, even among operators who are in the middle of large IT transformations.

Openet believes a digital business structure can be achieved in just 14 weeks.

A key point, according to Openet, is that transforming legacy systems is hard. McKinsey previously reported that 70% of all transformation projects fail – back in 2016, Openet’s own survey came up with a very similar statistic on the BSS side.

Of course, digital transformation is not just about OSS and BSS – it covers everything an operator does. A digital operator needs to be a platform for innovation, as well as finding new, compelling ways to engage with customers, through to IT support systems and the network itself.

The backbone of the new digital telco is analytics.

With analytics (used effectively and creatively) and driven by new AI based tools, operators can change not only their approach to the market, but also how their own stakeholders interact, create and improve products and services.

Operators need to take a fresh look at BSS and begin to think about Digital Business Platforms rather than ‘old fashioned’ BSS stacks. In fact, Openet has broken down the functions of the Digital Business Platform into three layers, calling them ‘the three Es’.

The typical functions in each layer are:

Experience layer: AI driven self-care/ digital journey management, omnichannel care and customer experience management, loyalty management, always best connected.

Engagement layer: Real-time offers, contextual marketing, service activation, next best offer management, real-time campaign management, real-time notifications.

Enablement layer: Real-time charging, policy management, billing, digital mediation and offer management. As the name suggests, the Digital Enablement layer also contains a library of microservices to enable fast builds of new solutions.

One initiative that Openet believes operators should take a fresh look at is how they approach loyalty. Operators do not find loyalty programs easy because they tend not to be app-centric. Focusing efforts on creating a compelling, engaging app based contact with customers will pay off hugely.

This approach can help build the ‘community’ model that many operators now see as the next step in customer loyalty and will lead naturally to the membership approach that is just beginning to show promise for an operator’s offerings – if done right. Making the app easy to use and a control point for everything from personalized sales to ordering, activation and applying controls will pay dividends. After all, customers are now very much app-centric.

The paper describes six uses cases for this approach and how it can be implemented. One suggests that a compelling application for AI is predicting how much data a customer will have left at the end of the month and designing and offering data options based on the results.

However much effort, investment and time operators put into creating an app-based Digital Business Platform, the results will depend on how well customers ultimately engage with them as a result.

It is worth doing properly. According to Openet, “Operators who have implemented contextual marketing and real-time offers have seen uptake rates increase by 30% and churn rates reduce by over 1%.”

That in itself should be a good enough reason to read the paper. It is available here, and is free for a short registration.

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