It is no secret that the telecommunications industry has been exploring various ways to tackle issues such as declining ARPU (average revenue per user) and increasing customer churn over the last five years. The keys to proactively addressing these issues are agility and responsiveness. For example, responsiveness around customer service – to make customers feel they have a personalized valuable service – which reduces churn; and agility -- around launching new and compelling services rapidly – to increase ARPU.
Despite this quest for the Holy Grail, many communications providers have failed to lay sufficient foundations. While there may be some useful technologies deployed in an attempt to provide an agile and responsive integration platform – these technologies have often failed to deliver what is needed by the business. SOA is a prime case in point. While SOA technology has been successful in many ways, it has also led to a lot of disappointments. Often the business was sold on the promise that SOA would make operations more agile and responsive. However, what resulted was technology for technologists that looked like plumbing and was daunting and too generic to the business.
Business people want solutions that can deliver visibility to problems and opportunities – such as key business events (e.g., an opportunity to sell a new service, based on context or location) or process failures (e.g. persistent dropped calls for an important customer) – so that problems can be responded to quickly and opportunities taken. The business also wants solutions that can enforce business-level policies and service-level agreements, as well as solutions that can interconnect services at a “semantic level” – not just plumb data together. In other words – the business wants to deal in business-level concepts, and be assured that the underlying complexity will be managed by the system.
Today’s announcement that Belgium operator Belgacom is transforming its business and IT integration programme (more information here) represents a huge step forward for the telecommunications industry. Belgacom is clearly focused around being more responsive to the needs of their customers in order to tackle issues such as churn through improved integration. By selecting the right business integration foundation to support their IT strategy, Belgacom has taken a critical step forward in a long-term strategy to become more operationally responsive to their customers.
Due to the nature of the economic times we live in, it is vital that the telecommunications industry as a whole ensures that they have the best possible integration technology in place. Only then will operators be able to enhance their customer experience management offerings to attract and retain their business customers, differentiate their offerings, and lower their service costs.
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