Success for operators now lies in thinking app, not data

Written by on October 3, 2017 in Opinion with 0 Comments

By Black Salmon /

We have heard the words ‘real-time, contextual offers’ a lot over the last few years, but we are now beginning to understand exactly what they mean. When the telco industry was fixated by data – parts of it still are – we really did not understand how data could be contextual.

If, however, you look at the telco from the customer’s point of view (this is as it should be after all) you see things very differently.

A new white paper from Openet does exactly that. Entitled ‘Digital First, Customer First’ the paper provides examples of how operators need (and can) go far beyond the ‘data’ mind set, to provide offers to customers at the right moment.

An essential first step is to think ‘app’ not ‘data’. This does not mean that operators should try and reinvent the best, most compelling app that competes directly with the vast number of apps already out there. It means that a telco is the door to the world of apps and should take advantage of this.

There are four ‘pillars’ to providing this digital approach, according to the paper:

  • Visibility and intelligence
  • Interaction and personalisation
  • Service development and delivery
  • Real-time monetisation

Visibility and intelligence is the combination of historical customer data and real-time intelligence. Intelligently combine a customer’s usage patterns, devices, propensity to churn with what is happening in the here and now, and you can begin to see the potential.

Interaction, based on the intelligence that you have, and how you personalise that interaction is critical. Get this piece wrong, and you will alienate the customer.

To make the circle even more virtuous this information and the feedback from customers should be turned into intelligence that is used by the business to develop and deliver ever more relevant and timely offers.

Finally, of course, operators need to monetise this circle. The sum of all this intelligence and the reaction of the customer to this approach will, inevitably, lead to new sources of revenue.

The paper – as usual – provides practical examples of this approach.

On one level these can be as simple as identifying a high value customer near a football stadium and offering him a month’s free viewing of a football channel.

On another, it could be that a big Netflix user is nearing his data limit and still has a week to go before his data allowance is topped up. The old telco thinking would be to warn him that he is nearing his limit and to stop watching Netflix before he exceeds his limit and is hit with overage charges.

The new digital telco thinking is to offer the customer a week of Netflix viewing for, say, $3.99. Or for free, if he is a high value customer.

All of these elements will provide the building blocks to better serve customers, as long as they are combined with the all important fifth element – common sense. This can be achieved by, as one copy writer long ago used to say, ‘walking around your desk and sitting where the customer normally sits.’

Fundamentally, success will come from working out ways of monetising apps, not data.

The paper is free and available here, for a short registration.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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