What are the key trends in Managed Services?
Managed Services deliver significant business benefit to operators.
Initially the main Managed Services benefit was cost control – and this remains an important factor. In the second phase, the focus shifted to operational excellence, and now we are now in a 3rd phase of Managed Services, in which operators expect much more.
Our Managed Services customers around the world seek greater value. They want the Managed Services provider to address their pain-points and provide services that are linked directly to operator business goals and results. Operators want Managed Services providers to help them improve the customer experience and enable new business opportunities; this is a significant driver in establishing Managed Services partnerships.
In short, operators want a value-based Managed Services commitment with a trusted partner who understands and is committed to the operator’s business goals.
As a software (SW) vendor, we see a clear trend in which operators approach the SW vendor to provide them with Managed Services. SW vendors are a primary choice due to their product expertise, which can enable the operator to achieve better utilization of its investment and faster time to market. An additional prominent trend concerns the platform being served by the Managed Services provider. While operators originally mainly outsourced their network infrastructure, a trend later developed to additionally outsource the BSS operations. Most recently, in the last 12 months, operators are increasingly also outsourcing their VAS solutions, seeking higher efficiency.
How can Managed Services enhance services and solutions consolidation?
Managed Services can enhance services and solutions consolidation by concentrating on two key areas: Business and Operational.
On the Business side, Managed Services provided by a global player should draw from worldwide experience to assist the operator to sharpen its competitive edge. This is done by introducing innovative services and new business models tailored to operator needs. This is all achieved with an improved and predictable cost.
In the Operational arena, a solution consolidation project that is operated in an organized, structured manner by a Managed Services team improves system optimization, operation and efficiency, and reduces cost. Managed Services assists the operator operationally to realize the benefits of consolidation, such as streamlining inconsistent processes, simplifying the need to handle multiple technologies and tracking overall performance metrics.
Managed Services can also help achieve cost reduction by eliminating multiple operations, ensuring a more predictable and measurable support experience, optimizing to a best-practice single technology solution.
As operators focus increasingly more on the customer experience, how can Managed Services partners play a part in experience enhancement?
Customer experience has emerged as key to winning customer loyalty and achieving overall business success. Delivery of an excellent customer experience is a fundamental operator strategy in an increasingly competitive world.
Recognizing that customer experience is influenced by variables spanning all aspects of the relationship between the operator and its customer, a customer experience mindset is the inspiration that drives all Comverse Services activities and interactions.
We work upon the following principles for experience enhancement:
- Re-Engineering Business Processes: Operators are transforming from a product-centric to a customer-centric approach that aligns technologies, processes and people around the most important asset of the business: the customer. Business processes – policies, procedures, practices, business rules and technologies – should be defined and designed to meet strategic and operational goals and a desired outcome, including the expected customer experience and customer interaction optimization.
- Setting KPIs: Comverse Managed Services sets clear business and operational KPIs finely tuned to deliver a superior customer experience, planning operational activities accordingly.
- Delivering a Consistent Service Experience: Ensuring consistent customer experiences via the different ‘touch points’, while maintaining high availability and continuous service. Comverse Managed Services helps operators identify and address potential issues and risks up-front to ensure that their systems are healthy and stay that way, especially when such events directly affect end user interfaces. Expert Services—fuelled with advanced tools and defined procedures—proactively maintain system stability and performance, providing a truly consistent service experience for all users, and spanning all touch points and interaction channels: voice, messaging, call center, point of sale, self-service, social media (Comverse Share) and more..
What can Operators do to monetize the enhanced user experience?
One way in which operators monetize the enhanced customer experience is loyalty. Happy customers tend to stay with their operators and consume more services that positively affect ARPU. Even happier customers become advocates for their operators, recommending them to others. Satisfied customers churn less, thus contributing to improved business metrics.
The introduction of new innovative services with fast time to market can increase an operator’s competitive edge. For example, Comverse Managed Services launched a new competitive pricing campaign, from idea to full launch, in just 3 days for a customer in EMEA.
Additionally, operators can proactively enhance and monetize the user experience by introducing a range of innovative customer-pleasing services: timely re-charge notifications, flexible service bundles, targeted multi-channel cross-product discounts, personalized promotions that take into account social and telco data, and beyond.
How can Managed Services partners assist in accelerating service innovation and deployment?
In most cases, Comverse Managed Services experts help operators stimulate innovative new ideas that combine in-house development and best-practice methodology gained from extensive global experience.
Managed Services supports the operator from concept to fulfilment.
From Concept: Our Managed Services experts present new ideas to our customers, innovative use-cases and new business models either developed by Comverse Innovation or through utilization of our global knowhow gained throughout hundreds of successful telecom and IT projects, of hundreds of operators on their way to dominance in their local markets.
To Fulfilment: Comverse Managed Services provides vast expertise launching services. Comverse customers have often been first to market with innovative solutions– boosting market share and positioning.
Comverse Managed Services demonstrate how we helped our customers in several aspects:
- Accelerated Time to Market – a Comverse customer in Asia launched an advanced location-based tariff in just 4 days. The operator uses its Location-Based Service as a trigger for location-specific promotions.
- Reduced TCO – by moving from SW code change to configuration, Managed Services saves costs for our customers. The Comverse Managed Services team knows how to push systems to their limits. Change request (CR) developments were reduced by 75% for a customer in APAC within a 3-month timeframe.
- Faster Time to Revenue – Comverse Managed Services reduced Bill Cycles’ running time by 22% at a customer site in EMEA, resulting in a faster time to revenue.
- Improved Revenue Assurance – Comverse Managed Services streamlines billing processes to reflect an operator’s business targets, and aligns the processes to be enabled by its system.
What are your predictions for the future of Managed Services?
As Managed Services continue to deliver clear business benefits, they will continue to grow and expand.
An important step towards a win-win partnership is a Managed Services strategy covering a holistic view of all operator elements:
- Align Managed Services Strategy with Business Transformation Principals: Work on customer strategy, set goals to realize predefined benefits, and cover all customer organizational elements: processes, technology, organization and people.
- Continue the shift from cost cutting to increased value with predictable costs, committed to providing significant measurable results.
- Move to Consolidated, Industrialized Solutions: Preferably based on cloud technology for efficiency, cost reduction and better control from a single point.
- Expand Managed Services Beyond IT: To cover a wider range of solutions, such as Digital and Value-Added Services.
- Focus on CEM concepts and principles: Customer experience, requirements and expectations will continue to strongly impact operator target markets and offerings. The requirements and expectation will focus on CEM concepts, principals and its related systems.
We should not conclude this interview before mentioning THE trend that will influence Managed Services: “SaaS”.
Over the past several months operators have been seeking to shift their business models from CAPEX- to OPEX-based models.
In the coming stage, we believe we will see operators providing services based on a 3rd party environment instead of investing capital budget in deploying new services. We believe operators will consume branded services from SERVICE providers and resell them to their subscriber base, reducing their risk and aligning cost with revenue.
SaaS brings with it the potential to move to new business models and smart monetization, areas. Operators that will embrace the opportunity might become a valuable player in the chain and enhance their relationship with their customers.
Comverse understand the importance of this trend and already works with operators on VaaS (VAS-as-a-Service) and BaaS (BSS-as-a-Service). This is a challenging model for both the vendor and the operator, but it leads to a win-win situation, where the vendor and the operator have a shared interest in making the service as successful as possible!