Telecom Business = Analytics + Social Media + Advertising + Usage platform + Consolidation

It’s time that telecom business actually started looking deep down into customer analytics and started raising the bar of expectations of consumers with the innumerable ‘next gen’ possibilities that customers can make use of using the telecom infrastructure; rather than concentrating only on price wars, effectively jeopardizing the entire associate economics. Customer Experience Management (CEM) is only the first step for achieving the same.
How this helps?? The following observation caught my eye….. Search for a song in You-Tube. Surprisingly enough, along with the song you would also find a multitude of videos created and uploaded, on the same song, by users. A simple search of a popular song of Backstreet Boys (viz. As Long as You Love me) threw up a huge set of results although there is only one official video though. The rest of the content is completely a user driven and user created! The point is, that web content is user driven is not something that is new, has been all around– but the question is then how to make a sustainable business out of the same?? and how does today telecom operators look at capitalizing on the intelligence from the data that is available and can be used for business outcomes.
The pre-requisites along with the 4 things that would help getting telecom operators good business:
1. Studying the ‘segments’ of customers allows the telecom operators to know what is the appetite of the customer more than anyone or any other industry. It is about building and owning a subscriber intelligence database.
2. Enable consolidated connections through social media for the subscribers. Customers these days spend more time on online social media than with their own physical family– you can read two related articles here and here. Hence advertisements in social media, based on profiles of the customers would add a lot of value. The telecom operators need to understand the expectations of the customers before sending advertisements. Hence data analytics for business outcomes of usage is a must have.
3. Act as the middle-men between the service providers and the customers. This is the same n-sided business model that has been discussed over and over again.
4. Act in a consolidated manner instead of trying to define boundaries of operations. In an earlier post here, I have tried to explain why telecom operators should look towards consolidation of business for sustainability.
5. Operators already own the infrastructure for supporting the subscriber bases. It is imperative to see that the infrastructure is used ‘optimally’. Often it is found that expensive infrastructure stay under-utilized although cost of operations soar high.
6. Something new would be to enable the users create the content as well as the applications by themselves with supporting applications that the telcom operator provides. The point I am trying to make is, what is the operator doing to help the consumer create the content, in this consumer-content driven world? Currently content can only be created with the help of a computer. This is typically not practiced directly as a part of the ‘mobile phone’ usage. Today the applications available from mobile app stores does not exactly allow two-way communication between the consumers and the web.  Platforms like Android are still technical for a lay-man to be able to create applications for communication. But nonetheless, the time for ‘simplification’ is not far off. It should be on the operators mind to help the users create the ‘content’ instead of depending only on the content providers.
However, all said and done, managing costs is the consideration that operators would have to aim for. Hence, solutions that allow a complete 360 degree view of the operations is an ideal tool-kit yet the telecom market lacks such a tool. Most of the analytics tool kits available provide fragmented views of the data and hardly any derive or even help deriving intelligence from the same.
Over and above these, the operators would have to aim at providing ‘services’ or abilities to the consumers which exceed their exceeding expectations. Constant innovation for enabling the utilizing of the end-less possibilities  is a key for driving the next wave of revenue sources.

The question is — would operators look at business consolidation and revenue sharing as a mode of sustainability? Also, innovations cannot be made by teams working in silos within the operator, which is effectively the situation in all telcos. Would telcos therefore be willing to “spend” to increase internal development and understanding of the business situation?? I doubt that, and hence it would be interesting to see what the future beholds. It is quite possible that following Darwin’s theory — only the fittest would survive… which could essentially mean that only the giants would survive the price and economic wars while newbies sublime.

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