Even prior to the inevitability of structural/functional separation - which is going to happen whether telcos like it or not-telecom innovators must evolve beyond "stovepipe thinking" toward a multi-layered understanding of the new product development arena. There are three primary views that need to be captured within the new generation information model.
- The network view: what resources are consumed? This is necessary to identify the service elements required and calculate the costs associated.
- The marketing view: what services are available? In what combination? At what price? This is necessary to determine the bundling and packaging of service elements to create customer value propositions that will attract both revenues and loyalty.
- The customer view: what triggers the service consumption episode? This is necessary to assess and exploit the customers' perceptions of value and the drivers for making purchases, which are never fully aligned with either the cost base or the value as presented. (It is in the context of this last facet that the so -called "X-Factor" companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon have been able to compete so successfully as they extend their commercial footprints into the telco domain.)
Above all else, however, there is one requirement that operators must embrace if they are ever to exploit innovation in the new generation: simplicity. Our internal systems environments, our pricing strategies and our product catalogues are all riddled with legacy pieces and are just too complex to allow for innovation to flourish. To deploy innovative convergent services that deliver a compelling and competitive customer experience necessitates a single view of the customer via a single point of contact. If and when we achieve this, not only will we have enabled a platform for profitable innovation, we may also have cured our technophilia at the same time.
Hugh Roberts is the senior strategist for Patni Telecoms Consulting