CEM a new telco battleground for IT vendors

Shagun Bali/Ovum
03 May 2012

In today’s highly competitive telecom industry, customer satisfaction has become the key to success. Operators must focus on the quality of their customers’ overall experience, rather than the quality of service of separate applications.

Accordingly, they are turning toward customer experience management (CEM) solutions to manage subscribers’ experience at each touch point. The CEM market is at a very nascent stage; vendors are launching products, forging partnerships, and developing advanced analytics tools to analyze network performance along with customer behavior, preferences, and sentiments.

Vendors have ample opportunity to develop technologies such as social media analytics, speech analytics, and behavioral analytics to become integral parts of CEM solutions. One of the most critical capabilities that CEM solutions must have, in order to analyze the customer experience in itstotality, is the ability to bridge the gap between IT and network data.

As competition for customers intensifies, it becomes increasingly important for telecom service providers to retain the customers they already have. This task becomes more challenging as their product and service offerings expand and grow more complex. Compounding the problem is the fact that customers are demanding immediate answers to their questions and want to interact with their providers using a broader range of channels.

Traditionally, operators have been perceived as offering poor customer service, but now they are addressing this issue to improve the subscriber experience. Operators now consider customer experience optimization to be a key differentiator, central to their strategies to improve retention and efficiency, and drive new revenue streams.

Gradually, CEM is evolving into a source of business intelligence functions which deliver performance and service delivery analytics to all management levels.

The market for CEM solutions is gaining momentum and investments in this area are likely to pick up in the next 12-18 months. According to the Ovum survey Telco Business and Investment Trends for IT, conducted in 2011, improving customer experience was a high priority for 68% of respondents.

Vendors can increasingly cash in on telcos’ growing need to automate business processes to enhance the customer experience, improve retention, and boost the bottom line. Such initiatives require investments in subscriber data management, advanced analytics, decision automation, identity management, social media platforms, and knowledge management, which will create further vendor opportunities.

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