Abhay Kumar, regional vice president of Asia Pacific at Amdocs, discusses the challenges and complexities service providers face behind the scenes as they work to deliver innovative new services
Telecom Asia: Service providers must deliver everything seamlessly when performing the delicate balancing act of growing their revenues, while ensuring a great customer experience. What do you see as the main challenges there?
Abhay Kumar: The pace of innovation in our industry is increasing like never before, presenting customers with a myriad of new services and multi-play bundles that can be purchased where, and from whom they wish. But making life easy for customers is not so simple. Behind the scenes, lies an environment of complex IT systems and data-intensive business processes that are necessary to enable all of this. Often, there’s a gap between what the business team demands and what IT can deliver. For example, take delivering a new service over a direct channel such as a point of sale, or an indirect channel such as an online retail site. These can require timely workarounds that significantly increase both time to market and the cost for introducing the new service. Such a scenario works against the goal of creating a positive customer experience and growing profit.
We know that service providers have been investing a lot in managing business processes related to ordering. But are they doing it efficiently?
Correct order entry and routing through the complex ordering ecosystem with its various systems, processes and channels, directly impacts how swiftly and precisely orders are fulfilled. Today’s manual methods are not only error-prone, but also time-consuming, which unnecessarily extends order fulfillment times. What’s more, service providers lack the ability to perform analytics and do not have an end-to-end view of their multiple systems, processes and channels. This makes it even more difficult to control the process and deliver excellent service.
Many service providers are expanding their customer base, geographical reach or lines of business through mergers and acquisitions. How does that complicate the overall picture?
Business teams want to take maximum advantage of [M&A situations] and start cross-selling and upselling new solutions as soon as possible, but they are being held back by the changes and integration needed to bridge the companies’ systems and processes.
But can they afford to wait and risk losing the advantage they’ve only just gained? Clearly, service providers need a solution to address these common challenges - and often they need it up and running fast. The sooner they can streamline back-end systems, merge operations and unify the customer experience on the front end across offerings, the sooner they can achieve end-to-end visibility of the order-to-activation process.
So how should service providers tackle these challenges?
The latest innovations in communications business services can bridge the gap between systems, processes and lines of business by abstracting orders from the format in which they arrive. They enable companies to streamline and unify the view of all orders across any channel - whether service provider systems, such as self-service or third-party systems, such as online retailers. It also lets them quickly add new sales channels, and provides a clear view across the ordering and service delivery ecosystem. When delivered as part of a managed services model, this innovative approach can help service providers achieve immediate improvements in both order handling performance and accuracy, with clear SLAs and KPIs, with no change to existing systems or the need for software integration.
This article first appeared in Telecom Asia May/June 2015 edition