A shift in priorities

Joseph Waring
19 Apr 2012

Faster time to market for new services, support for new business models and service bundling are now top of mind for telcos, according to the annual Telecom Asia-Stratecast survey.

As telcos shift their priorities, it doesn't mean traditional areas of focus such as service quality and network upgrades are taking a backseat to these new business needs. Network quality and delivery of reliable connectivity are no less important today - it's just that operators' investments in these areas are paying off so they can turn their attention to drive their business ahead and find new revenue streams.

Looking at the findings over the past five years, the number of operators with customer service assurance (CSA) functions and business intelligence (BI) and analytics solutions in place or will be in the next six months continued to inch up over that period.

While the customer care department and sales and marketing have been the primary users of these functions in the past, the executive office has become much more involved over the past three years. Meanwhile, sales and marketing participation has declined.

This is particularly true with CSA, with the executive office now heading up almost twice and many CSA programs from just 12 months ago. "CSA is no longer just a network event. It is now driven by the executive team, with CMO, CFO and even CEO participation," said Karl Whitelock, director of OSS/BSS strategy at Stratecast.

"Faster time to market" for new services was ranked as the most important company initiative this year, with 50% of respondents saying it was their top priority (see chart 1). That's a big change from last year when it was ranked just 4th and service quality was No. 1. "Service quality" fell to 5th this year.

Another major shift was that "service bundling" jumped from 7th place a year go to No. 3. Network upgrades and convergence dropped sharply from a year ago - from 2nd place to 6th. "Support for new business models" again was ranked No. 2.

Whitelock said the rise in the importance of "faster time to market" is attributed to the intensified focus on competitive forces and the changing communications marketplace. It also fits well into the need to better support customers with personalized service offerings.

While the need for network quality is no less important now, he said, respondents this year have clearly shown attention to other business needs. "If the service quality investments in the past were not working, it is likely that support for service quality would have ranked at the top of the list again in 2012."

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