TACKLING THE TELCO TRIPLE-THREAT
By Aps Chikhalikar
Head of TMT, Asia Pacific Japan, CSP Industry Transformation Lead - Global
When it comes to transforming the telecommunications enterprise of the future, many executives find themselves stuck on a swivel chair of choice: juggling competing demands to improve the information flow between multiple networks, frazzled frontline teams and heightened customer expectations.
Reducing operational costs is a given. Customer experience is the differentiator. And the path to growth necessitates innovative strategies to monetize future 5G services. Any one of these is enough to drive large-scale transformation in its own right, but telcos today are grappling with all three at the same time.
While the waves of change in the telecommunications industry have been relatively flat in recent years, 5G and software-defined networks are now creating new opportunities for incumbent players and niche operators alike.
Accordingly, telco executives are hyper-aware that as 5G becomes more widespread, the fundamental nature of service assurance is also set to change – manual, disparate processes are simply not an option. They’re seeking smarter, seamless ways to bring their customer care, employee experience and network operations closer together.
Bind networks, CX and EX with intelligent connective tissue
Listening to our telecommunication customers describe their biggest frustrations, a consistent theme is the need to seamlessly connect across silos, systems, and processes. Work must be intuitive for the customer, flowing across the business without them feeling it. Digitizing to become more customer-centric is non-negotiable, regardless of size or market position.
But where to start – or how to stop the chair from swiveling across groups and silos? Telcos require increasingly intelligent and flexible combinations of technology infrastructure, to meet the changing needs of consumer and business customers.
The customer journey, however, could hardly be more complex.
Take the home broadband installation process: internet service providers must navigate numerous touch points in the provisioning process – including wholesale backhaul and transit providers, peering partners, physical installation, delivery and set up of routers, activation – before billing the customer.
Meanwhile, arresting the decline in satisfaction metrics when consumers or partners repeatedly call and ask, “is there a status update on my incident?” is an all-too-common issue.
While most enterprises have four to five core platforms in their ecosystem that employees need to manage, for telcos that number is often greater. All of this adds up to reduced employee productivity, higher OPEX, lower quality of service and increased time to resolve issues. It also can cause barriers to innovation.
Digital transformation done right can eliminate these complexities: unlocking productivity through automation and orchestration of workloads across every department and creating great experiences for customers and employees – by focusing on what people encounter, observe, or feel when they interact with a service. Employees, for instance, shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time looking for things; to the contrary, things should come looking for them.
It’s this industry-wide challenge to simplify spaghetti-like internal systems and processes that led ServiceNow to develop a solution specifically for telecommunications providers. In the 5G platform of the future, telco performance must enable by an enterprise-wide connective tissue that offers assurance all the way from order to provisioning, with deep visibility for customers and employees at every stage.
Automate assurance to accelerate value
Delivered in partnership with our strategic customers and partners, ServiceNow’s suite of workflows are changing how telcos operate and support their delivery of reimagined customer experiences. Consider the 5G innovations telcos are already building, like remote vehicle management for self-driving cars, sensor networks and smart city solutions. The experience and assurance components that underpin these products all need to be self-healing and automated end-to-end.
We’ve created workflows that align customer experience and service assurance by proactively anticipating customer-facing issues and addressing them quickly. Our solution uses machine learning to help remove back-office bottlenecks and orchestrate workflows between departments.
By applying intelligence to everyday processes within the telco – prioritizing, categorizing, routing workflows, predicting anomalies – employees get more work done more easily. Data can be quickly and accurately correlated to identify common errors. Remediations can be predicted, freeing up employees to personalize the customer experience.
A global telco recently implemented ServiceNow’s mix of technology, analytics, and operations solutions (the connective tissue) and achieved an almost instant 45% reduction in the cost to serve. The uplift across the customer journey was equally powerful: better SLA achievement, happier customers, more productive employees and lower call volume.
Complexity demands simplicity
With the global transition to 5G underway and telcos eyeing new operating models and quad-play synergies, great customer and employee experiences are the competitive battleground. ServiceNow’s telecommunications solution accelerates digital transformation, breathing new life into legacy platforms and putting people at the heart of every workflow.
Best practices are emerging and the onus is on executives to ensure digital experiences go well beyond front-of-house teams to embrace the entire enterprise. No longer is ‘experience’ a discussion led solely by consumer-facing teams; it must be built into the DNA of telcos from the bottom up – and that can only happen when the customer care and network operations are truly connected.