The industry challenge
Connectivity itself has become a commodity, so telecoms companies (telcos) can no longer rely on traditional business models, channels or services as sources of revenue. They still own a critical billing relationship with their customers, but need to be flexible and innovative while dealing with more complex support challenges and potentially escalating costs.
However, businesses and consumers are under financial pressure, and the telecoms industry needs to invest in network infrastructure, technologies and capacity to meet ever-increasing customer demands whilst still delivering on shareholder expectations. Telcos face a number of complex dilemmas, including:
- Traditional or new services: revenues from voice are falling, and data is typically offered in all-you-can-eat tariffs. Operators must develop broader catalogues and be full service providers.
- New entrants or new partners: IT players such as Apple and Google are shifting the revenue share balance of power. Operators need to be flexible, innovative and less internally focussed.
- Confusion or range: Large catalogues of products or service offerings help maximise revenues and can be beneficial, but create sales complexity. It is increasingly important for offers to be targeted and personalised.
- Product or consumer led: changes to the buyers' behaviour means that customers no longer silently switch or make buying decisions in isolation. Operators need to understand and participate in the social network revolution.
- Consistency or channel variety: there are multiple forms of customer connection-in-store, online, by phone, on handset-but the commercial experience transcends them all. Operators need to make this consistent.
- Satisfaction or support: keeping customers satisfied is increasingly expensive as devices like smartphones and networks become more sophisticated. Operators need to keep costs down, but maintain service satisfaction levels.
- Local or Global: markets differ-high growth in emerging, low growth in established-operators must tailor to local needs, but avoid the considerable expense of completely different systems in each locale.
The first paper in this series, "Telecoms companies re-invention-from voice to e-service provision"1, identified underlying trends driving the need for telecoms evolution. This paper explores aspects that operators can address using a more integrated approach to e-commerce.
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