Improving the experience for medium and large enterprise customers is as simple as 1-2-3

By: Jubin David
March 2015

JUBIN DAVID

SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER – DIGITAL
AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES
SUNTEC BUSINESS SOLUTIONS

Jubin leads the Digital & Communication services (DCS) Product team at SunTec and spearheads the activities related to ideation and rolling out of new products. With an experience of 18years in Product Engineering Architecting Consulting and delivery of products for communication services providers across the globe, Jubin provides a clear vision for the road aheadfor DCS products. Prior to joining SunTec he was with Subex, Emirates Telecommunication Corporation (ETISALAT) and Infosys, having served them in multiple capacities. 

Increasing numbers of communications service providers (CSPs) have identified the enterprise sector as the main target to grow their revenues. Whether it’s providing constant connectivity and unified communication, Cloud services or other value-added services, supporting the Internet of Things, or enabling enterprises to benefit from new potential markets and revenue streams, there’s a lot happening and a lot of potential in the B2B and B2B2C sectors.

Ultimately, increasing revenues from these sectors requires CSPs to deliver a better experience for their enterprise customers, such that they are truly partnering with them and enabling them to achieve their business goals. With that in mind, focusing on just three key issues can transform the enterprise experience.

Accelerate 

Whether it’s time-to-market for new products or order-to-cash processes, the enterprise market lags behind in the slow lane compared to the streamlined real-time experiences of the consumer market. This is not just a factor of inherently complex products and accounts, but also a result of legacy systems that are difficult to use and inflexible – often requiring IT staff to intervene or set up, and to plug process gaps caused by poor integration. Enterprise requirements (solutions, tariffs and offers) may be complex – often bespoke – but modern, flexible, and easier to use systems can speed order-to-cash processes by delivering full flow-through processes that don’t require manual intervention, and enable both business staff and even customers to configure orders and offers. Using a centralized product catalog reduces errors and enables correct first-time provisioning which speeds activation and order-to-cash processes. By reducing the requirement for rework, which speeds processes, reduces costs and increases satisfaction. Improvements can also be achieved through tight integration between the central product catalog and downstream OSS and BSS systems, which not only reduces the integration tax, but also substantially accelerates performance.

Simplify

While enterprise accounts and orders may be inherently complex, CSPs need to ensure that this does not stand in the way of what enterprises expect. They want to be treated as a single enterprise (with consolidated discounts and bundles) across multiple locations, services and networks.  
Fully convergent billing across any network, service or location delivers the required simplicity, while detailed drill downs provide visibility and control of individual accounts and service costs, as well as easy assignment to internal enterprise cost centres. Systems that are simpler to use enable business teams within CSPs and enterprises themselves to set up rules and configure changes to accounts and service packages. An enterprise version of self-care puts the enterprise in the driving seat, enabling simple changes to service parameters and management of prepaid balances or postpaid limits to be self-managed. This is only possible if systems are easy enough to use so that non-experts can manage changes.

Top Tip

 Do not be fooled by unclear semantics. Be wary of vendors and IT departments that promise ‘configuration’ but deliver thinly disguised ‘customization’ requiring development and programming. Anything that involves making changes directly to code is not configuration but customization, and will lengthen the time to set up, bill and provision enterprise products. It also makes future upgrades more difficult and increases complexity and costs. In contrast, true configuration is something that a non-IT expert can achieve quickly and easily. It takes advantage of the built-in flexibility of the software to adjust, personalize and flex to the needs of an individual enterprise without the requirement for coding-accelerating order-to-cash processes and putting sales and business teams back in the driving seat.

Build trust

Arguably the most important pillar of any customer relationship, trust is vital in the enterprise sector as more business-critical capabilities move online. The connected enterprise needs to trust that its service provider will deliver against SLAs and fix any problems quickly and accurately. Yet slow resolution of trouble tickets and bill shock events continue to undermine trust, with analyst research showing that problem resolution is persistently the most frustrating area in enterprise-CSP relationships.

Often there is a gap between enterprise IT’s perception of service provision, compared to that of its own end users. Neither enterprise IT departments nor CSPs may be fully aware how frustrated end users are becoming, because of information gaps and the way enterprise accounts are centrally managed. CSPs may, for example, be blamed for poor responsiveness, when the delay is actually being caused by internal IT departments not notifying CSPs quickly enough of reported problems. 

Enabling end users to flag up problems can avoid this issue and ensure that frustration doesn’t build to levels that threaten the continuity of the CSP-enterprise relationship. Similarly by providing configurable controls, alerts and notifications,

CSPs can deliver a more personal experience to enterprise end users while enabling them to avoid bill shock or credit drain that gets them into trouble with their bosses or stops them from doing their jobs effectively. Delivering greater visibility of accounts and services to IT departments, as well as the tools to manage their account more proactively, helps them deliver a better end user service. For example, alerting IT departments where usage is high and extra capacity or credit may be needed puts them in control and helps them make better decisions. This allows them to preempt problems by ordering more capacity or topping up balances before a problem occurs – delivering benefits both to themselves and CSPs.