This discussion gives an operator, system integrator, and vendor perspective on where we are headed and what needs to happen to speed innovation and revenue in a bold new digital world full of opportunities and challenges.
In case you missed our recent webcast, luminaries from Vodafone, Accenture, and Oracle discussed challenges and opportunities presented by 5G, emerging multiparty business models, and competitive disruption from webscale companies. Jason Rutherford, senior vice president, and general manager of Oracle Communications, Applications, led the discussion about IT and operational agility. He explored what CSPs need to rapidly launch and monetize services while simultaneously ensuring agents and customers get the best customer experience possible over any channel, any time.
IT and operational agility are top of mind for Vodafone’s Carlos Valero, IT strategy and architecture director, who offered insight into “Tech 2025 Transformation,” an ambitious strategy for evolution from being a traditional telco to a “technology communications company” — every aspect of which will be viewed through the lens of data-driven, cloud-enabled Digital Experiences. The goal is to bring B2B and B2C customers new ways of working and engaging through scalable platforms and digital-first products and services that span all channels and to become a platform company with the scale to be a true global player.
Both Jason and Carlos agreed that interoperability requires a big push to the cloud, as well as open APIs and standards. Both discussed Vodafone’s move toward Oracle Cloud Infrastructure and the collaborative work they are doing around Open APIs and Open Digital Architecture (ODA) as part of the upcoming TM Forum Business Operations Systems Catalyst.
There’s no question that interoperability is a major focus as operators move apps to the cloud, a compelling trend evidenced by Carlos' prediction that approximately 80 to 90 percent of Vodafone’s apps will exist in a public or private cloud, with 60 percent of that total predicted to be cloud-native by 2025. This marks an aggressive move to drive its core business beyond connectivity and toward the full potential of 5G and the IoT.
As CSPs push beyond traditional industry boundaries, they will have to find ways to fully capitalize on the troves of customer data often trapped in silos across their IT infrastructure. They will have to decouple systems of record from the experience in order to increase agility and interoperability. For too long, innovations in customer experience have been hampered by the mission-critical applications that handle everything from charging for services to fulfilling orders, billing, and other revenue-dependent tasks.
During the webcast, Jason gave a closer look at Digital Experience for Communications, explaining in detail how a cloud solution can free CSPs to decouple the experience layer from mission-critical systems of record to more rapidly innovate and speed time to innovation and revenue. In fact, the solution demonstrates how a cloud solution can bring CSPs the best of both worlds—verticalized/telecom-specific customer experience management on top of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (and all that comes with it like autonomous services, integrated security, and serverless compute), not to mention leading data platforms and cloud applications.
Unlike other solutions that offer only a portion of the stack, the API-first, ODA-standard architecture gives operators the flexibility to build and operate either their entire business or portions of their business on a cloud platform, bringing them the ultimate in flexibility, operational excellence, efficiency, and reduced costs.
And as Jason called out in the conversation, Digital Experience for Communications was architected by the same person who built Netflix’s Emmy-award winning recommendation capabilities, Pritham Shetty—now a group VP of CX industry solutions for Oracle. Pritham and his team designed the solution to be agile and easy to use through certified open APIs that enable the experience layer to be decoupled from the systems of record. In fact, he noted Oracle has the number-one position on the TM Forum leaderboard for certified open APIs. The consequent interoperability and agility mean the experience layer can be decoupled from the systems of record so that CSPs can tailor new agent desktop experiences, new digital assistants, and AI-based recommendations without the traditional constraints of underlying mission-critical systems. This is critical as CSPs increasingly compete with webscale and over-the-top competitors that can rapidly roll out new experiences, hence disrupting operators’ revenue streams and profit margins.
Additionally, this interoperability and flexibility provide a path to transformation, as described in the webcast by Oracle’s Siebel expert George Jacob, group vice president, CRM apps. He explained how Siebel customers can keep what they have without a rebuild and instead layer on new CX innovations in specific apps, cloud-ready interaction channels, big data, and machine learning. For example, starting with Siebel as the customer master (or, in the front office, the product catalog and order master), adding different aspects of Digital Experience for Communications’ “Launch,” starting with the product catalog to speed product offer processes, then moving on to “Care” and then to “Omnichannel” for end-to-end order management (see sidebar, below).
That frictionless evolution is largely due to the use of standard data models for cleansing and normalizing customer-, product-, audit- and asset data. The data integrity and consistency of DX4C translates into best-in-class intelligence, helping CSPs proactively assess the lifetime value of customers, drilling down to see which ones will likely renew or churn, and assessing what types of customer engagement will make sense at different points in each customer’s journey. Additionally, it allows for customer segmentation and sophisticated CX algorithms that help CSPs further drill into data for more specific, highly targeted campaigns that provide contextual customer engagement and interaction.
This type of personalized engagement will be increasingly important, according to Accenture managing director Andrea Cesarini, who explained during the webcast that our “new normal” has been an accelerator to the need for a “new currency” of combined customer experience + resilience + trust. As he explained, COVID-19 has pushed the adoption of digital channels and consolidated 10 years of transformation into six months, forever changing customers’ lives and perceptions. Andrea believes telcos are in a very good position, citing the strong correlation between technology and this new currency as operators invest in 5G, fiber, and the IoT.
With the power of the cloud, CSPs will rapidly adjust to accommodate the needs of evolving customer expectations today while ensuring they have the agility and scale they need for what’s to come tomorrow.
Visit our new Digital Experience for Communications website to learn about Oracle Digital Experience for Communications and how it enables service providers to deliver relevant and personalized offers, service packages, and care using in-depth knowledge of each customer’s unique buying behaviors and preferences. Feel free to contact us at email@example.com.