Amdocs on the “life” of telco providers and their services

Amdocs, the leading provider of customer experience systems and services, released a survey yesterday based around the PLM (Product Life Management) of telecom provider’s services.

TelecomsTech took the opportunity to speak to Eitan Elkin from the firm about the findings and whether these providers are optimally positioned to tackle the future and its emerging threats.

Eitan first explains the background of PLM: “PLM is not a new term; it’s been around for more than 30 years. It started in the automotive industry - but it’s moved into the telecoms market only recently. The reason for this is because the telco market is becoming more and more competitive.”

He continues: “The traditional service providers see the competition not only coming through traditional competitors, but from newcomers; OTT providers such as Apple, Google, Samsung, Facebook, Twitter... all these guys are opening a new front almost on a daily basis.”

It was made very clear how fast these services are innovating and “raising the bar” in terms of what customers expect in terms of service and functionality. One of these products is used as an example more than any other, cross-platform application WhatsApp.

The popular messaging service allows the sending of free messages and media over a cellular or WiFi connection; reducing the usage (and potentially revenue) of standard SMS by providers.

Eitan suggests: “Only differentiating products and services can help them increase revenues. WhatsApp isn’t a threat – but it’s a competition, of sorts.”

Consistent new products and advancements are necessary to retain customers and grow your userbase; otherwise you lose out to rivals who are willing to innovate and adapt. Sometimes it’s about grasping an opportunity whilst it’s available, as Eitan gives an example:

“We have the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, think of all those people on a flight to Rio. If I’m a Brazilian provider; I could have an offer for them for roaming data and voice minutes. Let’s say, 200 minutes, and I can give them yesterday’s top five goals free in HD to their devices.”

He continues: “This is what I call an innovative product.”

To launch a service such as this; a provider would likely need a partner such as FIFA. This reminded me of some recent Ovum research which states 64% of service launches are internal and rely on the telecoms provider’s core services.

Whilst I had the chance, I wanted to pick Eitan’s thoughts on whether providers should reach out of their core operation for innovation; or whether it can be achieved internally.

He says: “Our survey showed that only 48% of viable, innovative products are being launched. That’s on average - there are a few deviations based on region.”

Finally I dropped the big question ‘Are Telco provider’s strategies optimal to tackle the future?’

Such a question requires an equally comprehensive answer, and Eitan didn’t disappoint: “If you make sure everything works correctly, then all these innovative ideas will come out. In some places, yes, they are ready for the future.”

He continues: “I’ve talked to customers, and I’ve talked to service providers, and they have very good ideas. But then when these ideas are being turned into reality... all this ‘mist’ they have internally gets in the way.”

“60% of CSPs (Communication Service Providers) are using a ‘Semi-Manual’ or ‘Manual’ approach to PLM. When I say manual, someone takes a piece of paper and goes around asking people whether their department within the service can support it or no.”

“So there’s a lot of bureaucracy; a lack of automation; which doesn’t allow these good ideas to come out. In answer to your big question, no they’re not ready.”

Amdocs’ full survey is entitled “Less Than Half of All Viable Product Ideas Are Being Launched”

What do you think about telecoms operator’s future strategies?

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