Looking for service innovation? There’s an easy answer
Delivering innovation to consumers is difficult. Speakers at the SDIS Conference in London told the same story, time after time. Consumers want entertainment, which can mostly be delivered by partners through inclusion in service bundles. If you don’t have such partners, competing on price is the only option. But there is innovation in business services and a huge opportunity to deliver something compelling – and rewarding.
Attendees at the Service Delivery and Innovation Summit in London this week heard from a wide range of presenters, all discussing the thorny problem of innovation. In many markets, operators told us that consumer prices continue to be compressed, often by new entrants intent only on capturing as many customers as possible with loss-making offers, before being acquired by a larger player. Many operators reflected that their search for innovation was leading them only to an increasingly diverse array of content and entertainment partners.
The trouble is that such partners don’t create new revenue as such. Instead, they simply add glitter to an operator’s brand and these relationships are designed to try to entice customers not to churn. They merely help reduce the flow to competitive offers with a different array of partnerships, or to cheaper providers.
There’s no doubt about it: the consumer business, for so long the bread and butter of providers is more about retaining a position than genuinely moving forward. Operators are effectively trying to compete by running on the spot but getting nowhere, just like the Red Queen. Innovation is far from this world – it rests with Internet companies that create agile solutions for entertainment, content delivery, games and TV. As one speaker noted, operators cannot replicate such services; they can only forge partnerships with other providers and cannot differentiate from competitors.
But the situation is not all gloom. There is real scope for innovation in the operator domain, but it is not likely to be delivered to consumer customers. It was clearly recognised that there is another world out there, characterised by higher paying customers who seek more than simply bundled entertainment.
Of course, we’re talking about the enterprise. Enterprise (and SME) customers want something different. They want consistent, reliable service. They want capabilities that deliver efficiency and enhance their businesses. They want solutions that go beyond airtime and bundles to generate real value, such as unified communications that works effectively across all of their devices.
Operators and service providers have a choice. They can continue to service consumer markets and do their best to retain customers, but they can also try to grow their business by focusing their efforts on enterprise customers. They can deliver genuinely innovative services, building from a core UC offer, that help business customers manage their calls better, across all devices. They can help businesses present a consistent, co-ordinated face to customers and help them distribute calls effectively between employees. They can give employees the ability to manage their availability, accessibility and reachability to suit their busy work practices.
By choosing to focus on business customers, operators can easily capitalise on readily available and innovative solutions, which provide more effective communication for groups and organisations and which are proven to generate real returns.
We’ve seen this, time and time again. By offering advanced communications management and UC services for enterprise customers, operators can enable a platform that delivers valuable revenue. They can also create opportunities for future innovation by ensuring that they can evolve from an entry point to create highly differentiated offers. Innovation does not have to be outsourced to the Internet world. It can come from a deep understanding of the specific needs of different segments within the business market and the ability to deliver services that cater to these needs.
Gintel’s Easy Business Communications Suite is at the heart of such an approach. It’s a complete UC solution that includes the tools to enable innovation for future service evolution. The Easy Designer component gives operators their own sandbox on which to craft and tune services, allowing them to adapt and evolve offers, innovating to keep ahead of market requirements. If you are struggling to find innovation, then you should talk to us – we’ve been delivering it to operators for years.