Excellence in B2B – preservation and evolution
Protecting existing revenue is essential, but so too is service evolution. The two approaches can be complementary. Increasingly, operators need to focus on solving customer problems, not delivering monolithic, one-size-fits-all services. What can we learn from consulting firm, Arthur D Little?
Two kinds of B2B opportunities
There are essentially two kinds of B2B opportunities that we encounter. First, replacement of an existing solution to ensure service continuity and to preserve and protect existing revenue. The second is to evolve B2B offers with a new solution. The two are not entirely unrelated – replacement of a legacy platform can also lead to future evolution, but they can also be separated.
For example, we’re involved in multiple projects in which the key goal is to replace a legacy mobile voice VPN. In each case, the requirement is basically to deliver something identical to the obsolete solution. Largely driven by the retirement of aged platforms, these situations call for deep integration with existing network infrastructure, customisation of our standard voice VPN solution, and careful migration of a large customer base to the new solution.
Replacing legacy B2B services can be complex
While in essence such projects are simple, they can be complex and time consuming, because a key priority is to ensure there is no change to the customer experience. Some of these services have been active for years, so the customers are well-used to the experience that they offer. And, operators have to protect the revenue they generate.
As such, we often have to replicate features that are rarely used or even recreate bugs that customers are used to. The customer experience is paramount and everyone – which includes the operator, our team and, typically, an experienced Systems Integrator, must focus on ensuring that the existing solution is replicated.
On the other hand, the deployment of a new solution provides more scope for innovation and differentiation. Without a legacy offer, the operator has more freedom to choose an offer that’s tuned to its particular market situation. This doesn’t remove integration challenges, but it does give more of a blank sheet to work on.
Moving from generic to tailored
It’s here that we’re seeing more of a change. For some time, these kinds of opportunities have tended to follow a template. “There is no current solution; we think vPBX would be a good idea, so please provide bid / specification”, and so on. This is fine and we have delivered numerous such projects – but the requirements have often been similar and have been based on fairly rigid sets of requirements.
Today, operators are expanding their vision somewhat. It’s becoming clear – and perhaps the COVID-19 situation has crystallised some of this thinking – that there’s an opportunity to do more. Rather than looking for a generic solution, operators are showing increasing interest in solving customer problems.
This shift has been recognised by consultancy firm Arthur D Little, among others. In a recent edition of the firm’s “Viewpoint” series (“Commercial Excellence in B2B Environments”), the firm notes that customer excellence has become increasingly important. As a result, “understanding customer needs and tailoring commercial approaches” and “reviewing product and service offerings to maximise added value” are now of fundamental importance.
Solve customer problems first – and grow
By focusing on customer problems, operators take a more discriminating approach to choosing the solutions that offer. In turn, this requires the ability (on the part of vendors) to tune and tweak solutions to solve these problems. In other words, customisation (or, as Arthur D Little notes, “tailoring”) is now essential.
So, rather than taking a generic solution, albeit one that solves common problems, such as a vPBX, operators are increasingly keen to ensure that a specific offer is derived from a common set of resources and capabilities. Such solutions can be optimised to customer needs and to address much more specific – and possibly localised problems.
All of which is starting to become more interesting that one-size-fits-all approaches. It’s not that these are no longer relevant, it’s just there may be better solutions. The trick is to be able to solve multiple problems at the same time, and as cost-effectively as possible.
Customisation and evolution – the Gintel way
That’s been key to our offer for years. While we provide complete turnkey solutions, Gintel’s customers have always been heavily focused on specific problems. Our operator partners are able to tailor individual services while also supporting broader approaches. Increasingly, they are turning to us to unlock customisation capabilities (via our toolkit) which, in turn, allow them to forge their own paths.
If you would like to understand how to translate customer needs into tailored solutions, that maximise value, why not talk to our team?