It is highly admirable that the telecommunications industry has come around to putting the Customer at the centre of its universe, but is it really achievable or simply a pipe dream.
I don’t mean to sound negative but previous attempts to make the network, business support systems and then services the centre of attention have been fragmented at best.
We now have mobile networks operating with 2G, 3G, 4G and WiFi/WiMax technologies concurrently, hardly and optimal situation, ask any network performance manager.
These have to be supported by a plethora of operational systems, often replicated for each new technology.
Business systems don’t fare much better.
Multiple mediation and billing platforms required for different services that were not imagined when originally deployed and designed in such a way that upgrades take months, if not years to be introduced.
And all those new services that seem to appear daily, running off a multitude of in-house and remote servers along with new cloud offerings.
When will it all end ?
The easy answer is that it won’t.
Despite continuous efforts to ‘transform’ and simplify internal operations in CSPs the stark reality is that ‘nirvana’ can never be reached and we will always be battling with complex technical issues that all play their role in delivering service to the Customer.
To complicate matters further, we now have the issue of 'Big Data’ to contend with.
It seems that 'Big Data' is being looked at to profile customers more accurately in order to offer them services more suited to their requirements.
Of course, that presumes that the data we have amassed over the years is actually suited for this or in a format that can be easily extracted and used.
Which brings us back to the issue of Customer centricity and giving Customers the best possible Experience.
Keeping in mind that almost every component in the network, services and support systems can impact that experience how can we hope to achieve the ultimate Customer Experience, or something remotely close to it, with such disparity across operations?
Even if we were to start from scratch and build everything from the ground up it would be impossible to do so without having to deal with multiple systems from multiple vendors across multiple platforms.
The one saving grace could be going all IP, but even that would be stretching the effective technology we have today.
Apart from the definitive move towards service and business assurance that firms like WeDo Technologies specialize in, there is a move towards software driven systems that interpret data from across the operation and presents it in a customizable format usually via a browser to any screen.
That same disparate data I mentioned earlier can now be 'interpreted' and used more effectively in near-real time to assure a better Customer Experience not only by providing information to operations staff and CSRs, but by empowering the customer as well.
It may not be the nirvana we strive for but it may just give us 'peace of mind' in the interim.