In a previous post on the rising importance (and opportunity) of SME customers I outlined how Communication Service Providers (CSPs) could generate incremental revenue from the often overlooked SME customer segment.
Well, there’s another SME opportunity for CSPs, one that would provide support to smaller businesses in the management of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies.
The unstoppable escalation of BYOD has meant that it is no longer a case of whether businesses choose to embrace it, but when and how. MDS’ 2012 Connecting with Business Customers research suggests that the proportion of businesses adopting BYOD practices is justifying the hype. Encouragingly, of those surveyed, 49% of SMEs have already implemented a policy for workers seeking to use their personal mobile devices for work activity, quashing suggestions that BYOD is a corporate-only phenomenon.
However, while CSPs are being called upon to inform on the best route to BYOD implementation, they are failing to do so to at the level that SMEs expect – 71% suggested CSPs are currently not doing enough to support the growth and smooth adoption of such policies. All in all, CSPs may not be acting as the wealth of knowledge that businesses expect of them, which comes as a real surprise when you consider the potential that BYOD support has for CSPs’ revenue generation.
BYOD brings CSPs the possibility of adding value to their relationship with SMEs, with increased levels of service helping to raise Average Revenue Per User in the meantime. In order to deliver profitable SME policies, CSPs need to analyse their data to accurately identify usage patterns, laying the foundations for more robust and comprehensive policies to be implemented. A vital stage in this process is identifying exactly who their SME customers are and ensuring they are provided with relevant Service Level Agreements (SLAs) – avoiding the crude application of corporate rules to smaller businesses that have far less extensive resources.
Of equal significance in the identification process is ensuring that SMEs are not treated purely as consumer customers, as is often the case. This more sophisticated level of intelligence about SMEs will allow CSPs to respond to changes before their competitors, and ensure they reap the rewards by taking action first.
CSPs and businesses should be working together to ensure that BYOD services are appropriate, agile and accountable. The answer is not only to be found in education programmes between the CSPs and businesses, but also in more transparent contracts and working partnerships through SLAs, in order that visibility – and cost predictability – remain at the core of successful deployments. From the CSP perspective this needs to be underpinned by integrated business support and operation support systems to ensure that issues such as billing and provisioning remain suitably agile.
CSPs can (and should) position themselves as a valued partner in this continually-developing relationship around BYOD adoption, and act as the central figure to ensure the benefits of BYOD are mutually achieved.