Chun-ling Woon Chun-ling Woon Chief Strategy Officer - Etiya

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What does it mean to be a digital service provider?

  • There is still a wide-held belief among many people in this industry that today’s communications service providers (CSPs) will fail because they will be unable to provide value to the end user in this new digital economy. But in fact the opposite is true. CSPs are evolving precisely in order to grasp the opportunities that the digital economy and this digital life will provide.


    According to estimates, the entire digital economy will be worth $1 trillion over the next five years. Thus, there is strong interest among CSPs to support this digital opportunity and figure out how they can capture the largest market share. That in turn requires a massive transformation of CSPs from the ground up as they transition into a digital service provider (DSP).


    The DSPs of the future will not just focus on the traditional ways of making money. No longer is it about selling minutes, texts and megabytes of data; in fact, the revenue opportunity is exponential.


    Think of a typical young person in today’s modern and developed world: they have never experienced life without the Internet, smartphones, tablets, laptop computers, 3G/4G access and Wi-Fi. For people in this age group, shopping, banking, socialising and even dating online is the norm.


    All their music, videos, photos and even books are probably stored digitally in smartphones, e-book readers and tablets, and they are in contact with friends on a 24/7 basis thanks to WhatsApp, Snapchat and other similar chat and messaging services. They can also buy what they want instantly through online stores. When a product or service isn’t available at the time they seek it, they move on to something else and rarely go back.


    The question is: how will CSPs make this transition?


    For CSPs, the demands of today’s so-called “digital natives” are forcing them to go back to the basics and learn to delight their customers with a superior brand and an innovative approach to services. A CSP has to get closer to the customer through one-to-one marketing rather than segmentation and bundling. This in turn enables a better understandingof the customer from a contextual point of view, so you know who they are, where they are, what they want and when they want it. What is a customer likely to buy, and why did they buy it? What are they likely to buy next?


    CSPs can achieve this by creating end-to-end systems that allow them to mine the customer data that sits in their billing systems. However CSPs have not yet worked out how they can harness this valuable resource. Once they have figured this out, they will better understand what people want through the insights they gain using analytics and other tools. Importantly, they will also be able to place the customer experience into context through an understanding of the customer’s journey, and acknowledging that what a customer wants also changes from one day to the next.


    In essence, the way people receive and rate services is undergoing a fundamental change. Rather than relying on Net Promoter Scores (NPSs), CSPs are increasingly being driven by social media analytics that in turn are dictated by customer expectations. It’s no longer a question of providing mass-market services; it’s also not a question of providing segmented offerings to suit different target groups based on broad categories such as age or location. It’s about marketing services that are individually designed for a particular customer. We require a different outlook in our industry. We must strive to become the evangelists of a happier, more fulfilling and more meaningful future.



    Are CSP and B/OSS vendors positioned to do this?Absolutely! We invented the systems - and we have access to the data.Tune in for the next episode to find out how we will help CSPs prepare for this digital life.

    Chun-ling Woon
    About Chun-ling Woon Chun-ling Woon works as Chief Strategy Officer at Etiya
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