Friday, 5 September 2014

Get ready for next generation Digital Commerce

In the last decade the telecom industry has experienced a data explosion thanks to the increase in subscription and voice data records, wireless information, geo-location details, social media and data usage by customers and service providers.
The complicated world of telecommunications analytics is nothing new and telcos have been long term pioneers of big data techniques which began with the building of call detail record (CDR) data warehouses. This data was used to better understand customer usage patterns and make data-driven decisions about how to package subscriptions and packages, cross and upsell add on services and options, and reduce customer churn.
Everyone understands that making sense of big data is the key to winning the battle for customers. Data analytics can deliver powerful insights into what customers want to achieve at every touch-point (channel), make it possible for organisations to maintain traction on customers as they migrate between touch-points, and support the generation of content and promotions that are personalized and highly relevant to customers.
But the big data challenge is set to get even bigger. Catalogs with tens of thousands of product variations are becoming the rule rather than the exception as telcos develop and manage ever more sophisticated and complex service bundles that incorporate devices, voice and data plans alongside subscriptions to gaming, live TV, film, music and video content providers.
What’s more, the proliferation of data sources and types means data no longer fits into neat easy-to- consume structures. Today’s omni-channel telcos enterprises need to be able to handle content, physical data points, processes, inventory, search, streaming data, social, text, mobile, web and more. All of which requires real-time data capture and analysis.

Master data management capabilities are now a ‘must have’ if telcos are to leverage their transactional, operational and customer behavior intelligence to the max. Having data readily accessible so analytics can run in real or near-real time is critical to enabling intelligence-driven merchandising and the delivery of a highly personalized experience that stays relevant as customers move between channels.
Get ready for next generation digital commerce
At the end of the day delivering an enriched customer experience – regardless of channel – is a primary goal and big data, when effectively managed, can power personalization engines to deliver better and more relevant content that helps move customers along the buying cycle to transact and convert.
Understanding and visualizing how customers migrate between touch-points, and what they expect to do (and achieve) at every touch-point makes it possible to give customers ‘what they want, when they want it’. Delivering a unified and enriched customer experience may also include delivering richer and more consistent product information, seamless transaction capabilities across every channel, and options to access the entire product range regardless of channel; for example by providing in-store kiosks that give customers the option of ordering catalogue items currently not available or stocked in store.
Utilising this intelligence, telcos can deliver loyalty offers that reduce the risk of customer churn, stimulate demand – for example, by offering high data consuming subscribers additional value-add services – and minimise the risk of failing to capitalise on opportunities by redirecting customers to the appropriate channel or storefront for their immediate requirements.
Achieving all this depends on next generation digital commerce platforms that make it possible to implement personalisation rules based on an individual’s behaviours and engagement preferences, generating product recommendations and self-care options that are relevant and appropriate to the immediate engagement encounter. All of this will depend on the ability to connect events captured on the network (usage behaviour) with other behaviours, such as topping up a prepaid account or purchasing a new SIM at the individual customer level.
Recognising and responding to these ‘key moments’ is decisive; creating a ‘brand for life’ long tail relationship with subscribers depends on a telcos’ ability to match relevant service bundles and options with consumer profiles at critical break/renew time points. In other words, achieving retention goals will depend on the ability to provide timely and relevant supported selling and appropriate recommendations in real-time.

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