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Want To Deliver Converged, Bundled, Integrated Services? Pay Attention To CRM

By David Symms • TMCnet Contributing Editor


Communications service providers: Want to get consumers to go for your bundled offerings of fixed and wireless phone, DSL broadband and video services? Better pay attention to your CRM databases, among other things.

A new report by consulting firm Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Inc. recommends that service providers who want to develop and deliver integrated products and services need to adhere to industry standards, cooperate with large developer and vendor communities, and form strategic partnerships with experts in core technologies such as seamless mobility.

They also need to 'build a convergence customer data repository, with information from multiple CRM databases and network switches, to provide a single view of customer profitability and usage across different products,' Diamond analysts found, adding that 'service providers will also need a common Internet Protocol core network.'

It's quite a challenge. Cable operators like Comcast (News - Alert) 'and the Regional Bell Operating Companies see the convergence of these various services as an important source of growth, noted Hamilton Sekino, a partner in Diamond's telecom practice.

Sekino calculates that approximately $18 to $23 billion in enterprise value is in play as RBOCs and cable providers bundle services to compete for increased market share in the U.S.

It won't be easy. Industry observer Maury Wright explains that the triple play 'succinctly means serving consumers' voice, video and data needs over a converged network. And without question, some telecom companies and MSOs are delivering today.'

But consumer desires are changing, Wright notes: 'Video has always been the most bandwidth-hungry part of the play, and that need for speed is skyrocketing. Consumers are increasingly enamored of DVRs that might record two or even more channels while yet another channel plays live. Combine DVR use with the escalating migration to HDTV quality, and the last mile is suddenly once again a huge obstacle just as it was for broadband data a decade ago.'

'Profitably delivering bundled services ' the so-called triple and quadruple plays of various voice, data and video offerings ' will require that providers build significant new capabilities,' Sekino contends. 'It will take targeted marketing, customer-centric offerings, new organizational models, David Sims
TMCnet Contributing Editor
and technology innovation to be successful.' 'A key question these companies must answer is, 'will customers go for it?'' Sekino said. 'There isn't a monolithic market. Different consumer segments have far different attitudes about what they're willing to buy, from whom, and at what price. The answers will drive billions of dollars in investments.'

And those are exactly the sort of answers well-done CRM, which is based on the premise that one size does not fit all, can provide, as the firm notes. CIS

JDavid Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet..

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