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July 2015

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    In an increasingly technology driven world with the number of connected devices crossing 2 billion and growing, the movement from cable viewing to Over-The-Top (OTT) is natural. An OTT platform offers the flexibility to watch one’s favorite TV shows across a range of connected devices, something which the traditional model of cable viewing cannot offer due to technological limitations. From OTT platforms that work across Windows and Mac operating systems to iPhones and Android based phones as well as televisions across technologies, there is no longer any question of whether television programming will cater to this growing market. Instead, television operators are now scrambling to ensure that their OTT platform is able to provide the most powerful viewing experience to customers.

    Decline of traditional cable and satellite television services

    OTT is responsible for disrupting traditional cable and satellite TV services by delivering television and movie content through the Internet. The days of traditional bundling of television channels with added offerings and matching bills has now become passé as users no longer need to subscribe to cable or satellite channels and pay a hefty bill every month to be able to view their favorite movies or television programs. An OTT platform provides application- based service that streams content directly on to the user’s device by passing traditional content distribution channels-which a common man generally refers to as online TV. OTT platforms are increasingly being used in providing media and communication services related to the distribution of television and movie content because with live streaming and video on demand feature they prove to be much more cost effective for the ultimate user than the traditional cable and satellite platforms.

    Internet TV is killing cable TV

    The adoption of OTT platforms is highest among the younger age group mainly because of the convenience and flexibility of viewing television and movie content across multiple devices of their choice, something that is not possible with cable and satellite channels. With a growing number of broadband solutions and in turn the broadband subscribers without cable or satellite subscriptions, industry estimates place the number of broadband subscribers without TV subscription to be approximately 10 million, a majority of them being in the age group of late 30’s to early 40’s, the market is certainly lucrative. Netflix was among the earliest adopters of the OTT platform with quite a reasonable OTT billing and thus, has certainly reaped the benefits of being an early entrant with a subscriber base of 37.7 million in the US, higher than even HBO’s 31.4 million subscribers.

    What-is-OTT-Platform

    OTT revenue models

    There are currently three different revenue models being used across the OTT platform

    • Subscription based service also called SVOD, Netflix and Hulu being the most famous adopters of this OTT platform based revenue model
    • Ad supported free service also called AVOD like Crackle
    • Transaction based service also called TVOD like iTunes and Vimeo

    Challenges before the rise of Online television

    The biggest challenge faced by OTT platform based content delivery is distribution. For instance delivery through OTT platforms requires the users to have televisions connected to the internet, which means replacing traditional television sets with the newer internet equipped televisions. However the increasing adoption of OTT based viewing shows that users ultimately view it as a small price to pay for the convenience and affordability it offers in the long run, especially among the younger age group.

    July 31, 2015 0 comment
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    Thumb rule for a successful business: Customer experience management

    Customer experience has emerged as the key differentiator in today’s globally connected and competitive business environment. Customer experience management (CEM) as defined by Gartner is “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy. In short, CEM is the sum total of processes a company uses for tracking, overseeing and organizing the interactions with its customers throughout the customer lifecycle for increasing customer retention and adding new customer with word of mouth advertising.

    The Goal of CEM

    The root goal of Customer experience management is to optimize customer interactions in order to foster customer loyalty reducing churn. It enables them to gain a thorough understanding of their target customer in order to be able to design and deliver a unique and personalized experience that not only keeps them motivated to remain loyal customer but also act as advocates of one’s brand to the other.

    How to make Customer experience management effective?

    Customer experiences have got new inclusions. Not only they include interactions through the traditional channels such as buying, service requests along with call center communications but also through Mobile self-care apps and social CRM channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Thus, the companies need outlining a strategy encompassing all customer touch points.

    Why is Customer experience management (CEM) important?

    Digital marketers are totally aware of the fact that the managed experience delivered to a customer while buying a product or service is as important as the product or service itself. Differentiating one’s customer experience from competitors can provide the organization with substantial business value which is why they have started investing substantial time and resources in delivering a highly personalized superior experience to increase customer loyalty.

    great customer experience can achieve the following benefits for business:

    • Enhance consumer loyalty through interesting and personalized user interactions
    • Boost sales and revenue through repeat orders from existing customers and addition of new customers through word of mouth advertising
    • Build a superior brand image through differentiated consumer experiences
    • Reduce costs associated with losing customers to competitors due to non-differentiated value perception in the eyes of the customer.

    The CEM process

    Delivering this kind of personalized customer experience increases loyalty but requires a depth of consumer understanding that requires accessing and analyzing in depth data gathered from all customer interaction touch points and communication channels throughout the organization.

    The first step in designing a personalized and differentiated customer experience is to understanding the customer. This entails creating customer profiles using both first hand structured data in conjunction with third party data. By creating detailed customer profiles digital marketers can:

    • Build an understanding of consumer needs and expectations
    • Make informed decisions in real time to improve experience
    • Gain insight on how consumer experience can be enhanced at specific points of interaction.

    Once the socio-economic as well as emotional motivations driving buying behavior for one’s key target segments is identified, CEM then involves personalizing the buying experience to an extent that the customer feels special and valued.

    As a process CEM is driven by the give and take of information. Marketers use the information available to analyze consumer profiles to design superior experience and then pass on the information about consumer preferences to consumer facing personnel to ensure they are able to deliver differentiated service to consumers, who in turn pass on the data related to their interaction to marketers. This two way flow of information drives customer experience management and enables organizations to differentiate their brand from competitors to turn one time customers into brand loyalists.

    July 31, 2015 0 comment
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    In today’s world the sheer volume of data that gets generated through consumer behavior surveys, data mining, keyword search based data, 3rd party data, semantic page level data, data collected from final users through forms etc. is enough to overwhelm marketers and publishers. There is simply no dearth of data bases, the challenge lies in integrating it into a structure and form that advertisers and publishers can use to further business objective. With mobile devices overtaking all other web based devices in traffic, the amount of data generated through mobile is simply too vast and valuable for marketers and publishers to use unless it is integrated, structured, organized and analyzed for key consumer behaviour metrics.

    Traditional DMPs are not enough

    The data management platforms are a critical part of the telecommunication sector today, owing to the fact that they enable a better understanding of customer details and accordingly their needs in order to wield that detail more effectively for driving results. And, so accompanying the rise of mobile devices has also arisen, the need to track and manage mobile data. Today, the mobile usage has exceeded the PC internet usage and as the studies suggest, an average consumer spends more than 162 minutes on their mobile device every day.

    Mobile data management platforms have emerged for this very purpose, they serve as a centralized data management system that collects, integrates and manages large volumes of unstructured and structured data from a multitude of sources. An effective Mobile Data Management Platform provides a unified environment of data development and delivery that provides marketers and publishers access to timely, accurate and consistent data.

    Until now marketers have pretty much relied on cookies for data collection on consumer buying behavior and by extension for ad campaigns. However cookies are only able to provide marketers with elementary consumer buying information while Data Management platforms are able to provide data intelligence and analysis that goes much beyond simply consumer buying analysis. Advanced data management platforms are able to leverage technology to gauge buying trends, gain better understanding of your audience to be able to identify and segment your target audience. Simply put data management platforms help you scale and grow your business by helping marketers identify key consumer attributes, habits to be able to predict future buying behavior.

    For instance data management platforms can provide marketers with information as to how many users that purchased digital cameras in a particular week also ended up searching for Plasma TV’s. What DMP also makes possible is to overlay third party information over this buying pattern to provide marketers with information on household income and credit scores of those particular digital camera buyers also interested in Plasma TVs.  DMP ultimately boils down to how much data you want to provide the system and how deep you want to dive into the data available.

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    The power of Mobile DMPs

    Uses of Mobile Data Management Platform

    The uses of DMP are many and growing by the day, the primary ones being:

    • Data management platforms can help publishers charge a premium from advertisers for targeted on site advertising resulting in sales conversions.
    • Data management platforms can help advertisers identify unique consumer behavior and buying patterns in real time that can be leveraged for launching targeted ad campaign capable of being modified in real time for maximum effectiveness. Advertisers no longer need to wait before getting the results of their ad campaign and are also able to save millions of dollars in wasted campaigns by the increased control provided by access to real time information.
    • Decrease dependence on 3rdparty data by relying more on advanced data management platforms that use algorithm based models to identify potential target segments that will be most receptive to your marketing message.
    • Provide Cost and operational efficiency by providing marketers and publishers with the ability to analyze consumer behaviour using different combinations of data inputs.

    With mobile becoming the predominant data source, mobile data management platforms that offer the ability to integrate data from mobile and web are gaining increasing prominence among marketers and publishers.

    July 30, 2015 0 comment
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    Mahindra Comviva’s Business Solutions, comprising of CRM and billing, have added two components to provide a feature rich platform to operators that ensure better customer management, higher ARPUs driven customer loyalty and better sales management.

    The last six years have seen a tremendous increase in smart phone penetration across the globe and this has resulted in enhanced data consumption and newer ways to use data like applications, video on demand and media downloads. Over the last two years, even traditional services like messaging and calling have been seen shifting to a data platform, aimed at providing a better customer experience. This can be achieved as the applications being used are more open and customizable. With this range of features and better user experience, growth in data usage has been phenomenal and has forced operators to take a long, hard look at their offering strategy. The trend is clearly highlighted by the astronomical sums operators in India and abroad have been shelling out just to obtain licenses for 4G LTE and IMS.

    Mahindra Comviva’s Business Solutions portfolio has been able to tap this trend to offer the intelligent product catalogue. This is aimed at enabling the operator to create intelligent offerings, thereby coupling traditional communication services with next generation services like VOD, BoD and games on demand. The offerings enable customer to avail of data services that offer a better customer experience at optimal prices. Data is offered through the mBAS platform and Direct Carrier billing (mBAS DCB) facility that brings onboard the best of OTT services like games on demand, personalized content, mobile television and e-books spanning the majority of OS providers.

    Addressing day-to-day business activities like sales and channel management, inventory management, and commissions are making operators nervous as this ecosystem requires transparency till the last mile. Otherwise, operators can potentially run out of cash flow quite rapidly, owing to the high value transactions taking place on credit sales and payouts taking place on commissions bound by complex sales target and customer retention rules. Add to that, the unrealized inventory stacked in some desolate corner with supplier warranties fast expiring. In short, operators need a solution that enables transparency and provides predictable distribution and commission figures. Mahindra Comviva’s Business Solutions portfolio empowers operators to push sales towards the market and provides transparency and a real- time view of the market that is unheard of in the present realm of business solutions and addresses any concern dealers, customers and operators may have.

    The power of Mahindra Comviva’s Business Solution portfolio lies not just in its ability to address all the stakeholders but in its intention to create an ecosystem that ensures opportunities for growth across the sales chain, third party vendors and, last but certainly not the least, the customers who are driving the whole business revolution.

    July 30, 2015 0 comment
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    Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF) was first introduced in 2007 as part of the Policy Charging Control Architecture. The elements of the PCC are designed to provide access, QoS or quality of service, resource and control to the entire configuration of the broadband gateway including offline and online charging.  PCEF is designed to enforce decisions received from the policy and charging functions and relaying back access and subscriber information to the PCRF over a secure Gx interface connecting the PCEF to the PCRF.

    In online charging, the PCEF architecture is designed to interact with the internal charging function leading the internal charging function to interact with the OCS or online charging system which in turn generates credit management data for pre paid charging and generates reports for OFCS or Offline Charging System regarding resource usage.

    PCEF provides policy enforcement as well as charging functionalities. Located at the network gateway, the PCEF performs the role of a traffic controller distributing appropriate bandwidth as and when required. It also provides QoS at the gateway including service data flow detection, including varied interactions between online and offline charging. PCEF has a major role to play in monitoring service data flow regulated by policy control by allowing the service data to flow through the gateway only upon accessibility of the corresponding gate.

    PCEF along with PCRF enable telecom carriers to provide differentiated service offerings in order to increase revenue earnings. PCEF is key to service integrity, which is why telecom carriers ensure validation of PCEF rules before launching new service offering. The testing is done to validate both service integrity as well availability of sufficient bandwidth to deliver the new service offering upon request. Similarly the carrier needs to validate the charging rules as well as per the Service Level Agreement entered into by the customer to ensure that the charges raised are commensurate with the offering based on service conditions. Every service offering by the carrier needs a different bandwidth which is where the PCEF and PCRF elements come into the picture. Their job is to ensure that network resources are utilized efficiently with minimum wastage by making sure required bandwidth is available to each service dynamically in real time.

    PCEF is designed to work across a whole range of wireless networks and even comes embedded in standardized IT servers. PCEF and PCRF elements are required to manage hundreds of thousands of transactions every second which is why their service integrity is essential to ensure they can operate efficiently even under maximum capacity utilization.

    Validation of PCEF and PCRF elements is fairly simple requiring the carrier to simulate the PCEF, PCRF as well as Charging and Application Function using appropriate network tools. The simulation test results provide you with the data required tovalidate for errors as well as whether the rules are being implemented successfully and the ability of the Policy functions to perform under maximum capacity stress.

    July 27, 2015 0 comment
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    Amit Sanyal, Assistant Vice President and Joint Head for the Consumer Value Solutions business shares his views on Mahindra Comviva’s CXM strategy in Latin America. He also highlights the best practices and key challenges in this space.

    The Latin American telecom space is characterized by multi-sim cards per customer and marginally declining ARPUs and EBITDA.

    In this context, CXM tools such as data analytics attain centre stage.

    Trends in the Latin American Market

    It’s all about customer experience, let’s look at telecom. If you look at Latin America, it is not one country, it is not even a group of countries its split into parts of America, Central America and Caribbean , if you take North America there is a dispute but it starts from Mexico downwards so that’s LATAM. Overall the group of 20 countries, see majorly Spanish speaking, except in Brazil the teledensity in most countries is significantly high, if you look at sims per subscriber, how many sims does a person carry, that is a good indication of how crowded that market is in terms of penetration of mobile. In LATAM, specifically in North America and South America specifically Mexico, the sims per subscriber is over two, so every guy more or less carry two sims. Maybe two handsets or two sims in same handset.

    Part two, look at what is happening to the average revenue per user , if I look at data from past four to six quarter , it is either flat or marginally declining, if I look from the acquisition, how much they are acquiring . The growth rate is at 10 percent, leave telecomm look at the geopolitical indicators – GDP is okay, now people have money when everyone is talking about data, growth of mobile because the sims per subscriber is so high. If I can boil down customer experience management, the customer is spending money, he may not be spending on you, so the big question for the telecomm sector is not that how I get him to spend more, how do I divert spend pattern to my networks.

    If I have a choice, multiple choice what the other party has better from the previous party. Most operators tend to think it as trans war. The extent to which you can cut your bills, mobile tariffs, data tariffs , there is a flaw. Now what happens that you have brought down your diaries, if I look at the profitability of operators, it is medium to high. But the percentages are stagnant, declining maybe marginally. Price war is not the answer. Only answer is you put up an ecosystem in place, a connected field of ecosystem players. You will improve customer experience and focus on intelligent consumer analytics. If I do that I have another proposition apart from the price, as an operator I am happy I am not touching my price table.

    Customer experience management has expanded, it is customer experience plus consumer behavior understanding. There is tremendous amount of data that is available. Is the telecomm industry able to mine through data that is available to drive what I call, convert data into actionable insights. How do I convert that data into tangible revenue generating actionable insight and that’s where analytics, big data, real time marketing comes.

    July 24, 2015 0 comment
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    Amit Sanyal, Assistant Vice President & Joint head for the Consumer Value solutions business, Mahindra Comviva shares his views on the best practices and key challenges in this space.

    Mahindra Comviva’s CXM strategy for Latin America

    Enhancing CXM tools is key in the LATAM region.

    Mahindra Comviva’s products span the entire customer lifecycle.

    Best practices in Latin America

    We have seen in that region, focusing on customer experience, we have also players focus on systems and processes which as a KPI also impacted customers and now what we have seen is that the region is now focusing on significant time and investment in analytics. Telecomm analytics focused upon marketing.

    Mahindra Comviva’s Latin America

    Mahindra Comviva is not new to Latin America. We have been a player along with several operators in close to 11 countries. What is new to us, when we were in the field of play earlier, when I compare LATAM to the rest of the world, the key seemed to be analytics, big data and how do I create actionable insights to improve my customer service and then overall experience. New acquisition is difficult, people have multiple sims hence customer experience management and input into customer experience management like big data, analytics and marketing .

    From Comviva perspective what we see, let’s take Comviva as an organization we are not a one solution organization, we don’t have products that one part of the telecomm operators ecosystem or even one part of the customer’s lifecycle whether in content commerce, value management. What we have from analytics, big data perspective. Comviva solutions manage the complete lifecycle right from the onboarding of customer and what can you do, if he is dis-satisfied, how do I win him back , While other companies have what the industry calls point solutions providers where I touch only one or several parts of the consumer’s lifecycle but I don’t take lifecycle as a single event, but I say it is not a transaction for this event. But this is a solution in a sweet, portfolio format.  It touches every part of the customer lifecycle.

    While there are several players to big to nascent, we have very few players who are industry recognized. How do I qualify? So recognized by an independent party versus an operator. So Comviva is one of the few whose solutions has been a suitable offering for the telecomm operators.

    What we bring on the table is global perspective , when a customer engages with us for a particular problem set, what Comviva does is we get our global practices that benefits the operator hugely so you are unrestricted . Why Comviva is different and price competitive also.

    CXM uptake in Latin America vis a vis globally

    The Latin American market is similar to the Indian Subcontinent, that you see in LATAM, coming out of the Indian operations, however Comviva recognizes this, what we offer for LATAM is everything operating out of Latin America, so for the customer the proposition is in your language, your time zone.

    In a Nutshell

    From the Mahindra Comviva perspective we are updated with operators in the Latin American market and in the current year, Latin America is an area for high focus, we incredibly believe we can add value to the operators businesses and also significantly expand there KPI’s with the ultimate goal of training operators. Significant focus for Comviva this year, with a clear thought process that we can add value.

    July 23, 2015 0 comment
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    Churn rate is the term used for the percentage of customers subscribing to a particular service that discontinue their subscription within a given duration of time. In order to further expand a company’s clientele, it must enhance its growth rate above its current churn analysis.

    There’s no particular formula to derive churn rate but to illustrate- if 1 out of every 20 customers paying for an internet connection discontinues their subscription, the resulting churn rate for the internet service provider in question would stand at 5 per cent.

    Why is churn rate important?

    Churn rate is an essential matrix, especially for the telecom industry. Every service provider outlines their strategy on the basis of their churn rate and thus, decides their policy for the coming quarters.

    The churn rate for any service is very closely tracked in the telecommunication industry. A company’s high churn rate statistics imply that it loses a high percentage of its subscribers almost every month. A low churn rate highlights the operator’s capability of retaining subscribers by offering quality services and is thus considered to be the best.

    • Churn rate is a major challenge for an operator as it is an effective medium to measure if its customers are happy with the provided service.
    • It implements the satisfaction index of the existing customers, while at the same time helping the company to find its weak points.

    Five ways to minimize churn rates

    The loss of customers has a significant impact on service providers, keeping in mind the scale of investments pumped in to acquire customers. Therefore, a variety of metrics have been established, to determine when the customers are about to opt out of the service. It becomes profitable for a service provider to explore the reasons behind the churn and then target the at-risk customers with alluring offers.

    Some essential steps for advanced churn management:

    1. Finding out why customers are opting out of the service
    2. Keeping existing subscribers engaged
    3. Use e-mail campaigns to keep customers engaged
    4. Try down-selling to a basic offer if retention seems impossible
    5. Figure out what subscribers consider essential and introduce it

    Summary

    A variety of tactics are used by the companies to maintain their existing customer bases. The most efficient and thus, very popular way of saving customer re-acquiring cost is by providing a good customer service with cloud services like SaaS and increasing retention rates with customer experience management. Providing customers with an easy way to get their queries addressed and issues handled with self-care apps is an all-time key to maintain cellular clients. Offering upgrade without levying any extra charges on the customer’s availed service also works well. Offering discounts often results in the improvement of retention rate for the existing clients. The heavily increased regular usage of convenient mobile applications has made the free access to such applications, a very enticing bonus to reduce churn in cases of most of the subscribers.

    July 22, 2015 0 comment
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