Amdocs Tries to Digitally Connect with Communications Providers
When it comes to purchasing products and services, consumers today have more control and choices than ever before. And the overwhelming majority of service providers are woefully out of touch with the real nature of the customer experience they provide. According to a report from Bain & Co., a global business consulting firm, 80 percent of service provider executives believe they are providing a "superior" customer experience, but only 8 percent of customers agree. With the launch of a new customer experience systems (CES) portfolio, Amdocs is hoping to help these firms transform and better adapt to today's consumer-focused digital lifestyle.
Scott Kolman, Amdocs' director of product marketing, says the value of the CES portfolio reflects the new reality: Consumers are driving today's market and any company that fails to realize this will be left behind. "It's a great opportunity for consumers to be able to move and select on their needs," he explains. "The challenge for the operators and service providers is that they are at risk of becoming a utility only." Kolman says that operators "have to embrace the new digital lifestyle and all that entails in terms of the way customers want to be treated [and the] kind of services they expect to receive."
Solutions built into Amdocs CES 7.5 include:
- search and digital advertising, which Kolman says will help mobile operators and their partners fully monetize revenue generated by advertising campaigns;
- digital commerce, which aims to deliver consumers a more personalized retail experience similar to what Amazon.com offers, such as personalized merchandising, service delivery, and partner management; and
- unified user-interface technology.
When tackling digital commerce, Kolman admits there's a fine line between relevant advertisements and spam. "From a consumer perspective, it is around personalizing and empowerment -- making something relevant to me, allowing me to be able to receive services I
feel are valuable so I don't perceive them as junk or advertisements," he says. "That's a really big problem in the area of digital advertising: making sure it's not just another advertisement irrelevant to me. Service providers have this wealth of data, and they must use it for good."
Shira Levine, a senior research analyst specializing in next-generation open-source software and billing at research giant IDC, says she shares Kolman's view about the importance of shifting focus toward delivering high-quality customer experience in a digital world. Levine also stresses that, while the technology itself is essential, it's also important for operators and service providers to ask for help in how to best serve the digital-age customer. "In order to succeed over the next few years, [providers] will have to take this role," Levine says, citing companies with significant consulting capabilities such as HP, IBM, and Accenture. "They will succeed going forward."
Kolman says the Amdocs CES portfolio is the culmination of years of acquisitions by the company -- notably the April 2006 purchase of digital commerce software and solutions provider Qpass
-- and analyzing the shift in consumers' purchasing patterns. "We've taken some steps along the way and also understood that you have to really work through what those [consumer] challenges are, what they're
trying to achieve," he explains. "This is going to be an ongoing act, not only as operators make the transition but as the consumers define in their own minds what they're looking for."
Levine also credits Amdocs' decision a year ago to start building up its consulting business, beyond just supplying the product. She believes the new consulting facet, along with the company's CES portfolio, will provide Amdocs an leg up over other companies moving forward. "Research shows [that] service providers don't want to work with multiple vendors -- they want one trusted [vendor] who does all the integration behind the scenes," she explains. "Amdocs has definitely made progress executing on that, which is a significant advantage to them."
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