The Ready Telco One Catalyst project shows how communications service providers (CSPs) can increase their revenues and their brand value in the consumer market without having to develop all the new services themselves. Instead CSPs combine their offers with those of partners within an ecosystem, augment customer interactions using AI and give consumers a uniquely different experience.
The premise is that an operator invites consumers to enrol their favorite apps and services in a gamified loyalty scheme whereby they are awarded points for using partners’ offers. The points can be redeemed against products and services from any of the ecosystem partners, which could mean extra gigabytes of data from the CSP or a free cup of coffee from Starbucks, for instance.
The customer wins
The more the customer engages, the more rewards they get. This game-like experience encourages them to unlock premium services and discounts, raising their loyalty status and giving them greater value and satisfaction. Their AI-powered customer journeys move consumers from phase to phase and from one outcome to the next.
The project is championed by Orange Group and Orange Poland. It relies on partner onboarding from Comviva, customer journey management, unified product catalog, analytics and revenue management from Netcracker, and gamification and AI in the form of machine learning from Microsoft. Radisys provides the virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) interactions.
The CSP can combine partner offers with their own to promote new and enhanced services directly to their customer base. Partners can do the same which in turn can bring the CSP new customers. One example might be combining the operator’s 5G service with a virtual or augmented reality (AR/VR) app, and selling tickets to attend a VR-based e-sports event from home, with opportunities for in-service promotions.
The key is to ensure it is simple and fun for customers to use, enticing them to engage with the CSP’s loyalty app regularly to check their status and what’s new.
CSPs are winners
The gamification increases engagement with the platform and so provides the CSPs with richer behavioral data, which they analyze using machine learning models to gain a greater understanding of trends in customer behaviors as well as that of individuals. The analysis helps to improve the performance of the gamified loyalty program with more relevant offers and experiences, which drives additional revenues and converts more customers to the CSP.
Adam de Linde, User Experience Director, Orange, highlights the importance of the platform-based model, saying, “It is an opportunity for partners to collaborate and find combinations of services that work well. That might be something they work out in terms of their own marketing objectives, or the AI deduces algorithmically that some things will work well together. The platform aspect means that everyone gets the benefits of scale as the thing grows, including the consumers who benefit from services better suited to their lifestyles and behaviors.”
A winning solution for partners
One of the biggest challenges for the Catalyst team is simplifying the CSPs’ engagement with partners (big and small) throughout the lifecycle; right from onboarding the digital service to linking them to the gamified loyalty scheme, managing the complex matrix of relationships and B2B2X business models, and of course settlements.
Arnold Buddenberg, Enterprise Business & IT Digital Transformation Architect at Orange Group, explains, “As part of the onboarding process, the partner chooses and enables which events would be mapped to the customer who is earning points, so the onboarding process for partners needs to be sufficiently flexible, as well as quick and simple, to deal with a range of events and definitions and conditions.”
Also, the digital partner ecosystem must be dynamic to meet consumers’ constantly evolving needs and preferences, which is hard to do when so many players are involved, from digital service providers, to hardware firms, event owners, campaign managers and others.
Buddenberg adds,“Every partner, depending on what their app is, and what their services are, needs a different kind of schema; you can never have one that suits all.” There are many possible variations of business models and agreements between CSPs and their partners encompassing things like data sharing and revenue sharing.
The Ready Telco One team is addressing this multi-party challenge using TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA) framework, which is a blueprint for loosely coupling components of an ecosystem so that functional blocks interact with each other in a plug and play kind of way, using the Forum’s Open APIs.
Ready Telco One is aligned with the Forum’s Customer Experience program and its findings will identify and define processes that are missing from the Forum’s Business Process Framework (eTOM), used by CSPs the world over. The missing processes include those necessary to manage customer journeys and the use of gamification to improve customer experience.
The Catalyst is also aligned with the Forum’s AI and Data Analytics workstream and will contribute to defining how AI can be used to dynamically design personalized customer journeys in a broad digital ecosystem.
The Ready Telco One Catalyst will be presented live as part of the DTW Digital Showcase on July 16th at 2.45pm CET. You can register here to attend. Watch the video below for more insight into the Catalyst.