Nokia: New Autonomous Customer Care Solution Offers Digital Care Breakthroughs, but are Interactive Bots Ready for Prime Time?

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia debuted its Nokia Autonomous Customer Care solution at its Nokia Analyst Day before the TM Forum Live! show, leveraging machine learning-powered interactive care bots to predict and resolve residential service concerns.
  • Nokia faces near-term support challenges as operators align their operations to take advantage of consumer intelligent assistants to improve customer care.

At the Nokia Analyst Day preceding the TM Forum Live! show, Nokia unveiled its Nokia Autonomous Customer Care solution, aimed at increasing the intelligence of operator digital care and creating new revenue streams. The solution offers interactive care bots, such as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and Google Messenger, using natural language processing (NLP) and Nokia Bell Labs machine learning algorithms to predict and resolve service-degrading issues more efficiently. However, Nokia confronts near-term operator support challenges in scaling autonomous care.   Read more of this post

Amdocs’ Acquisition of Brite:Bill – A Six-Month Checkup

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • After acquiring Brite:Bill, Pontis, and Vindicia in September 2016, Amdocs elected to operate the three digital specialists as independent concerns. After six months, the decision has paid dividends in Brite:Bill’s case with Comcast selecting Brite:Bill for consumer billing presentment applications and Brite:Bill internally developing automatic monitoring and proactive billing resolution innovations.
  • Amdocs faces portfolio development challenges operating Brite:Bill as an independent entity, including leveraging Brite:Bill innovation into its CES platform and driving Brite:Bill solutions to capitalize upon expanding corporate billing and prepaid billing presentment market opportunities.

After completing the acquisition of Brite:Bill, Pontis, and Vindicia in September 2016, Amdocs elected to keep the three companies as standalone entities. The standalone approach offers competitive benefits such as reducing integration overhead costs and lessening the potential for portfolio disruption. Brite:Bill is showing six months later why Amdocs’ decision to keep its operational independence is warranted. Fresh off winning Comcast’s consumer billing presentment business, Brite:Bill quickly capitalized on Amdocs’ business relations with a top-tier cable operator. Prior to the Amdocs acquisition, Brite:Bill consistently won top-tier operator billing presentment and communication deals, including Vodafone, Sprint, Rogers, and Virgin Media, competing frequently against service billing heavyweights such as Ericsson, IBM, and Amdocs itself. Little doubt this hard-won traction spurred Amdocs’ decision to acquire the company. New Brite:Bill 5.0 portfolio capabilities, such as automatic monitoring of charges liable for dispute and proactive resolution of problematic billing charges that reduce customer loyalty, validate Brite:Bill’s innovation acumen and reputation. However, Amdocs’ progress in leveraging Brite:Bill software innovations into its own portfolio remains unclear and brings to light the concerns attached to the standalone approach. Read more of this post

ZTE Delivers ‘POWER’ to Digital Transformation Initiatives, but Will Operators See the Light?

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• ZTESoft hyped its POWER strategy at MWC17, combining Platform, Omni-channel, Vertical Industry + Value, Experience and Real-time platform capabilities, aimed at operator digital transformation.

• ZTESoft confronts marketing challenges as the POWER label mimics the Huawei’s ROADS framework, confuses the market, and needs policy control and partner enablement validation.

At MWC17, ZTESoft roll out its POWER strategy targeted at operator digital transformation. The POWER acronym takes into account six key elements ZTESoft identified as required for executing operator digital transformation: Platform, Omni-channel, Vertical Industry + Value, Experience, Real-time. ZTESoft showcased its cloud-based ZSmart 9 BSS, ZSmart Digital CRM, ZSmart cvBS convergent billing platform, and ZSmart AnyShare XaaS offerings to demonstrate the POWER strategy’s broad applicability to meeting operator digital demands. However the POWER brand and marketing exercise harbors pitfalls for ZTESoft’s digital transformation global outreach.

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The New Edge Computing Consortium: Ready for the Digital Prime Time?

Ron Westfall - Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• In November 2016, Huawei co-launched the Edge Computing Consortium (ECC) to advance industry-wide openness and collaboration in digital transformation environments.

• However the ECC initiative must expand its membership, increase geographical diversity, clarify its OT and ICT convergence goals, and further differentiate from existing standards initiatives to move the digital ecosystem needle.

In November, Huawei launched the Edge Computing Consortium (ECC) in coordination with the Shenyang Institute of Automation of Chinese Academy of Sciences, the China Academy of Information and Communications Technology (CAICT), Intel, ARM, and iSoftStone. The primary goal of the ECC is to develop a cooperative platform to advance openness and collaboration in the operational technology (OT) and information and communications technology (ICT) industries to stimulate adoption of digital transformation best practices. The ECC views OT, ICT, and operator communications input collaboration as essential in using digital transformation to drive a new phase of industrial restructuring. This restructuring entails automation of industrial processes and increasingly customized and personalized digital services and products. The lifecycle management of digital service operations and edge computing resources sets the groundwork for digital innovation, unleashing new value chains and supply chain efficiencies for ecosystem members. Read more of this post

Comptel and Apttus Advance the Salesforce Communications Industry Framework to Drive Operator Engagement Models

Ron Westfall - Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

• Comptel and Apttus recently debuted a joint solution built on the Salesforce Communications Industry Framework (SCIF). The solution targets operators adopting cloud-based business-to-consumer (B2C) platforms to meet their emerging digital engagement demands.

• The Comptel/Apttus partnership indicates that SCIF, originally introduced in May, is building the supporting ecosystem it needs to produce innovative cloud-oriented solutions. However, the framework needs to add security and assurance specialists to spur wider operator consideration and adoption.

In October 2016, Comptel and Apttus unveiled a joint B2C solution developed on the new SCIF. The cloud-based framework is designed to help operators improve the customer engagement experience across all their channels by integrating Salesforce into existing operator environments, streamlining the transfer of data between business and consumer applications and between operator OSS and BSS processes.

The Comptel/Apttus solution meets emerging operator B2C application demands such as self-service configuration; real-time network usage tracking; and catalog-to-order flow, orchestration and fulfillment. What competitive advantages can Salesforce, Comptel and Apttus look to generate from their collaboration?

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TEOCO: Can Its New 5G ASSET Design Tool Ready Operators for 5G Buildouts?

Ron Westfall - Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • TEOCO recently unveiled its 5G ASSET Design tool solution aimed at driving operator network modelling of 5G deployment scenarios and elevating operator consideration of its overall portfolio for 5G network builds.
  • The 5G ASSET Design tool counters existing OSS/BSS solutions that include 5G network design and planning tools, creating a time-to-market shortfall for TEOCO. Moreover, the new tool does not paper over TEOCO’s portfolio gaps in driving overall 5G network buildouts.

In September, TEOCO unveiled its new 5G ASSET Design tool solution. The solution addresses the following 5G network design priorities:

– Ensuring smooth transitions from existing 4G network performance optimization planning to the early-stage design of 5G networks;
– Planning 5G networks to ensure the automation of traffic offload processes and maximize revenue capture opportunities; and
– Generating 5G network designs that account for the expected effect of 5G frequency bands in relation to network site and cell densities. Read more of this post

Telefónica’s End-to-End Digitalization: How Can Suppliers Capitalize on Operator Digital Strategies?

Ron Westfall - Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • In September, Telefónica Global CIO Phil Jordan outlined Telefónica’s end-to-end digitalization strategy that focuses on both how it interacts with customers and how it can make internal operations more efficient. The strategy requires digitalization in the front that spans the customer-facing omni-channel spectrum; and digitalization in the back that fundamentally streamlines its organization and operational processes.
  • The Telefónica approach provides a strong checklist of digital transformation demands that OSS/BSS suppliers must meet in order to deepen their operator relationships. Without an end-to-end digital platform offering, OSS/BSS suppliers risk becoming sidelined in operator digital transformation journeys.

At the Amdocs Digital Executive Summit during the 2016 CTIA Super Mobility show, Telefónica Global CIO Phil Jordan provided a view of Telefónica’s end-to-end (E2E) digitalization strategy and vision. Telefónica recognizes that the emerging competitive pressures within the digital services landscape require operators to transform their business models and operations; in other words, ‘do or die.’ For Telefónica, these competitive pressures include growing competition from Google Fiber; satellite TV provider Sky, which plans to offer mobile service in the UK later in 2016 (ironically on Telefónica’s O2 network); other new MVNOs such as Dixons Carphone; OTT substitutes including public WiFi, Skype, and Facebook Messenger; and the evolving digital strategies of traditional telco rivals. This trend has compelled Telefónica to adapt its operational and business processes in order to scale and keep pace with the demand curve of digital customers. Read more of this post