Improving the customer experience – enabling IT organisations to become more competitive
In today’s global economy, characterised by technology commoditisation and consumerism, IT businesses are finding it tough to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Given how easy it is for consumers to buy IT solutions, it is no longer viable to compete on price or product. As such, IT organisations are looking at other ways to stand out in the market place.
Unique to every organisation, the customer experience is not easy to imitate and can be the difference between survival and success. As organisations resolve to become more customer-focused, it is undeniable that IT organisations must change their business models in order to respond to evolving customer needs. This requires an organisational mind shift in order to create the most important component necessary for competitive differentiation: customer-focused employees.
IT organisations, like all other organisations, are looking to improve profitability. This is not just about cutting costs – it is also about delivering a service that is worth paying for – a service that is adding value for the customer. IT organisations have to evolve into solution providers that combine products and services to address business challenges in real, effective ways.
To evolve requires more than just provision of products and services; rather, an IT organisation must cultivate a deep understanding of their customers’ business. The only way to add value is to understand how the customer uses the solution, which requires an IT organisation to appreciate how it makes the customer’s business more efficient, how it cuts cost or how it reduces risks.
If they comprehend this, then it becomes possible to offer customers something that makes a tangible difference. When this is achieved, a customer will be willing to pay for service, instead of expecting service to come bundled with product.
Service worth paying for requires having the right staff on board. Previously, when hiring, organisations looked for good specialist skills and experience in implementing the products and solutions at a technical level. This is no longer enough. Organisations now need people who are also able to think and understand at a business level; IT service professionals can no longer work at a bits-and-bytes level only.
In modern IT organisations, the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) plays an important role in this change. The CTO’s role is becoming more strategic from a business perspective. It is up to him to appreciate and communicate how the IT organisation adds value at a business-level as well as at a technical level.
The CTO needs to be a driving force behind creating a team that is customer facing and customer serving. This team needs to rub shoulders with customers and be visible in their service provisioning. Therefore, when IT organisations appoint sales or sales support people they must consider individuals with a well-rounded portfolio of technical knowledge and experience as well as a high level of business understanding. These individuals ensure that the organisation deliver solutions and services that are value adding in both business and technical terms.
However, with the ongoing skills shortages in the IT market and slow economic growth, attracting and retaining top talent in this country is easier said than done. To get the best mix of new fresh thinking and the wisdom that comes from experience, it is necessary to hire a mixture of junior and seasoned staff – as young, dynamic and well-trained staff need to be strengthened by established professionals with the skills to guide, mentor and develop the new talent.
Regardless of recruitment policy, retention is tricky and IT organisations must find a way to re-invent their organisational culture and create an attractive environment. This typically involves a combination of market-related salaries, flexible working conditions and encouragement of team spirit with the ability to maintain motivation and interest through challenging environments, on-going training and the prospect of growth in a customer-facing career.
Today’s IT service professionals must have a wide knowledge of the various spaces they play in, they need to understand the best technologies and how these differ from other competing technologies. Even if an organisation does not provide a specific IT solution or product brand, it is still necessary to have an understanding of it, as business today is all about interoperability. It depends on understanding how different aspects of each service or product solve that customer’s business problems.
By providing customer service that results in little effort on the part of the customer, service professionals can do a lot to ensure customer loyalty, which is the true calling card of competitiveness.
By Paul Fick, Chief Technology Officer, The Jasco Group
NetNumber: Time for a cloud-native transformation
NetNumber is accelerating the transition in the telecom industry to 5G as it starts a shift to cloud-native architecture to address the fast-paced demands of global subscribers and businesses.
NetNumber is offering the industry’s first cloud-native platform designed to ensure InterGENerational™ network performance addresses both the legacy and next-generation requirements of telecom networks.
“NetNumber has developed the industry’s most robust cloud-native, InterGENerational platform that addresses both the legacy and 5G requirements of telcos,” said Matt Rosenberg, Chief Revenue Officer of NetNumber.
The platform provides vertical and horizontal scale-out with low latency, coupled with a suite of data replication capabilities, which provide flexible architectural options that can evolve with the changing network over time.
“Cloud-based solutions from other vendors tend to be limited in terms of supporting particular network generations or protocols. We’ve created our latest platform TITAN.IUM to allow customers to take any generation of applications, any generation of legacy services and protocols and move them into the new world of cloud-native architecture,” said Rosenberg.
“This is a really important part for a carrier to harmonise their network, bring data services together, bring legacy with new together in order to make a more effective and efficient network, as well as reduce their cost as they scale forward,” he said.
Established in 1999, NetNumber has fostered a strong team environment that leverages the industry’s best skills to offer software solutions tailored for carriers of all dimensions. Based outside of Boston and with presence in over 20 countries, the company delivers a range of products that address all generations (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) of network functions in the core network, deep rooted security products and services, STIR/ SHAKEN and set of options around data services in more than 90 countries.
Steeped in experience in building telecom solutions, software, protocol stacks, and integration of third party tools, the company’s development organisation has proven to supply to the industry with the most reliable and flexible solutions on the market.
“At NetNumber, we focus on our core competencies – we are dedicated to providing industry expertise in signaling, routing, security, subscriber management and data services. We provide customers a strong ROI through platform-based solutions that reduce Capex and Opex in the long-term,” commented Rosenberg.
Five reasons why customers choose NetNumber:
- Expertise - NetNumber has experts with deep knowledge in signaling/routing, security, and subscriber database management.
- Integration - An industry-first platform brings together domain services, applications, security, and global data services.
- Scale - NetNumber has the ability to seamlessly increase network efficiency using vertical and horizontal scaling.
- Speed - World-class solutions have the power to help companies create new service offerings and accelerate time to ROI.
- Savings - Customers enjoy significant savings in capex and opex, flexible deployment models, and investment protection.
NetNumber and Virgin Mobile MEA
“We're very proud of our partnership with Virgin Mobile MEA as they've taken the concept of the InterGENerational platform into their regional network strategy,” commented Rosenberg. “That’s accelerated how they develop exceptional services across the Middle East and Africa region.
“We work with them hand-in-hand to deliver multiple applications onto our platform which has enabled them to provide exceptional, advanced and innovative services to their customers across the Middle East, who demand high quality services.
“What they've really taken advantage of is scale. What I mean by that is they are putting multiple generations of applications and services onto the same platform and distributing that data across their network. That has resulted in an advantageous position of time to market and operational savings.
“Rather than having different applications for many different vendors that cause operational chaos, they've been able to consolidate that and reduce their operating costs by having everything on one common architecture. We’ve had a long-term relationship with Virgin Mobile in Saudi Arabia, and recently signed an agreement with Virgin Mobile in Kuwait.”
Rosenberg says that with these solutions, Virgin Mobile MEA can take advantage of getting to the market much quicker and faster—which is what today’s discerning customer demands.