The cynics were out in London last week, for Informa’s Next Generation BSS Summit. A bunch of grumpy old men, sitting in the back row, tapping away on their computers and muttering “how long have we been discussing real-time?” and “real-time self service? Perchah! Pipe dream, I tell you.”
BillingViews had been given the chance to talk to Joonas Merenheimo of Northstream about some research they had conducted for AsiaInfo Linkage. The objective was to quantify the benefits of implementing real-time self service. The results were remarkable for two reasons.
First, although operators are still building business cases on call centre cost reductions – which are significant – they designed a business benefits model that worked out the potential revenue gains from such implementations. The results were impressive. But the cynics needed to know that the industry was in agreement before getting excited about the topic.
It turns out that the industry is in agreement.
Real-time self service is a significant issue, right now. It allows operators to manage customers better, by, oddly, letting them manage their own destiny. It allows customers to feel they are in charge of their own destiny which makes the relationship better and the customer experience better. Operators and vendors alike were convinced.
Northstream believes that in one year European operators would be better off to the tune of €4.7 billion. What is extraordinary is that the cost savings element of this gain is a mere €541 million, leaving additional revenues from both post paid and prepaid accounts at over €4 billion. One example that the report cites is Sweden, in context quite similar to the U.S. Here is AsiaInfo’s analysis:
Northstream supposes that the simultaneous discontinuation of unlimited plans and the introduction of shared (limited) plans could be an opportunity for operators to monetize data services. As proven in North America (which has a similar context to Sweden), RTSS is fundamental to the success of shared data plans: the ability to control and monitor subscriptions independently, in real-time, is critical when multiple devices are sharing the same quota.
The conclusion is clearly that real-time self service saves money and increases revenue. Significantly. The ability to simply and easily transfer balances and application bundles within groups is a major step forward.
There is, of course, a whole separate issue around the discontinuation of unlimited plans, which we will look at later in the week. The obvious comment is that how you manage their retirement is a critical issue.
Secondly, the potential of such a model as Northstream’s Business Benefits Model is enormous. Historically, operators have built business cases on cost savings not on potential revenue gains. The reason, not surprisingly, is that calculating potential gains is basically a guessing game.
Northstream’s White Paper can be downloaded here.
AsiaInfo’s analysis can be downloaded here.