Openet, the most innovative provider of Subscriber Optimization Software (SOS) to tier one communications and media service providers, today announces the results of a global survey on the importance of personalization for operators conducted by UK analyst firm Telesperience. The firm spoke to product management, marketing and IT staff from operators worldwide. The result is a unique and illuminating snapshot of the budgetary and operational challenges behind enabling personalization to meet corporate goals and remain competitive. Currently, a minority of operators are capable of rolling out personalized offers, pricing plans and bundles, but that number is set to jump in the next two years with personalized customer support as the most important driver of future business.
While personalization may seem like a straightforward concept, the study reveals and deconstructs multiple types of engagement, clarifying which are regarded as most important. The report also highlights the main adoption barriers and benefits for personalization strategies, revealing how far along operators are in executing their plans and identifying the chasm between key stakeholders regarding perception and priorities. Surprisingly, product managers/marketers and IT staff agree that IT limitations and budgets are the main barrier to true, ongoing personalization.
Sixty percent of product managers and marketers reported that organizational obstacles hold them back from implementing personalization strategies. Additionally, 90 percent said that making changes to existing pricing plans and offers is not easy. This challenge is often due to legacy IT infrastructure’s inability to support change. The result is a difficulty in supporting personalization approaches by treating personalization as an ongoing, dynamic process.
This setback can be especially detrimental considering that operators leading in their personalization initiatives are reaping the benefits of their own innovation. These forward-looking operators are tackling more sophisticated market challenges, while less innovative operators wrestle with more baseline issues. For example, 80 percent of operators labeled as “innovative” with regard to adopting personalization strategies are focused on customer service channels, versus 50 percent of operators classified as “trailers.” Additionally, 70 percent of innovators said they can deliver innovative pricing options, compared to 30 percent of trailers.
IT staff revealed that personalization efforts are often undeliverable using existing systems, which contrasts with the belief of product managers and marketers that, while not easy, personalization can be enabled. IT staff also reported that software budgets constrain efforts to support personalization, a view reinforced by surveyed product managers and marketers.
Telesperience’s stance is that operators expecting initiatives to be funded out of savings are at risk of falling behind those that have committed to the necessary software investments. According to the report, the former strategy could have serious competitive consequences.
“Although many operators report being able to support personalized plans, today it is actually more properly mass customization, because it is not dynamic, agile, reliable and low cost,” said Teresa Cottam, research and publications director at Telesperience. “They are not using customer data to personalize the offer, so they’re still stuck in the rut of niche marketing and are not harnessing the true commercial potential that personalization offers.”
Additional key survey findings:
• 63 percent of IT staff said siloed systems are the biggest barrier to supporting personalization;
• Product managers and marketers rated organizational divisions as their key barrier, although constraints in the software budget was rated second;
• Operators rated personalized customer support as the most important form of personalization to their future business. However, while six out of 10 product marketers thought they could deliver personalized customer support today, only three out of 10 IT staff concurred with this view.
“By not fully supporting personalization initiatives, operators risk seeing costs inflated elsewhere — and missing out on crucial new revenue streams,” said Michael Manzo, CMO of Openet. “The good news is that true personalization can easily be supported through relatively modest investments in garnering transparency into subscriber usage and preferences to build a singular, comprehensive profile that supports effective personalization.”
Openet (openet.com) is the most innovative provider of Subscriber Optimization Software (SOS) to tier one communications and media service providers. To succeed, today’s operators must know their subscribers, deploy innovative business models and control the allocation of network resources. Openet's offerings are engineered to attract subscribers and provide an optimal experience, minimize the cost to serve them and maximize revenue—making the most of every subscriber. With customers across the globe, Openet is meeting the needs of operators worldwide such as Vodafone, Orange, AT&T and Verizon.
Telesperience (telesperience.com) is a UK-based analyst firm that specializes in helping CSPs improve their operational efficiency, commercial agility and the customer experience they provide through better use of software and data.