IBM Smarter Commerce Order Management for Communications
These are some of the questions a CSP should ask itself when determining whether or not they have the truly intelligent multi-channel order management capabilities they are going to need to accommodate the new demands of the empowered consumer.
Can your customers order in one channel and pick up or return through a different channel?
Do you have visibility into your entire inventory of handsets, accessories or consumer premises equipment, regardless of it’s location?
Does your organization have the ability to rapidly adopt new solutions regardless of where or by whom they are fulfilled?
Can you easily provide a single source for all order status updates and fulfillment progress across all components sold in a customer order, even if they are fulfilled from different solutions?
Can your order management system dynamically change it’s processing behavior based upon real-time learning of it’s surrounding environment?
Do you have the ability to take insight from the ordering system to better understand in real-time how your solution is performing?
While order management systems don’t directly face the customer and offer no direct interaction to customers they have an enormous impact on the overall quality of experience that a customer has with a CSP.The CSP who is capable of solving these issues is primed to begin transforming their antagonistic customers into advocates, who will churn less (20% less in year 1-2), stay longer (20% more than 5 years) and spend more (12% more in services).
Almost 30% of the world is online today and there are over 5 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. Consumers are empowered and mobile and have all their research at their fingertips – they no longer trust the CSP but instead trust their friends on social networks – the ‘like’ status on Facebook from a friend carries the same weight to consumers today as 100 positive reviews from strangers.At the same time customer advocacy in the telecommunications market is low – significantly lower worldwide than other industries such as retail, etc. Certainly CSPs have a more complicated and enduring experience with their customer for each sales cycle but the value of advocacy remains the same.Advocates are 20% less likely to churn in the first 2 years, 20% more likely to stay 5 years or longer and most importantly, advocates allocate 12% more of their wallet-share spend with their CSP than antagonists do.Source:IBM 2011 CMO Study Results for Communications
Left Side Column:CSPs know the benefit of adapting to newer and more complex business models at an ever-increasing pace. As for time to market…Right Side Column:Unfortunately, as focused as service providers appear to be, over the last three years most have gotten worse, not better…70% of companies now say time-to-market is very important – up from 59% in 200868% of service providers cited speed of new product creation as a key business differentiator95% stated that fast time to market has a positive impact on revenue95% reported time to market as impacting brand image and 91% said it helps achieve customer loyaltyIn fact, the number of service providers able to bring a product to market within six months has actually fallen:In 2008, 67% of service providers said it took six months or less to bring a new product to marketIn 2011, it’s down to 65%So while service providers believe that quickly introducing new services has a positive impact on customer churn/loyalty, revenue generation, customer experience and brand reputation, most haven’t been able to meet their target.As many as one in three service providers failed to achieve their target of delivering new services within six months over the last three years. The majority of service providers would like to be able to introduce new services in less than three months, but for most of them it takes between three to six months.Over the same three years most have seen their costs go up (50%) or stay the same (29%) but some (21%) have seen their costs go down significantly, an average of 20% reduction. Why?81% cited improved project management and control76% said it was a result of improving organizational alignment65% reported business and operational support systems integration70% of service providers cited the need to modernize their operational environment in order to bring products to market faster.However, the reality is that many service providers are still being held back by a silo’ed, legacy infrastructure that denies them the speed and agility needed to ensure constant updating of the services and applications they offer to customers.And the new market dynamics are making life even more challenging. 45% of service providers reported that the increasing demand for support of third-party services, such as app stores or IPTV and additional connected devices, has increased time to market.
CSPs have a decision to make – do I become the commodity broker of data moving between two points in space or do I take the next step to evolve to a higher place of value in the mindset of the consumer, providing capabilities and services as well? Some providers, like Free in France are doing the former, focusing on a single solution and providing it at a cost that cannot be met by the competition. Others are expanding their services into near-neighbor opportunities like the connected home.1) Austria’s largest mobile operator, Mobilkom, began enabling subscribers to buy SMS-based transit tickets with their mobile phones in 1999, and in 2002 formed its own bank. The telco also enables small payments, such as parking fares and snacks from vending machines. Most purchases show up on monthly phone bills. Japan’s largest mobile operator, NTT DoCoMo, goes further, having launched its own credit brand, iD, in late 2005 and credit service, DCMX, the following year. Subscribers can charge up to 10,000 yen (US$114) per month and have the amount added to their monthly phone bills. Rogers Communications in 2011 filed for approval to become a bank for nearfield communications and walletpayment solutions.2) Verizonannounces Home Energy and Monitoring Control System whichprovides home alarm and energy monitoring throughpartner 4Home3)AT&T introduces Digital Life Services whichremotely monitors lighting, cameras, thermostats, motion detectors, etc.Rogers: http://gigaom.com/2011/09/06/dreams-of-mobile-payments-lead-telco-to-try-banking/Verizon: http://www.zdnet.com/blog/green/verizon-flips-switch-on-home-energy-management-service/19127ATT: http://www.att.com/gen/press-room?pid=22463&cdvn=news&newsarticleid=33941
These are some of the questions a CSP should ask itself when determining whether or not they have the truly intelligent multi-channel order management capabilities they are going to need to accommodate the new demands of the empowered consumer.Can your customers order in one channel and pick up or return through a different channel?Do you have visibility into your entire inventory of handsets, accessories or consumer premises equipment, regardless of it’s location?Does your organization have the ability to rapidly adopt new solutions regardless of where or by whom they are fulfilled?Can you easily provide a single source for all order status updates and fulfillment progress across all components sold in a customer order, even if they are fulfilled from different solutions?Can your order management system dynamically change it’s processing behavior based upon real-time learning of it’s surrounding environment?Do you have the ability to take insight from the ordering system to better understand in real-time how your solution is performing?
At IBM the capabilities required to managed multi-channel orders from disparate fulfillment services falls under the Service category within the Smarter Commerce philosophy.You will see here the addition of something called the Telecom Pack to the IBM Sterling Order Management solution.The IBM Sterling Order Management solution is a document state engine that is built on a very flexible and extensible foundation with over 800 APIs out of the box to support all aspects of inventory, ordering, sourcing and fulfillment. However, the solution is horizontal across a large number of industry verticals and as such needs additional capability to support the nuances of each industry.That’s where Telecom Pack comes in. Telecom Pack is a set of pre-built services that work with the IBM Websphere/Lombardi BPM application specifically designed to work within the telecommunications industry. It acts as a transportation and translation layer for the IBM Sterling platform allowing it to communicate to other communications applications in industry standards based ways such as support for the Telemanagement Forum SID for data model and it also provides hundreds of pre-built calls and interfaces to prominent communications billing and network activation software packages.Together, IBM Sterling Order Management and Telecom Pack deliver a TMForum compliant solution for intelligent order management.On the next slide we learn a bit about a concept called the order hub.
IBM Sterling Order Management provides robust cross-channel functionality that can intelligently broker orders across many disparate systems, provide a global view of all inventory across the supply chain, and help you make changes to business processes based on changing market conditions.Orchestrate order fulfillment across the extended enterprise with intelligent sourcingGain a single unified view of all supply and demandProactively detect fulfillment issues across the entire supply chainOptimize inventory utilization and reduce operational costs by intelligently sourcing and scheduling ordersIncrease customer satisfaction by providing real-time order visibility through a central order repositoryImprove order fill rates and cycle time through automated and customized fulfillment processesIBM Telecom Pack gives Order Management communications industry specific capabilities such as Telemanagement Forum SID standard data model compliance along with pre-built eTOM compliant service calls for billing, inventory, activations and more to many industry leading communications software solutions.
Traditionally communications order management (OM) solutions have been developed either internally or by vendors with a network engineering focus – this has given rise to very robust network facing service management but very weak customer product level management and flexibility. It has also traditionally caused multiple fulfillment and ordering systems to be developed – either by channel or more likely by product line.So a mature market triple or quad play vendor is going to most likely have several OM solutions they are trying to cobble together on the front end to manage the appearance of a single point of entry for order taking and management to their customers while on the back end routing components of the order to multiple fulfillment systems.In order to address this problem vendors and CSPs have traditionally built two levels of ordering – one continuing to focus on the network elements – the second now focused on the new empowered customer who doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by having to place multiple orders in multiple systems – they don’t care what kind of fulfillment issues the CSP faces.While having two distinct order management layers can add flexibility to the process, the problems trying to manage all these multiple systems with multiple catalogs and multiple interfaces and multiple UIs far outweighs any benefits gained. The time to market is too slow and the internal costs to the business for change are almost always astronomically high.By moving to a modern order hub platform that focuses on managing from the empowered customers point of view, the CSP can deploy a solution capable of reacting at market speed to the requirements of the business and at the same time leverage and use those older legacy siloed fulfillment stacks that still have value but are not capable of working across product/fulfillment lines.
This is a simplified view of a single branch of a customer order for communications and only decomposes three levels but it works to help explain how communications orders are decomposed and processed.The advanced branching and re-cursive decomposition complexities of the sub-levels of customer-facing services in many cases present challenges. The complexities presented and the skillsets required to solve those issues in highly complex environments we believe are best handled by a combination of workflow and catalog-aware order constraints that understand, when needed, how to explode the BoM (bill of materials) for a given Customer Order or CFS into it’s proper subcomponents for further routing by the order management solution.The ability to maintain a rolled up status at the 1st level where most customer and call-center representative systems interface is critical to maintain a quality user experience for the customer. Understanding and knowing at any time what the status is of their order and where it is in the processing cycle is vitally important.The customer order enters a ‘pipeline’ based upon any attribute of the order document – channel, location, order contents, time, etc. and the pipeline allows for interaction and progress until such point as the order objects need to be decomposed for further fulfillment. This is where a lookup, either static or dynamic, can occur so the OM system understands which components to explode the customer order into.This process continues throughout the order and all it’s branches until the order is completely decomposed to physical fulfillment or resource facing services.The second level depicted here shows where a business support resource or order handling resource might interact with the system, receiving alerts, working assignment queues, reprocessing orders or perhaps adding additional information necessary for processing.The third level depicted here is the first level where resource-facing services are encountered and also where the Telecom Pack is integrated with OM to perform specific directed network activities such as turning up a port or assigning a rack ID number. This is the level in which interaction with network level engineers might occur when issues arise.
1)Any Cross-Channel DemandExtensive multi-enterprise capabilities along with open API and integration architecture allowing orders captured in any channel inside or outside the organization. Example: A reseller might only be able to see certain inventory views or have limited user roles.2) Event and Alert ManagementEvent management and alerting frameworks allow for notification directly to customers in real time. Example: Customer receives via e-mail any updates or changes to their order processing status.3) Supplemental OrdersMultiple orders of any type can be created that maintain a lasting relationship and, if necessary, dependency on the parent order. Orders can be nested to any level desired. Example: Customer adds an accessory or additional service item when picking up their order.4) Reverse LogisticsReturns are a fact of life for the multi-channel retailer. The ability to accept and disposition returns to any channel is critical for the customer experience. All returns are connected back to the original order for full lifecycle visibility. Example: Customer contacts CSP through Twitter where they receive an RMA and a free shipping label to return an item.5)Inventory ManagementInventory levels, inter-company shipments and disposition processes are available and managed inside or outside the four walls of the CSP. Example: Return items can be managed by a 3rd party fulfillment company on the CSPs behalf.
As traditional communications services continue to become commoditized CSPs must be able to integrate new sources of revenue from near-neighbor industries with low time-to-market attributes in order to differentiate their offerings1)Global Inventory Visibility for Supply Chain InsightInventory and capacity levels, inter-company shipments and advanced sourcing are available and managed inside or outside the four walls of the CSP. 2) Service Definition Framework with Telecom Pack for Rapid Partner IngressScalable and flexible integration platform and over 800 order-related APIs and hundreds of TM Forum compliant service calls provides the foundation for flexible and re-useable integration capabilities.3) Multi-Enterprise Support for Partners, Resellers and Third-Party Fulfillment ProvidersNative support for multiple enterprises within a single platform segmented by region, role, organization, etc. providing a personalized and definable view of the global supply chain by partners, resellers and suppliers4) Embedded Data-Mart for Intelligent InsightAnalytics and the resulting intelligence on key performance indicators for CSPs and their partners via dashboards and dynamic order process changes allows real-time monitoring, analysis and correction of the entire order lifecycle.
Case study for marketing solution
Case study for marketing solution
The IBM Smarter Commerce solution for cross-channel order management in the communications space is a loosely-coupled but tightly-integrated set of best-of-breed applications linked together by the world’s largest software vendor.
In fact, the old arguments of whether to choose best of breed to get cutting edge technology or stick with a single vendor to have less interfacing and management to do is becoming moot with the IBM Smarter Commerce solutions.Telecommunications providers can no longer afford to invest hundreds of millions of dollars every 5-7 years to rip-and-replace their entire ordering platforms. Instead they need flexible, modular capability solutions that will continue to work with their existing legacy investments.
IBM offers highly experienced and skilled consultants to it’s customers from time to time to take advantage of our business value assessment capabilities to help our customers identify qualitatively and quantitatively what their true issues are and what kind of benefit they might see from addressing those issues.
IBM is the world’s largest software and services company and has a tremendous amount of experience in the telecommunications industry. We have worked with hundreds of CSPs over the years and all top 20 providers in the world have chosen to work with IBM in some manner.We have the solutions and the resources to help you solve your highest priority issues and concerns.
IBM Smarter Commerce Order Management for Communications