Consistent and Controlled Publishing Accelerates Business Operations
By Lejla Pljevljak-Rasidagic, VP Product Management, ZIRA
With the increasing amount of digital products and services available to customers, providing the opportunity to purchase many through one communication service provider (CSP) makes things easier for customers to manage their accounts, billing, etc. From the service provider’s perspective this gives them an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with their customer and grow revenue over time. It also helps with customer churn, as customers will be less likely to leave than if they are just getting one service from a provider.
With the focus on customer experience to differentiate from the competition that is top of mind for telco operators, they want to ensure there is a consistent journey across all the different ways customers can buy traditional or digital services offered by the CSPs and their partners / third parties. Otherwise it will just seem like they are buying different services from different providers anyway. So the goal of the service provider is to create a consistent seamless shopping journey while being able to add new services quickly and easily.
Being able to bundle and offer new digital services like smart home energy monitoring and management along with traditional services like broadband in a seamless way is a challenge with the size and complexity of multiple product catalogs and the legacy systems in place. Many operators start with trying to simplify the current product catalogs by reducing duplication and getting rid of outdated services.
But this type of simplification is not simple at all! It is a very complex process in itself and can take a lot of time and effort to do across the organization. While this can potentially save operating costs with improved efficiency, it can also mean a decrease in revenue from services that are sunset. This doesn’t solve the overall problem anyway of offering new services quickly and easily nor does it get rid of the data inconsistencies and duplication over multiple product catalogs.
The point is that flexibility and personalization are needed while keeping costs in mind, so providers don’t want to have to start over with all new product catalogs, systems and process. One of the best solutions is to keep the existing catalogs in place and add the ability to ‘safely propagate’ the information between all the catalogs in the landscape.
To do this the service provider needs to evolve catalog publishing by:
- updating the product design guidelines,
- adding in best practices for process and work flow, and
- implementing new tools and techniques that can support consistent information flows between catalogs.
Enabling the consistent and controlled publishing of product catalog data across all systems allows for them to be available in sales channels and other systems with a consolidated view. This means more efficient and effective operations and faster time to market for new services.
Here are three key points to help with adding effective catalog publishing capabilities that will provide consistent and controlled publishing and improve operations:
- Plug n play catalog publishing into the overall digital framework – Incorporate the multiple catalogs with a standard interface to add the publishing capability to the overall digital ecosystem. Reuse and repurpose existing systems to reduce costs and speed in implementation by adjusting the processes and workflow and adding new tools where necessary.
- Unlock the potential of existing product catalogs with 100% reusability – Reusability, modularity, componentization and flexibility must all be designed in the systems and process to receive the full benefit of the consistent information flow. Ensure there is the ability to add, bundle and sell any combination of services and roll-out offerings across different systems and vendors seamlessly.
- Hide backend complexity from the customer – The process and workflow design should emphasize quick and efficient. Ensure there is ability for simple flawless transactions without the customer being exposed to backend complexity. Make it easy for customers to see the value and consolidate services with one provider.
Read this case study on BH Telecom and how as part of ZIRA’s full Omnichannel solution they implemented ZIRA Product Catalog and supported complex and bundled offerings composed of products delivered through different technologies (voice, data, IP, IPTV, etc.), enabled a single consolidated product and service master and enabled product attribute management for faster time-to-market (delivering a new offer in a less than 4 hours vs few weeks) and flexibility to provide new and existing services via any available sales channel.