Today, we see digitization disrupting how ordinary people are consuming media. Whether it is music, T20 cricket matches or the Latest blockbuster, consumers are increasingly viewing these content on mobile devices. Digitization has collided with the worlds of telecoms, media and technology. Convergence is cool and is estimated to be a $1.6 trillion market. Driven by the comfort created by on-demand TV, music streaming and eBook services, customers now want the same experience from their old-school telecoms and banking service providers. In a bid to reach every customer through tablets, mobiles or laptops, the big service providers are reacting.
The reaction has been through Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A), the fastest way for businesses to show customers that they are not slow learners. The £12.5 billion purchase of mobile operator EE by telecoms giant BT has already created UK’s largest telecommunications provider, with European domination rising on the horizon. Over the coming months, BT will incorporate the mobile experience provided by EE, on top of its current offerings in broadband, television and landline—creating a quad-play offer and simplifying the lives of its customers and dramatically improving the options available to them.
Globally, alliances are being established horizontally across different industries to ensure that customers are kept comfortable. This is meant to create an end-to-end brand experience incorporating mobile, physical and online touch-points personalized for individual customers. Borrowing a successful case from the retail industry, Tesco pioneered this horizontal land-grab, with its Clubcard as the vehicle used for understanding customer behaviour and more importantly tailoring its offers based on this observed behaviour.
Convert big data to big value
There is a lot of room for improvement in the internal technology architecture before banks and telecoms companies can deliver true convergence for customers. Using the current situation with BT and EE, mergers and acquisition naturally present technical challenges to businesses as the application landscape exponentially becomes more complex as a result of two companies becoming one. The movement of vast amounts of data from one system to another is an issue and sometimes the ‘best looking’ data set is kept even though it may not have the most valuable information.
Even when internal IT systems are aligned, businesses should be ready for the new data created by their customers on a daily basis. In this connected world where over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated globally every day, all of this data created by consumers on social media, e-commerce and mobile payments provide mountains of information which businesses should use when defining core customer segments or when personalizing service delivery. In essence, businesses have more information about consumers and financial trends than ever before right at their fingertips.
To fully understand the market and deliver accurate customer offerings, businesses should utilize the data held in the silos by installing an overlay layer between their core applications and the customer facing applications.
To fully understand the market and deliver accurate customer offerings, businesses should utilize the data held in the silos by installing an overlay layer between their core applications and the customer facing applications. This middle layer helps with the delivery of converged, bespoke customer offers—by the definition of sub-segments of customers (even down to a segment of one) based on a number of factors: demographics, spending patterns, life style choices, etc.
Without a middle layer, product teams will have no insight into customer behaviour which Leads to poorly executed convergence strategies. Managing customer data will be a waste of time as siloed systems would still be impenetrable for IT teams. Another benefit in deploying an overlay layer would be separating the delivery of customer experience from back office operations, facilitating convergence happening at the front office, improved user experience level and protecting previous investments in IT.