To get ahead, telcos need to explore new business models and technologies that foster a deeper understanding of consumer behavior and drive engagement.
One service model that aligns with this initiative is customer management (otherwise known as customer value management or customer experience management, depending on what you’re trying to achieve with it), which has emerged as a critical enabler for telcos seeking to deliver more value to users while reducing churn and driving profitability. At its core, customer management software can enable telcos to quickly determine customer needs during real-time interactions and respond immediately with hyper-personalized offers.
While customer management has been around for several years—maybe even decades, depending on how you define it—the technology and applications involved in customer management are going through a major but necessary transformation driven by powerful new technologies.
How Customer Management is Evolving
Three key technologies driving change in the customer management world are cloud computing, the rise of microservices in software development, and the emergence of digital twins.
Let’s take a quick look at each one.
1. Cloud Computing
Telcos are becoming increasingly reliant on the public cloud as they look to improve operational stability and lower costs while leveraging cutting-edge tools and technologies. As such, more and more customer management-geared applications are transitioning to public cloud environments.
By migrating to the cloud and closer to customers, telcos are giving themselves the latency advantage. This, in turn, enables faster and more efficient processing and real-time, data-driven decisions. Add it all up, and the cloud is setting telcos up for success in the emerging 5G era through powerful customer management applications that trigger relevant offers in the moment.
Until recently, most telcos relied on monolithic architectures to support customer management applications. These applications were typically massive, fragile, expensive, and complex. They were also very difficult to maintain and iterate upon; adding a new feature could be a massive undertaking.
Fast-forward to today and telcos are largely shifting away from monolithic architectures and building applications with microservices architecture. In short, this involves deploying applications as coupled services instead of a single entity. Each feature — from search to chat to billing — is built as a standalone microservice.
As a result of this shift, customer management apps are becoming faster, more agile, and more secure. Telcos can now roll out new services rapidly based on the data they collect in their customer management systems and use them to connect with consumers and drive growth.
3. Digital twins
In order to send the perfect targeted offer to a customer, you need to do more than act quickly. If you want to upsell a service and drive revenue, you also have to make sure that the offer will be well-received. This is where digital twins are proving to be particularly useful.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, a digital twin is a collection of data representing an object, process, or entity. In this case, telcos are collecting data about consumers and developing digital twins, or intelligent models that can predict their behavior.
In an ideal deployment, a company could collect data from a customer and then use the information to test an offer before shipping it out to the individual. This information could go a long way toward determining whether a customer will accept an offer like a service upgrade or new product — or whether the agent should hold off before making a pitch.
Maximizing Your Customer Management Investment
Overhauling your customer analytics system is a lot like redesigning a car. Migrating to the cloud, embracing microservices, and using digital twins are a start. But to maximize performance and get the most out of your customer management applications, you have to take a close look at the underlying engine: your data platform.
There’s little point in going through the above-mentioned upgrades if your underlying data platform is unable to ingest and process the massive amount of data that’s required for real-time processing and analytics.
Simply put, traditional customer management applications running on RDBMS or NoSQL architectures are too slow to process real-time transactions. While they might be perfectly fine for companies that have the leisure of taking 10 minutes—or two minutes—to respond to customers with targeted offers, this speed renders them irrelevant in the emerging 5G era.
During a customer interaction today, telcos have to make the best possible offer within a maximum of 250 milliseconds. As a result, identification and decisioning need to occur within a mere 10 milliseconds from the time an opportunity presents itself.
How VoltDB Can Help
VoltDB is a powerful data platform that offers a high-velocity decisioning engine specifically designed for powering real-time applications. The database combines stream processing with the state-based consistency of an operational in-memory database, supported by decisioning intelligence. VoltDB is also ACID-compliant and cloud-native, providing maximum deployment flexibility.
The end result is a solution that can execute concurrent transactions at scale and modify the state of the database with SQL as opposed to an API.
Make no mistake about it: If you’re a telco that’s modernizing your customer management system, you need a solution like VoltDB as your core database. Relying on yesterday’s database models will almost certainly lead to performance issues down the line — making it that much harder for your organization to unlock the full promise of the 5G era.
For more information on the easiest way to modernize your customer management offerings and prepare for 5G, try VoltDB today.