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Infosys' Analytics as a BPO Service Addresses Service Provider Concerns
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Infosys' Analytics as a BPO Service Addresses Service Provider Concerns

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August 25, 2009
By Rajani Baburajan
TMCnet Contributor




Global economic crisis has put tremendous pressure on firms to reduce costs. Communications service providers are no exception. The need to extract maximum value out of existing network assets, plummeting ARPUs, high Opex and high Capex requirements necessitate CSPs to re-look their business and operational priorities, according to Infosys BPO.

Infosys BPO, with its wide spectrum of offerings and domain capabilities, have a lot to offer CSPs in this regard.  Infosys’ ‘Analytics as a BPO service’ addresses this issue by delivering quick and tangible return on investment against relatively minor investments on the part of CSPs.

Recently, Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC (News - Alert)) caught up with Gopal Devanahalli, VP and head, Communications, Media and Entertainment (CME), Infosys BPO, to discuss how the company helps address the CSP (News - Alert) pain points through analytics. Our exchange follows.

TMC: What are Infosys' key offerings for the telecom industry?  

Gopal Devanahalli: The Infosys Communication Service Providers (CSP) practice offers business solutions to global telecommunication players in the Wireline, Wireless and Cable (MSO) segments. Infosys believes that companies should relook into their operational priorities to win in a business world being fundamentally impacted by globalization, demographic, technology and regulatory drivers. Infosys is partnering global CSPs to effectively transform their legacy systems and processes and profitably launch new converged services. Infosys offers services in the areas of Business Consulting, Technology, Infrastructure Management and Business Process Outsourcing. This offers a unique advantage to our clients as we are able to offer added business value in our area of partnership with them by leveraging on Infosys group expertise in the other areas. 

In the Business Process Outsourcing space, Infosys has both enterprise solutions and CSP industry specific solutions. Our enterprise solutions encompass Finance & Accounting, Customer Service, HR, Knowledge/Legal Process outsourcing, Order Management and Sourcing & Procurement. We also have end to end platform offerings in HR, Procurement and Order Management areas. Our CSP specific offerings span all aspects of CSP operations and operations support across Fulfillment, Assurance and Billing. 

Our approach focuses on “Realized Value” delivered to our customers by bringing together operations predictability, CSP domain competence, benchmarks and transformation focus. 

TMC: What are the markets served by Infosys? Which one is more prospective? Why?  

GD: Our offerings cover the entire CSP market horizontally – residential, wholesale, enterprise and vertically – wireline, wireless and cable (MSO). 

Geography wise, we have traditionally focused more on the North America and UK markets. But we are now increasing our focus on rest of Europe, and Asia Pacific regions. In the last year we have also started targeting the Indian market. 

The global changes happening in the CSP industry has considerably enhanced the scope and attractiveness of business process outsourcing. Hence from our perspective all markets are equally prospective. 

TMC: What are the major challenges faced by the communications service providers (CSPs)?  

GD: The telecommunications marketplace is a whirlpool of volatility and competition. As basic communications services get commoditized, CSPs need to understand the factors driving the transformation such as:

  • Convergence (News - Alert) (device convergence, service and application convergence, network convergence, industry convergence)
  • Competition from non traditional CSPs
    • Changes in technology has enabled any company with a line to the customers house to compete with a CSP – cable companies, utility companies
    • The Virtual Network Operator concept has enabled any entity with a large captive customer base to become a CSP – eg. supermarket chains
    • The basic service becoming a commodity has enabled any entity capable of offering value added services over the CSP ‘dump pipe’ to become a CSP – eg. software companies
  • Next-generation products and new markets
  • Mergers and acquisitions

These transformational drivers coupled with operational factors – the need to extract maximum value out of existing network assets, plummeting ARPUs, high Opex and high Capex requirements necessitate CSPs to relook their business and operational priorities.

Obviously companies like Infosys with its wide spectrum of offerings and domain capabilities have a lot to offer CSPs in this regard. 

TMC: What is Infosys’ unique outsourcing strategy to meet the needs of  CSPs?

GD: Most BPOs tend to focus on generic solutions aimed at reducing costs e.g. SG&A solutions like Customer Service, F&A, Procurement, etc. Our understanding of the telecom industry drivers, deep domain expertise, and IT capabilities have enabled us to offer our clients solutions that do not just aim at lowering SG&A costs but also reduce cost of revenues/ services and increase top-line revenues. 

  • On the ‘Cost of Revenues’ front, we have leveraged our domain understanding and technological capabilities to develop solutions across the Fulfillment, Assurance and Billing areas. One area we are focusing on is Network Financial Management which includes offerings like Circuit Inventory Management and Network Access Cost Management.
  • Our ‘Revenue Enhancement’ solutions also leverage on our domain and technology expertise to enhance client revenues through analytics (e.g. Churn analytics) and Revenue Assurance solutions.
  • Even on the traditional SG&A offerings front, we offer added value to our clients by leveraging our industry experience, domain understanding and technology capabilities. For example, in the ‘Customer Service’ space we have introduced a tool to guide advisors through trouble shooting calls by making use of pre-built scenarios – thereby reducing call handling time as well chances of advisor error.

TMC: What are the challenges faced by the outsourcing industry in India? (CSP specific) 

GD: From a BPO point of view, the major challenges are 

  1. Labour arbitrage which was one of the early growth levers for the outsourcing industry will not be valid for India. There will still be opportunity for a contact centre business model; however, it will be low margin business.
  2. Value of outsourcing is still not a proven concept; there is a lack of benchmark business cases within India demonstrating the benefits of outsourcing and the value add through such offerings
  3. Service offerings mapping across CSP verticals and functions are still in a nascent stage and evolving with continuous and ongoing understanding of the business

TMC: What are the key drivers of outsourcing market in India?

GD: The need to have an efficient back office to support the rapid growth of Indian CSPs and the high cost control pressure are the major drivers in the Indian outsourcing market. 

We believe that Indian CSPs can leverage the experience and expertise of companies like Infosys in handling the back office support operations for global market leaders to their advantage. Our experience in providing solutions positively impacting CSP revenues and CSP ‘cost or revenues’ to some of the top global CSPs as well as the integrated IT BPO advantage that we bring to the table will stand us in good stead in this regard.This is especially true for areas/concepts which are relatively new to the Indian CSP market - newer products like IPTV (News - Alert) and areas like local number portability, access cost management, interconnect billing settlement etc where Infosys has rich experience.


 

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Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jessica Kostek

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