The impact of Artificial Intelligence on Telecommunication Enterprises: Network and Customer Experience

By January 13, 2021Blog

Guest Authors: Utpal Mangla: VP & Senior Partner; Global Leader: IBM’s Telco Media Entertainment Industry Center of Competency at IBM (utpal.mangla@ca.us.ibm) AND Luca Marchi: Artificial Intelligence Lead – Center of Competence – Telco, Media andEntertainment at IBM (lmarchi@us.ibm.com)

All telco companies that outperform their peers in terms of revenue growth and profitability have one thing in common. They apply AI throughout their organization following a clear leadership: they have established a new path to value by integrating data into their strategy, operations, and culture.

Data is key but not enough

In the telecommunication world, data availability is exploding: Gartner forecasts that more than 20.4 billions devices will be connected in 2020 generating a constant flow of data that telco can leverage to better understand their customers and increase their business. AI-powered natural language processing enabled the analysis of unstructured data at large scale, supposedly up to 80% of all existing data. Nonetheless, data is not enough. In order to make data usable, Telcos need solve two problems: information architecture (IA) and data privacy. Thus carriers moved data at the core of their strategy and invested in creating new data sources to provide the right information at the right time for the right purpose. Data privacy is a lever for telcos to gain the customer trust and a key competitive advantage they need to achieve.

What can a telco with the right data strategy achieve? Increased customer experience and business expansion.

In fact, data-driven companies leverage AI to better identify unmet customer needs and delivery value at every customer touchpoint. Analytics systems powered by artificial intelligence use structured and unstructured data to identify behavior patterns and customer needs that would be otherwise missed. For examples, telcos can understand when a customer is likely to churn out and provide the best offer to make her stay or they can push a personalized data package based on her data usage. Artificial intelligent scale rich customer interaction across channels. Virtual agents interact via text or voice with customer on an IVR, a mobile app or Whatsapp, providing the same level of customer experience. Cognitive care is usually the starting point of the telcos journey in AI and many market leaders like Vodafone and CenturyLink have achieved enormous success in answering customer queries, personalizing the sales journey, improving customer completionrates and satisfaction and increasing brand score and NPS. In terms of business expansion, the application of artificial intelligence and big data supports the development of new business models and the entry into new businesses and markets. In recent years, a common path followed by telcos internationally has been the extension into the fintech business. Thanks to the large amount of customer data they possess, telcos have a deep knowledge of their clients. When this knowledge is paired with the trust customers have for telcos, carriers are in the right spot to provide personalized financial services.

A great example is Orange Bank, the digital-native bank launched by French telco Orange: it provides unique offerings plus innovative customer relationship model, and it implements a new “phygital” and omnichannel model, integrated with banking, CRM, concierge and advisory services.

Not just technology, but technology and humans together.

Enterprise success is fostered by decision making based on data. To get there, organizations need to collect all data required to make decision and executives and employees need to have a data-oriented mindset to enable quality decision making.

Data-driven telco or cognitive telcos follow a 4 step process that entails (1) transformation of workforce, (2) data collection, (3) data purging: making data clean, current, curated and contextualized to create something profound, (4) implementation of intelligent workflows and humanized experiences that require skills and architecture to use data streaming from IoT, social media, pictures and video. This approach allows cognitive telcos to infuse AI in any process across different divisions: network, human talent, marketing, sales etc.

Transform the way Telcos manage their network

Network is a great example of how telcos are using AI to support process automation and support executive and employees in key decision making.

Some recurring application of artificial intelligence and automation in network operations are:

  • Customer Service Operations: A CSOC provides tools and processes to proactively monitor and manage end-to-end service quality with predictive insights, augmented with AI; thus, enabling operators to prioritize actions based on impact to services and customer experience.
  • Cognitive Network Operations: Generate efficiencies and optimization in Network Operations Center for Level 1 and Level 2 operations engineers & managers. Applies analytics and cognitive to network allowing for simplified and focused operations.
  • Network 360: Get ahead of anomalous network activity and degradations with ML models to detect, prevent, and recommend repair for network performance.

NBN, an Australian wholesale network provider, is at the forefront of AI application for network management: they updated their network management operations with AI, analytics and robotics in order to improve efficiency and sustain an 8x growth.

A key enabler of such success cases is hybrid cloud, allowing telcos to run applications and access data from across multiple disparate platforms.

Become a Cognitive Telco: Data + Strategy + People

In order to become a Cognitive Enterprise and outperform their peers, telcos need to collect and leverage their data, to implement a strategy that bases decision making on data and to create a partnership between humans and technology.

For more content like this visit https://www.ibm.com/industries/telecom-media-entertainment

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