The current era of digital transformation has forced telecom operators to re-examine their strategy and reposition themselves from a systems-centric company to a value delivery-focused service provider that prioritizes customer needs and market trends. Thus, it is imperative for telecom operators to consolidate the S&D network and mitigate differences between direct and indirect sales channels, so as to let the end consumer have a unified and superior experience.
The summary and the recommendations from our guide ‘Trends and strategic initiatives to achieve telecom growth objectives’ concluded that telecom operators can use S&D digitization strategies to optimize profit margins while staying competitive on key industry trends. This would mean enabling the tools and systems of S&D to optimize demand and supply, forecast needs, and manage inventory ‘just in time’, all while empowering the end retailer to decrease OPEX and increase revenue. In a nutshell, the three major S&D initiatives highlighted in this guide were:
The adaption of data-rich and innovative solutions to enhance mobile financial services.
Gaining a vantage point through enhanced customer experience.
Reducing OPEX for revenue optimization.
Retail Value Management and why is it critical for telcos
Due to the long drawn effects of the pandemic, there is a renewed focus to innovate and adapt to the changing customer behavior in the telecom industry. How can telecoms combat the pandemic challenges and gain a vantage point? In this new normal, the core business objectives for telecoms is to connect with consumers with more ease. This points towards an immediate need to make operators’ business operations more agile, lean, digital and data driven.
In an effort to augment value in telecom S&D, it is crucial for telcos to focus on key revenue drivers, including superior customer service, faster time to market, agility to adapt, and a robust digital ecosystem. At the same time, it is also important to maintain profit and cost center efficiency so that they can maximise revenue without incurring too much costs.
While new technologies such as 5G and IoT are major revenue growth drivers, the impact of operator’s S&D on the topline and bottom-line has become perhaps more important than ever. Regarding this, the two key KPIs for a telecom CIO are:
Profit center efficiency:
manage profit centers (e.g sales and marketing organization) to lower the cost of marginal revenue
Cost center efficiency:
manage cost centers in a lean and efficient way to optimize cost, without impacting business performance.
Given the scale of telecom’s business operations, achieving these KPIs requires;
A comprehensive analysis of the revenue and cost drivers
Evaluation of the current processes
Finding ways to address the challenges and gaps through innovative technology
For this analysis, we focus on the S&D part to develop a roadmap of how this can be addressed.
Within the telecom distribution channels, there are certain strategic investment areas – including retailer motivation and incentivization, control and visibility of last mile sales, digitization of KYC process, etc. – that will not only boost revenue and optimize growth but also keep a lid on the costs incurred.
Dealer Management Module
Incentive Management Module
Contract Management Module
Order Management Module
Inventory Management Module
Voucher Management Module
Subscriber Management Module
Business rule & Pricing Module
Reseller Management Module
Supply & Delivery Module
- Manage cost centers for efficiencies
- Manage profit centers to lower marginal cost of revenue
Challenges for telecom operators
In many cases, there is substantial room for improvement when it comes to extracting value from S&D processes and systems for following reasons:
Fragmented sales & distribution systems
For most operators, the various parts of the sales & distribution network operate in silos and do not lead to a unified business process. As a result, the efficiency of business operations and customer experience takes a hit.
Lack of unified data and actionable insights
A corollary to that is the unavailability of data for stakeholders across different parts of telecom sales & distribution system e.g., onboarding, supply chain, prepaid/postpaid/ digital sales, POS, resellers, commissions/incentives/campaigns and payment data sets, to name a few. This lapse in real time information sharing impacts the possibility of data-driven planning and insights that drive business results.
Lack of personalized planning for resellers and salespersons
Finally, the lack of interconnected systems and data limits the way the broader S&D team operates. Resellers and salespersons lose out on actionable insights that are backed by data which keeps them from planning their day with higher efficiency. This discord continues to feed a gap that most operators face, based on our industry experience.
Importance of S&D consolidation for telecoms
If a telecom operator is launching a product or service, aligning the sales & distribution network is critical to achieve success. This requires not only the right top-level strategy, but a significant amount of tasks to be undertaken across the lifecycle of growth including;
Supply chain design
Providing the right POS to resellers
Commissions and incentive design
Most importantly, to avoid any unwanted surprises, telecom operators will have to introduce synergy across operations, visibility across activities and data-driven insights to push improvements. To the sales & distribution organization, this means the ability to constantly look at high level performance indicators like sales target and current performance and drill-down to regional/team level planning to understand current gaps and corrective actions.
As per our experience, such unified, data-driven planning and execution capabilities are still a challenge for most telecoms due to the reasons mentioned earlier in this analysis.
Based on this consistent need seen across the industry and our deep domain expertise in telecom sales & distribution for over 30 years now, Seamless sees profound value in implementing digitization strategies that support the entire Retail Value Chain. We call this Retail Value Management (RVM) solutions and practices.
The next section will provide a high-level overview of what capabilities RVM solutions should offer to support the telecom S&D business to:
Meet future needs for automation
Drive business innovation
Enhance customer experiences necessary to scale growth & profitability
Retail Value Management – a promise of success!
RVM means a retail value chain, with a technology ecosystem that enables complete process and cost efficiency in reaching markets while providing control and transparency in S&D.
How Seamless enables successful RVM?
The unified product suite for telecom S&D offers an end-to-end set of capabilities across all stages of the telecom reseller/subscriber user journey by helping the operator seamlessly sell any product, through any channel, anywhere.
Key values that you should expect to gain when implementing an RVM solution:
With a consolidated set of offerings, what are you gaining as a service provider to millions of subscribers? You achieve:
Superior standardized experience, true to your brand identity
Centralized control, optimized operations and demand supply visibility from first to last mile that not only increases your revenue but ensures better margins consistently
Faster, easier and standardized S&D to roll out new products & features and measure the progress easily
On top of this, the RVM solution offers a unified user interface that provides comprehensive analytical insights ranging from descriptive to predictive/AI-driven capabilities. Unlike generic analytics platforms, the analytics provided by Seamless are laser-focused on providing telecom sales insights that are useful to the sales organization.
Personalize data sets on resellers and consumers to enhance their experience further
Full data visibility into your business operations to drive you business goals and enable data-driven decision making.
Forecasting based on trends to ensure automation at its best
By leveraging the unified platform and its capabilities with analytics, the RVM solution should perform a 360-degree analysis of different factors influencing current S&D performance. RVM capabilities should give you the ability to:
Understand root cause of reseller performance
Type of factors
One of the focus areas of RVM is to translate all the insights generated into personalized planning for the S&D organization. This helps to immediately enhance day-to-day planning and execution abilities of large-scale sales teams, from manager to field agents to resellers. All insights are generated in an automated way and sent to the sales team for review and action.
The other significant outcome of RVM is the synergy achieved across the legacy functional silos in the sales & distribution systems. Since RVM analyzes data across multiple systems, enabling a 360 degree view and insight, this helps in an automated co-ordination across different parts of S&D systems and the organization, leading to immediate uplift in business process efficiency, SLA and customer satisfaction.
Let’s walk through an example: once in action, the RVM platform connects the ‘onboarding & sales’ component to the ‘inventory and supply’ component, allowing you to push for the adequate amount and timely supply of goods. Similarly, it also connects the ‘sales’ component to the ‘commissions/campaigns’ component to swiftly recommend opportunities for uplifting sales and highlighting critical actions for success.
How do you implement an
When it comes to the automation of telecom sales and distribution, there is no right or wrong strategy, it is simply a matter of what works best for a company, given their unique requirements and business needs.
The RVM strategy can be implemented in three steps, however, it is largely dependent on the current position/development phase of the telecom operator.
Step by step
Start small and then scale
Identify your weakest link, which could be a component of your S&D that causes the most pain, and swap it with one of our plug and play modules. Once live, roll out more products into this system starting with most innovative dealer before onboarding more dealers
Get dealer acceptance
Onboard more dealers and more products into the new S&D platform
Scale module by module
Lesser disruption on existing infrastructure
Easier to get acceptance over time
Consolidate the front end solution first and then slowly migrate the back-end solutions
Consolidate front-end for the reseller to provide one unified interface to all products/services
Integrate all back-ends to the unique front-end
Lesser disruption on existing infrastructure
Faster reseller satisfaction
Move fast from different point solutions to one unified sale and distribution solution
Build a unified platform for all S&D covering the entire product portfolio
Switch off remaining system cold turkey
Fast and final solution
Summary & conclusions
RVM presents an interesting opportunity for telecoms to improve key business performance and offer the possibility to upgrade Sales & Distribution and turn it into a truly data driven business function.
To be able to achieve this, an IT strategy needs to be formed inline with the S&D business needs of the telecom operator. Although these needs differ depending on market conditions and where your business stands in the market all telecom operators, irrespective of size and market share, stand to gain substantial benefits by optimizing their retail value chain.
Retail Value Management is a critical step towards the evolution of S&D in telecom from a function that succumbs to business goals into a one that actively drives them. With where the world is headed with its technological strides in every field, being an innovator and digitizing your S&D through a consolidated platform may very well be just what you need to ride the wave, rather than struggle against it.