Let it rain! The three things you need to take your digital service strategy to the street

03 March 2015 | Chad Dunavant

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Chad Dunavant

Blog Author | CSG International; VP product management


I’ve lived in Colorado, US for most of my adult life where it’s a common thing to hear “if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it will change.”

I’ve lived in Colorado, US for most of my adult life where it’s a common thing to hear “if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes and it will change.” This time of year, we can easily have snow in the morning and reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21C) by 3pm in the same day.

One of my favourite weather phenomenon is virga. Virga is rain that is released from the clouds but evaporates before touching the ground. You can literally see it raining, but the streets are dry.

This is not a dissimilar phenomenon from what we’re seeing with digital services delivery today. Communications service providers (CSPs) worldwide are moving digital service delivery strategies into the cloud where they can be released to thirsty consumers – but ‘making it rain’ requires careful alignment of a few key elements before new, innovative ideas can reach the ground.

I hear from many aspiring digital service providers that they've considered building an integrated digital services commerce platform to exploit new digital services opportunities, but are wary of the risks of undertaking full-scale systems transformation that can be time consuming and costly.  

So, some CSPs are seeking a less disruptive way to enter, maintain and compete for position in the digital services market. Resoundingly, the market leaders agree that these are the first three things you have to get right to be successful.

 

A content experience here, there and everywhere

If you travel a lot like I do, you know that taking video content with you, from your set-top box at home to your smart phone on the flight has become a way of life. It sounds basic in concept, but presenting your content and services in the best way for every device is the critical lynchpin in any digital service strategy. This means content is ubiquitously available across tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles and the set-top box. Pairing your portable content with the important attributes of each consumer like security profiles and credentials, preferences, entitlements, devices and preferred ways to pay, creates a smooth and easy experience that will keep consumers coming back over time.  

 

Treat the digital services market as an agility competition

Your ability to bring new offers to market and quickly see them succeed or fail, then adapt the idea to try a different approach, speaks to how agile your business is. The more agile the organisation, the faster and better it can experiment to find that successful offering. The other side of the ‘fail fast’ coin is that failure can be, well…fast. An organisation needs to do all it can to reduce the risk while maintaining that all-important agility and often that means using a managed service to run the underlying systems so you can invest your best thinking in your next innovation.

 

If you can’t bill for it, it’s just a hobby

Every digital services strategy has to have a direct route to profit and supporting a wide variety of payment models is the first, essential step. Whether the consumer pays for a digital service via credit card, on a bill, from their e-wallet, using coupons or gift cards, or whether the service is subsidised by advertising for example – the flexibility to handle the incoming payment is not only essential, it’s expected. 

 

With these three critical areas covered, a CSP will be well on its way to releasing their digital service strategies to hit the streets – where consumers are waiting with their devices in hand for the next, great digital service.