Communications services provider Amdocs has released the findings of a global survey that explores attitudes toward partnering between the three groups that it says help to define the customer experience: communications service providers, over-the-top (OTT) players – such as streaming video providers – and device manufacturers.
The research found that each of these groups acknowledged the importance of forming strategic partnerships to achieve business growth – even though each is heavily invested in owning the all-important customer experience. Key findings of the survey, conducted by research firm Coleman Parkes, include:
- Two thirds of service providers (and three quarters in Asia Pacific) say they “must” own the customer in any partnering agreement. But more than three quarters of the device manufacturers and OTT players are prepared to envision a future in which they cede ownership of the customer experience.
- Virtually all players agree on service providers’ unique core assets. Service providers rate their brand strength, network quality and customer data as core assets, and the survey found that both OTT players and device manufacturers largely agree. The broad consensus on service providers’ key assets bodes well for services providers and provides a solid foundation for partnering.
- Service providers increasingly see OTT players as potential partners and sources of innovation. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the survey found that two thirds of service providers view OTT players as potential partners, rather than a threat, because the bring innovation to the industry. But 42% of service providers say they could offer any service an OTT player can deliver – but better.
- A cautious willingness to share core assets. The three groups are willing to offer and expose their core assets to achieve partnering goals: Three quarters of OTT players and device manufacturers say they are willing to expose and share their core assets. More than half (56%) of service providers are also willing to do so.
The survey found that the different groups have different reasons for partnering. While all three groups view partnerships as a means to raise revenues and cut costs, they also have separate motivations: 40% of service providers are looking to extend network reach through partnerships, while 34% view partnerships as a tool for developing new products and services. Device manufacturers rank the ability to deliver a seamless experience as well as quality of service (QoS), a key service provider attribute, as a key value in partnering, and two thirds of OTT players cite QoS as important to their ability to compete and survive.
“It’s a whole new partnership landscape for service providers,” said Ian Parkes of Coleman Parkes. “While service providers used to form partnerships mainly for roaming and with device manufacturers, today they must navigate a more complex environment full of over-the-top, Internet, financial-settlement and other players. Our research goal was to explore this new world, and we were surprised that service providers view OTT players as an opportunity, not a threat, and by the broad agreement on the value of service providers’ core assets.
Parkes said that one of the key findings of the research is that while the three groups may have different sets of interest, they increasingly recognise the need for collaboration and partnership to achieve common goals.
“To partner effectively, service providers need a trusted advisor to help them clarify their strategies. Successful partnerships demand open and effective partner management systems for revenue sharing, easy acquisition of new partners, high QoS, and a winning customer experience that is only possible with integrated IT systems that effectively leverage the customer data.”
The survey is based on quantitative research involving 100 telephone interviews among executive decision makers at service providers, OTT players and device manufacturers across North and Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. The research was conducted between June and July 2012.