MWC 2011: Allies in the Art of Building Beautiful Customer Experiences

REDMOND, Wash. — March 7, 2011 — Anyone involved in the business of providing a service will tell you that a happy pool of customers who feel engaged and understood is the path to a healthy, growing business.

But in the hugely dynamic and rapidly converging mobile telecoms marketplace, understanding and responding appropriately to the customer is an increasingly complex task. Working out who your most profitable customers are and what they care about, where (and why) customers are being lost and won, and whether that new marketing campaign is really causing the call centre to light up all require telcos to connect their core operations from sales and marketing to customer service and billing — and to be able to bring these insights to bear in real time.

Telcos require intelligent infrastructure that will help transform their operations and business models to rapidly grasp emerging consumer trends, tailor the way they interact with the customer at every touch point, and quickly present new products and services that fit the individual needs of each customer.

During Mobile World Congress, Microsoft was proud to announce its growing industry partner ecosystem around Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In the Communications Sector, our stated strategy is to take a partner-led approach to BSS (Business Support Systems), working with best-of-breed ISVs and SIs to help service providers bring better quality customer experiences to their millions of subscribers worldwide.

Ericsson’s alliance with Microsoft will see Microsoft Dynamics CRM provide the customer care component for its integrated Billing and CRM solution. Ericsson has selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM in response to customer demand for a pre-integrated telco-specific Billing and CRM solution that efficiently renders core billing data and functionality through a common CRM interface. The integrated solution increases efficiencies within a call center operation, specifically enabling customer service teams to seamlessly manage subscriber accounts, billing, tariffs, upgrades, and escalations.

Also announced in Barcelona, MetraTech is set to enhance MetraNet’s billing capabilities with ready-to-publish solutions built on Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 for order capture, billing provisioning and relationship management. Through this integration, the company expects to help service providers deliver a well-orchestrated customer experience through a complete customer engagement cycle — from the first marketing outreach, through successful sign-on, to a clear and understandable bill.

Last year at Mobile World Congress 2010, we unveiled partnerships with Convergys and Redknee, and one year on, we’re delighted to be able to point to multiple telco customers that have selected the Microsoft Dynamics-based solutions to address specific pain points within their existing customer care operations. National telecommunications provider TOT Thailand, keen to overcome its divergent billing systems across its wireline and wireless businesses, has decided to replacing its billing and CRM system with Convergys Smart Communications Suite powered by Microsoft. And in Brunei, mobile operator DST has selected Redknee with its real-time charging capabilities, to lead its billing transformation project as it set its sights on launching next-generation services to its customers and improve business decision with advanced reporting and analytics.

Finally, back in December, Tech Mahindra, a provider of solutions and services to the telecommunications industry, entered into an alliance with Microsoft to offer customized CRM capabilities and flexible application options for service providers. As a part of the initiative, Tech Mahindra has inaugurated a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Lab in Noida, which is the first lab in India to focus on providing CRM offerings to telecom service providers globally.

Microsoft is both a platform and a partnership company. We can equip our software and systems integration partners with technology infrastructure that is cost-efficient and scalable to the most demanding telco requirements (let’s not forget that Hotmail, running on Microsoft SQL Server 2008, supports 1.3 billion inboxes and handles 3 billion messages per day). This approach allows each of our expert partners to add their own IP onto Microsoft’s Dynamics platform, for example, and deliver new, differentiated solutions and unique value to their customers. We’re confident that these partnerships offer a new approach for many service providers and will lead the industry toward a future that delivers outstanding customer experiences — no excuses.