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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Clarifying what 'IMS-enhanced/enable services' are

This week I offered a sneak preview of our Top 6 Most Profitable IMS-Enhanced/Enabled Services to a few friendly subscribers (NB: this list, the methodology, a Maturity Index and case studies are all in this month's IMS Insider Report, available from tomorrow night to paying subscribers - see www.ims-insider.com if you'd like to subscribe). It was a very useful exercise, as it demonstrated yet again the need to very carefully and patiently 'position' IMS, particularly to senior commercial managers.

For those who follow this Blog, you'll know that after presenting and discussing our initial strawman list of the Top 22 IMS-enhanced services at the IMS World Forum in mid October (see relevant posting below), we applied a new Evaluation Method that has recently been created by our sister consulting company, STL (www.stlpartners.com), to go through a much more rigorous analysis and prioritisation. A Top 6 list of ‘winner’ services popped out and we worked up some case studies to describe them in more detail. The output is generic of course, but should be very useful for stimulating debate and directing decisions inside operator (and vendor) organisations.

We found that, even with tech-literate forward thinking commercial managers inside Operators, we needed to very carefully caveat what we meant by 'IMS-enhanced/enabled services'.

Below are the sorts of words we used. They helped a great deal in clarifying what we meant. And they may be useful to you, if you're trying to talk about this subject internally (or with clients, if a vendor). I'd be very interested in your own experiences: editor@ims-insider.com.

"A Caveat...
The services outlined [in this Report] could be (and some already are, to a large extent) delivered today without the benefit of IMS architectures. What IMS facilitates is faster, easier and cheaper convergent service creation. If service providers' future success will depend on this, then they are going to need all the help they can get in this area. The following points are very important to take on board before reviewing this Top 6 list of IMS-enhanced/enabled services [or anyone's list for that matter]:

• IMS architectures will allow providers to deliver more services, across more networks in a more integrated, flexible and lower-cost manner. Importantly, it will allow service providers to bring together the same set of building blocks in different ways to different users.

• The services outlined in this report (and many variations), will live or die depending on how easily understood and adopted they are by users. Amongst other things, this will be a function of the context that the services are presented to users to “help them do stuff they want to do”. Getting this right will require learning what does work and what does not work and evolving services accordingly. As some users become more sophisticated, so will their expectations and demands.

• Much of what IMS has to offer is enhancing existing services, often through minor changes in presenting information or how existing functionality is accessed. Most users do not know how to use (or would even think of using) much of the functionality available to them today in their existing services. A good example of this is inviting a third person to join a call. This facility is available today on most fixed and mobile networks, yet very rarely used. It is also available on Skype, but in an intuitive manner, almost inviting users to try it.

We must remember that what IMS offers is not only new in the “what” of services, but also the “how” services are defined and delivered. There are certainly minimum technical requirements to be able to deliver these services (cf. our IMS Maturity/Readiness Index), but we've considered this in our suggested timescales for delivering these services..."

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