Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Below is a short extract from October's IMS Insider report, out tomorrow night to subscribers (see www.ims-insider.com).
(NB: The report goes on to describe a new and detailed IMS services prioritisation and development methodology, an IMS Maturity Index ("IMSMI") that helps operators match these services to technical readiness, and goes through case studies of what we feel are the Top 6 IMS-enhanced services that can steal a march on the competition and generate significant revenues.)
"...Over the last month we've been collecting objections to "IMS". These are currently helping to keep IMS stuck in the "something to do with Service Delivery" bucket in the minds of senior commercial management within Operators. Here's a sample:
- The technology’s way off being ready
- It’ll never be fully interoperable
- It’s a flash in the pan - we've seen this hype before (with WAP and 3G)
- It’s just a way for vendors to sell more kit to us
- It’s going to be much too difficult to make it all work – we don’t have the skills, let's stick to our knitting.
- There’s no real customer demand for ‘combinational’ multimedia services.
- These ‘new services’ are nothing new. We can do them today without IMS!
- We’ve got more important things to focus on (like growing our revenues by by 5% this year and subsequent years in a declining market - NB: For Vodafone that equates to c. GBP £2.5 billion revenue growth per annum!!)
For those trying to promote IMS inside their organisations, and particularly to those trying to engage commercial management and marketing functions, here are some ideas for introducing a response to the objections above:
"All these objections all have merit…if we continue to think about things in the same way we have in the past. IMS potentially enables not only a fundamentally different technical architecture, but also a fundamentally different business architecture. It potentially enables different (and more relevant) services for our markets of the future. In so doing, it potentially enables a different (and more relevant) way of doing business.
The problem is that this ‘future’ is not so far away. The competition, from all sides, is moving fast. Internet companies, for example, have 6 week release cycles compared to the 6-12 month release cycles of traditional telcos. It is the way they do business - their flexibility, their speed, their user-friendliness – which, when combined with rapid advances in technology and changes in the regulatory environment, makes them the biggest threat to our business.
The current strategic response to this threat has been for operators to move into ‘content services’ (I-mode perhaps the best example, Vodafone Live! a poor cousin, ‘3’ staking its whole business on it). But, this is surely not ‘core competence’. The key for us telcos is to focus on communication-oriented services, mobile/fixed-messaging-based-communication-oriented-services – a melding of communication with content and applications. And this is what IMS uniquely enables…and, potentially, at an affordable price.
So, while the technology behind IMS is important (and challenging), the bigger question is what sort of enhanced multimedia ‘services’ should we driving towards, and how should we create an effective pipeline ...that is realistic and implementable. Our competitors are starting to get this message. I'd like to involve you [commercial management and marketing functions] in a much deeper collaboration on how we should address the opportunity and challenge. We need to integrate the network development process with the service development process. Carpe diem..."