Posts tagged ‘big data’

Telstra wraps up Pacnet acquisition

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The Telstra/Pacnet acquisition story which broke towards the end of last year has now come to fruition, with the Australian telco today announcing the completed acquisition of the Cloud, managed services and data centre provider. As reported by Telecoms.com in December, the valuation of the deal came in at $697 million.

When initially announced, the deal came with the stipulation of agreement from regulatory bodies, as well as Pacnet financier approval. According to Telstra, all necessary approvals and agreements have now been confirmed, and the firm can now begin the full acquisition of Pacnet.

All that remains, it claims, is full regulatory approval in the United States, which it reckons is expected in due course and will not impact operations or the agreed purchase price.

Speaking of the acquisition, Telstra’s Global Enterprise and Services CEO, Brendon Riley, said the integration of Pacnet will see its brand gradually retired, but that the Chinese market remains a big focus for the joint-venture.

“The addition of Pacnet’s staff, intrastructure, technology and expertise will position Telstra as a leading provider of services to multinational and large companies in Asia,” he said. “The completed acquisition will double Telstra’s customers in Asia, and greatly increase our network reach and data centre capabilities across the region. This includes the addition of the largest privately owned intra-Asia cable network, 29 data centres and the ability to further grow our China operations through existing joint venture.”

Riley concluded with a nod towards the Pacnet Enabled Network (PEN), an elastic and on-demand network based on SDN architecture, pioneered by Pacnet. PEN was one of the first live SDN-based networks launched globally.

“The acquisition provides us greater specialisation and scale, including the delivery of enhanced services, such as software-defined networking and opens up significant incremental opportunities for our business,” he said.

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Visit the Cloud World Forum taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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The future call centre: 10 predictions for the next 10 years

Guest Blog with NewVoiceMedia

Video-service-198x300What will the call centre of 2025 look like?

Well, to start with, it’s unlikely to be a physical ‘centre’ anymore. The rise of cloud technology is predicted to lead to an increase in remote working. But this move outside the office walls is far from businesses shunning the contact centre.

The omnipresent eye of social media has put companies in the limelight – for good and for bad, pushing customer service right to the top of the priority list. As a result,  looks set to become a key differentiator from now onwards, and the call centre will be at the forefront of this strategy.

Here we explore the trends that look set to transform the call centre in ten years’ time.

1. The call center will become a ‘relationship hub’

For years, many have considered the call centre as a way of dealing with immediate problems. This led to a short-term strategy of dealing with one customer emergency after another – reacting instead of adapting to the needs of the customer. Instead of picking up the pieces when things go wrong, we predict that the contact centre will become an integral part of business strategy, acting as a ‘relationship hub’.

Contact centre agents are the first to know if something isn’t working and are therefore perfectly poised to advise the business. It’s the people on the other end of the phone that know what the customers really think. Customer service can be seen as an afterthought – what happens after the marketing department has reeled them in, but really, it should be part of every stage of business development, supplying sales and marketing with repeat purchasers and advocates, as well as an essential data point for product management and development.

2. Customer service agents will become ‘super agents’

As the call centre becomes an increasingly important part of the business, so do the people that work there. They will need to adapt their skillset to meet the demands of the future customer and the expectations directors place on the contact centre. Plus, with the rise of ‘self-help’ and user communities, only the most complex problems will end up in a call centre. Agents will need to be ready to tackle challenging issues and be able to unpick the situation to pinpoint what exactly went wrong.

It’s therefore not surprising that in the next ten years, the average customer service agent will need to have a much wider range of skills. Aside from excellent communication skills, they’ll need analytical problem-solving skills, project management – and in some cases, technical training, in order to understand the finer details of the product or service. Alongside all of this, customer service agents will need to be able to adapt to changes in technology – from becoming an expert in every new app and social network, to utilising the increasing range of data on their CRM.

3. Call routing systems will find the ‘perfect match’ 

Intelligent call-routing is already available now, but it’s predicted to grow in the next ten years – matching the customer with the right expert almost instantly. As CRM and workflow management systems develop, a complex ‘match-making’ process will occur every time a customer calls, to ensure the right expert is on hand to solve every problem. Many also believe that organisations will begin to publish their agents’ availability online, so that customers can pick the agent that best suits their needs and call them directly.

4. Web chat will become an increasingly popular customer service channel

It can be frustrating to be on the other end of a phone – whether you’re an agent or a customer, the channel has its limits. The success of Amazon Mayday has made video-based live chat a real possibility. The channel has huge potential, because it allows agents to develop a more personal connection with customers through face-to-face chat. Plus, have you ever wanted to show a customer how something works? With video chat, this becomes a possibility. It also eliminates the idea of being put on hold – even if the agent isn’t speaking, the customer is connected via the visual feed. Video web chat also allows contact centres to anticipate problems as customers navigate their website and ensure the right agent pops up at the right time.

5. Customer service will become the key differentiator

With the rise of intangible products, which only exist via your mobile or laptop, customer experience is becoming more important as a differentiator. Consumers don’t just want great customer service, they demand it. In the UK, half of consumers said they would buy from a competitor as the result of poor customer experience. This is similar in the US, with 44% of consumers taking their business elsewhere as a result of inadequate service.

Plus, with the death of sustainable competitive advantage, companies can no longer rely on their well-defined niche to keep them ahead. The elusive ‘experience’ becomes more important and customer service moves straight to the top of the agenda. Add to this the growth of social media and customer service has transformed from a one-to-one interaction to a public conversation. With customer service becoming this transparent, companies have realised they need to up their game. You can no longer hide bad customer service behind closed doors; every business has an online footprint of their successes and failures for all to see. As a result, companies will start to compete to offer the best customer service – with social media recommendations being the ultimate prize.

6. Mobile is the future – for customer service agents and customers

According to the Economist, mobile apps are predicted to become the second most important channel for engaging with brands – just behind social media. And it’s not just about apps, as the mobile phone becomes an increasingly important part of everyday life. It’s how your customers are most likely to get in contact with you – via email, live chat, social media or in a voice call. Companies need to optimise their mobile functionality for this – particularly by allowing customers to multi-task on their mobile. For instance, being able to read the FAQs page while on the phone to the customer service agent. Your customer service agents will make the same demands for mobile. Being able to access a mobile CRM is a key ingredient for flexible working.

7. Expect channel preferences to change (and change again)

As consumers demand a personalised approach to just about everything – they expect to be able to mix & match the customer service channels to create a tailor-made service. However, it’s becoming increasingly hard to predict and plan for the channel-hopping. That’s why we predict that whatever the preference is at the moment, it will change in the next ten years – probably several times. How contact centres are able to adapt to customers switching between channels will determine their success.

This is particularly true if businesses want to appeal to the millennial generation, who are notorious for channel-switching, as they move from mobile to tablet to laptop, all in a matter of hours. Being able to follow those channel hops while maintaining the context of the interaction is key to customer service success. And it’s not just about keeping up with the change in device or channel, businesses need to keep up with the technology itself. New apps and social networks are launched all the time – WhatsApp is a great example of a channel that’s taken off rapidly and is becoming a popular choice for customer service.

8. Voice biometrics will replace security questions

“What’s your mother’s maiden name?” is one of many common security questions, but in the next ten years, it’ll be more about how the customer answers a question than the answer itself which confirms their identity. Gathering the unique ‘voiceprints’ of your customers could be the answer to security problems, as voice biometrics technology develops. It’s much harder to replicate the human voice than it is to steal facts about a customer. Voice biometrics record the intricacies of the human voice – from picking up on the size and shape of the mouth to the tension of the vocal cords.

9. Remote working and location-based services will increase

With the rise of cloud-based SaaS, having all your agents in one place is no longer necessary. It’s actually much more than unnecessary – switching to remote working agents has lots of benefits. This approach can reduce the costs associated with running a call centre and give employees greater flexibility. It is predicted that the growing number of virtual call centres could lead to more location-based services. For instance, a customer calling a company could be automatically connected to an agent working remotely a few miles from their location. The agent could even arrange to meet the customer if necessary, which could be very useful for certain sectors.

10. The “internet of things”

Described by many as the third great wave of computing – the “internet of things” or the “internet of everything” could change the way the world works. With more and more devices being able to connect to other devices or people independently, it gives rise to a world where almost everything is connected. This could have huge implications for the contact centre, enabling businesses to deliver pre-emptive service. For instance, if a patient’s heart monitor is over-heating, the device could send an automated service request to the right team. On a more domestic level, washing machines may be able to self-diagnose problems and notify the manufacturer when the part needs replacing – taking the customer out of the equation altogether.

The implication is that attitudes will shift – instead of buying a product, consumers will be buying a product with built-in customer service, raising the stakes for getting service right.

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NewVoiceMedia are Salesforce Pavillion Partner and exhibitors at Cloud World Forum, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at Olympia Grand in London.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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80% of banks to replace core systems “within five years” #CloudWF

Four out of five banks believe they will have to replace their core banking system in the next three to five years, with nearly 90% in favour of including SaaS or cloud based services as part of the infrastructure, according to a new survey of senior bank executives.

In the report, Invigorating Banking, sponsored by fintech firm Five Degrees and carried out by Finextra Research, the results revealed strong support for core system replacement and renovation. Some 83% of respondents believe their bank’s existing core technology can no longer support its needs. A further 89% believe that it is inevitable that banks rapidly modernise processes and IT to avoid losing market share.

“You cannot become a digital bank without core systems renewal; you cannot renew core systems without using cloud for data management; you need to consolidate data in the cloud to be able to perform effective data analytics; and when you’ve renewed core systems through the cloud to perform data analytics, then you can innovate,” said Chris Skinner, report contributor and independent financial consultant.

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Many banks planned to respond by working with new technology providers, even where these have fewer customer references, so that the bank can ensure that it implements standard service oriented architecture (66%). A slim majority of banks still believe that IT is a unique selling point and will continue to rely on their own in-house development teams for niche technology that fits the bank’s strategy (61%). However, banks were split down the middle on whether to stick with their current technology provider, following its migration and upgrade process even if it would not provide the benefits of newer SOA technology (50% versus 50%).

There were also geographical differences in how the banks planned to respond to these challenges. While support for new cloud based platforms was strong overall, it was lowest in western Europe, where only 51% were strongly in favour, versus Asia Pacific, where the equivalent figure was 76%. Yet , across all banks, 97% believe that the bank needs to be able to offer new financial products and services faster.

On others areas there was virtually unanimous agreement. Some 97% of respondents agreed that security must be improved for customers due to the increasing risks associated with multi-channel technology. Likewise, overwhelming majorities supported the need to equip bank staff and customers to a higher level of self-service (97%). Unsurprisingly, 82% agreed with the statement that customers prefer an excellent mobile channel over a branch nearby.

However, there is still a place for face to face dialogue. Responses were strongly divided over whether customers prefer an efficient virtual dialogue over a personal one to solve financial matters (52% in favour, 48% against) – suggesting that banks are far from confident that the branch can be done away with entirely.

A number of obstacles to modernisation were identified in the report. One of the biggest was the difficulty of getting a sponsor at boardroom level (71%). Another was regulation: 67% believe their bank is too busy with regulation and compliance to think about innovation and modernisation. Yet at the same time, regulation also appears to be prompting change, since 92% of respondents believe that modernising their systems and processes is necessary to comply with constant regulatory change.

The threat of new entrants and disruptive competitors rate highly in the responses. Some 77% of respondents recognise new market entrants such as Google and Apple as a real threat that could steal their customers. Most respondents (56%) also felt that the digital only banks like Moven, Simple and Frank are a serious threat. However, the presence of new challenges is not necessarily seen as entirely negative – fully 88% of banks believe that new market entrants have a positive effect on the traditional banking scene by keeping banks focused.

Source: Banking Tech

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The Cloud World Forum will take place at Olympia Grand in London on the 24th – 25th June 2015.

It will feature 300+ speakers, many of whom represent the financial sector, including Thomas Naylor, CIO, Salamanca Group; Oliver Bussman, Group CIO, UBSJohn Finch, CIO, Bank of England and many more.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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The Cloud and Cross-Channel Retail: How and why the cloud will irrevocably change the way retailers do business

The Cloud and Cross-Channel Retail White Paper, in association with Rackspace, outlines everything you need to know about the cloud and how it can push you to succeed in the fast emerging environment of cross-channel retail.

It sets out the key strategic considerations for decision-makers when deciding whether to opt for the cloud, and how to use it best.

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How and why the cloud will irrevocably change the way retailers do business

This White Paper explores:

  • Why companies need to prepare for a new retail environment where customers interact across many different touchpoints
  • How the cloud offers flexibility and scalability to help retailers succeed in this new world
  • How the cloud can provide extra capacity for peaks and troughs of demand – fundamental to successful modern retailing
  • How the cloud can both save money and free up senior IT staff
  • Featuring case studies of retailers who are already succeeding in grasping the cross-channel opportunities afforded by the cloud

Click here to download the White Paper!

 

This White Paper is brought to you by Internet Retailing and Cloud World Forum, the EMEA’s only Cloud and DevOps expo, taking place on the 24th – 25th June 2015 at the Olympia Grand in London.

The conference will feature 300+ speakers, many of whom represent the retail sector, including Marc van der Heijden, SVP Global IT from Adidas Group, Tarun Samtani, Information Security Architect at Ebuyer, Ajay Dankar, Senior Director at eBay and many more.

Register here for your FREE Exhibition Pass!

 

Exclusive Q&A with Fin Goulding, CIO of Paddy Power

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Fin Goulding is Chief Information Officer at Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, and is speaking at Cloud World Forum at London’s Olympia on 24-25 June, about the Cloud and DevOps in his business. We took some time with Fin to talk about the challenges and status of Cloud in his sector, followed by an in-depth discussion on what DevOps means to him personally.

The interview…

We start off by talking about some of the challenges of being a CIO in the (largely online) gaming sector, one of which is that there are major (often sporting) events that happen at certain points in the year, and they have to be ready for those spikes in capacity demand.

Another major challenge in the sector is security, about which Fin asserts “we’re hyper-concerned about security in our world because we’re even more highly regulated than banking”. This is largely due to concerns about data loss, particularly in relation to the Cloud. When talking about this, he makes an excellent analogy: “if I put my bike in your house and it’s stolen, who’s responsible for that loss? It’s usually me”. This is a primary concern, and one about which Fin and his team have to be super diligent.

Sticking with Cloud technology, and the status of it within his sector, Fin feels that they are on a similar journey to many companies and industries, and that journey entails moving from “credit card Cloud” to “back office Cloud”. To elaborate, moving from niche Cloud use cases to IT teams working in a digital world, where they have back office systems (eg. HR, finance, ticketing) that are becoming “cloudified”, freeing the team up to spend more time on frontend work.

“But for us, like a number of companies, the next level will be enterprise level cloud, which is really a hybrid. It’s a capacity-on-demand model – recovery-as-a-service – or as Joe Baguley of VMware would call it, data center N+1, so that you’ve actually got this reliability in your production system.”

Download the full interview here!


Fin will be presenting in the Keynote Theatre
at the Cloud World Forum, at Olympia Grand in London on the 24th – 25th June 2015, on ‘A Transformational Journey: Implementing DevOps & Agile at Scale.

Don’t miss the chance to take advantage of all the knowledge and networking opportunities presented by EMEA’s only content-led Cloud exhibition.

Register for your FREE exhibition pass here!

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Cloud MENA 2015 Event Brochure now available #cloudMENA

The Cloud MENA 2015 brochure is here! View the most recent agenda and full speaker line-up. IT leaders from all industries will come together in 2015 to reflect on their experiences and offer hands on advice to help you advance your IT strategy. Additionally, pioneering telco leaders convey the go to market strategies which are bringing ROI and delivering only the most secure cloud services.

Cloud MENA agenda

Key topics you will get to discuss throughout the 2 days…

The regulatory landscape of Cloud Computing and data protection in the region
• Tackling the security fear which surrounds Cloud Computing
• Evaluating cloud business models and selecting the one that fits your particular needs
• Making the right choice when selecting a vendor
How can an Operator make it as a Cloud Provider: Best in class business, sales and marketing strategies
• How can Cloud result in job losses?
• Becoming part of the smart cities initiative
Monetising Big Data and advanced Business Intelligence solutions to improve customer insights

Topics

Early confirmed Sponsors include:

MENA sponsors

Secure your FREE pass today and join Middle East & North Africa’s Leading Cloud Computing Event!

Analytics and Big Data – Day One Highlights #Bigdataws

The Analytics and Big Data Congress – Day One!

What an amazing first day we had at the 5th Analytics & Big Data Congress! We are delighted to be hosting such an interactive audience and excellent speakers.

  • Philips and Kacy Harding opened the conference and discussed their strategy to engage with customers and reaching out to their audience through a variety of channels and even mobile applications.
  • Thierry Bedos delivered an exhaustive list of advice from Hotels.com on balancing your data innovation, platform building, operationalising your solution, communicating the new capabilities and delivering new use cases!
  • Ed Child from Asda spoke about the three components of success: data, tools, experts as key to translate data into action.
  • Robert Easton from Google presented on innovative uses of Big Data and showcased how it is in the benefit of the individual to give access to his/her data .

We closed the discussions elaborating on data protection, the feasibility of The Right To Be Forgotten in the era of Big Data with experts from the Information Commissioner’s Office, the European Data Protection supervisor and Kemp Little.

#bigdataws

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Don’t Miss…

What to expect on Day Two:

  • From M2M to the Internet of Things (IoT) and the central role of data
  • Gaining Value and trust in the Internet of Things and Big Data
  • Excelling in talent management: Investing in your most valuable asset, your employees, and bringing in cultural change
  • Data analytics for smart energy
  • Focus on the analytics to succeed with big data & data mining
  • Data analytics for the automotive sector
  • Investing in visualisation tools that simplify data analytics to improve its absorption from decision making functions
  • Boosting the organisation’s innovation by integrating its decision making with data analytics generated insights on customer needs
  • Acknowledging the rise of the digital marketeer and his role to drive engagement and minimise retention rates
  • Making big data a first class citizen of the enterprise

Click here to view the AGENDA.

Your Analytics and Big Data Expert Speakers Includes…

  • Thierry Bedos, CTO, Hotels.com
  • Pascal Moyon, Chief Digital Officer, lastminute.com
  • Robert Easton, Head of Google Cloud Platform UK&I, Google
  • Ed Child, Head of Customer Data & Marketing Effectiveness, Asda
  • Kacy Harding, Director of CDJ Decision Enablement, Philips
  • Simon Pack, Section Head Statistics & Data Management, Europe, P&G
  • Dr. Susan Wegner, Vcicer President Internet & Services, T-Labs, Deutsche Telekom
  • Gael Decoudu, Director, Global Analytics Decision Science, Vistaprint
  • Kiran Pande, Former Head of DW BI & CRM, Ladbrokes
  • Hermione Vaury, Head of Web Analytics, Air France
  • Jonas Vang, Global Director fir Search & User Experience, laterooms.com
  • Dan Senter, Reporting Centre of Excellence Manager, National Grid
  • Arturo Dell, Head of Business Intelligence, London Borough of Camden
  • Regis Hourdouillie, Smart Grid Director, Global Utility Team, Ericsson
  • Pierter Den Hamer, Big Data & Analytics Leader, Alliander
  • Surya Mukherjee, Senior Analyst, IT- Information Management, Ovum
  • Simon Griffiths, Business Intelligence Manager, BBC
  • Dr. Michael Weichert, Central Analytics Business Intelligence, Vodafone
  • Richard Sefl, Senior Lecturer in Analytics & Governance, University of Derby
  • Pietro Boggia, Principal – Automotive & Transportation, Frost & Sullivan
  • Zsuzsanna Belenyessy, Legal Officer, EDPS (European Data Protection Supervisor)
  • Carl Wiper, Senior Policy Officer (Policy Delivery), Information Commissioner’s Office
  • Nicola Fulford, Data Protection and Privacy Partner, Kemp Little LLP
  • Saverio Romeo, Principal Analyst, Beecham Research

Click here to view the FULL SPEAKER LINE-UP.

We look forward to welcoming those attending Day Two!

The Analytics and Big Data Team.

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