Customer experience is everything, which is why businesses are always working to get it right. According to estimates, the global customer experience market will reach $14 billion by 2025. While technology has made it easier for companies to stay in touch with customers, meet their expectations and tap into their opinions, the sheer volume of interactions between the user and service providers and the availability of millions of data points, makes it more challenging to optimise these.
Here is where a company like Comviva Technologies enables enhancement of customer experience, particularly through customer value management, broadly defined as a series of measures to help businesses understand what drives value for customers, measure their own performance against that of their competitors, and take steps to create a sustainable competitive advantage.
Comviva is a global leader in mobile solutions with an extensive portfolio of solutions spanning digital financial services, customer value management, messaging and broadband solutions and digital lifestyle services. It enables service providers to enhance customer experience, rationalise costs and accelerate revenue growth. The company is a subsidiary of Tech Mahindra and a part of the $21 billion Mahindra Group.
The Comviva story is a rare and unique success story of an India-based software product enterprise. Technology solutions from the company, a majority of them in the telecom, banking and financial services industries, have touched the lives of over 2 billion people across the world in almost 100 countries.
Advanced AI and ML to enhance customer lifetime value
Comviva’s flagship solution MobiLytix™ is a key component of their value proposition. A next generation analytics platform, MobiLytix™, which has been recognised as a leading player in its space by leading research firms like Gartner and Forrester, is a comprehensive Customer Value Management solution for communications and digital service providers. It helps drive incremental revenue for them with the help of advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms.
MobiLytix combines AI modelling capabilities with real time execution to help its clients enhance their customer lifetime value. “Theoretically, this may sound straightforward, but it is actually challenging since the solution needs to build intelligence from millions of data interactions and serve compelling propositions. And all of this in real time. This needs immense computing power and a high degree of contextual and relevant real time capabilities. We need extremely well-designed advanced analytics, machine learning algorithms and also the capability to interact with the customer in real time,” says Amit Sanyal, SVP & Chief Operating Officer - Consumer Value Solutions at Comviva.
Explaining how they enable their clients to provide better user experience for their existing customers while also driving better business opportunities, Amit says, “The core of our value proposition is advanced machine learning based customer value management.”
He explains in detail, “There are three building blocks for making the right decisions at the right time and these are the three building blocks for MobiLytix™. These deliver a combination of deep customer insights with real time execution capabilities.”
The first and most central capability around MobiLytix™ is Behavioural DNA which essentially is the customer’s profile. The Behavioural DNA of a customer in the AI and machine learning world is built over time as a result of interaction between the algorithm and the customer. “Our Behavioural DNA dictionary contains 1,500 features of which we have seen our customers using maybe couple of 100,” says Amit.
The second building block is an analytics platform, called AI at Scale, which enhances the Behavioural DNA with prescriptive and descriptive analytics. “It helps enrich the Behavioural DNA identifiers by collating data from multiple sources not limited to data available within the customer’s network. This also contains a visual studio for building models,” he says.
The third building block is a real time execution platform that matches customers’ enriched profile information with real time events and makes real time decisions, for example what kind of offer to make, and which channel to use to make the offer etc.
Tech excellence along with core business expertise
“Additionally, alongside this core platform we also offer optional services around data science for managed marketing services, such as pricing segmentation, consumer behaviour analysis, among others,” says Amit, adding that this offering is one of the main reasons why they stand apart from the competition.
“Customer value management with advanced analytics is undoubtedly a competitive market because it’s a very evolving field and the customer is also learning. We believe we stand apart for two main reasons. Firstly, we are deep experts on the business side of CVM rather than being a pure tech player, and marry industry and domain knowledge with engineering excellence. Secondly, we believe that tech can only take you so far -- hence the two layers of optional services which very few of our competitors provide. Our experience in the industry coupled with the services complementing the tech solution sets us apart,” he says.
They currently operate in over 100 countries, with a focus on AI and analytics in Southeast Asia (including India), Middle East, Europe and Latin America. “The biggest challenge in ML-driven CVM is how do you measure impact? The key success metric for most organisations is delivery of incremental revenue, and better customer experience also translates into this. Some of our deployments in a developed market scenario have been instrumental in achieving net incremental revenue of five to seven percent. In terms of absolute value, this is in multiples of millions of dollars,” he says.
Citing an example of the kind of impact that Comviva’s solutions have had in emerging markets, Amit offers a before and after scenario where switching over from a simple, business rule-based marketing function to an ML algorithm-based decisioning for real time execution led to as much as 3x to 5x difference in revenues. “Over time, this plateaus out into 12-15 percent incremental revenue,” he shares.
Focus on building a strong partner ecosystem
Comviva’s solutions have been focused on the telecom and banking industries for the past several years. The company’s future growth plans include diversification both from an industry perspective as well as in their offerings. From being a pure play tech /platform provider, they plan to expand their portfolio to include data science services as a separate offering.
Talking about challenges that they foresee in the near future, Amit says, “We believe there needs to be a well-established and mature partner ecosystem for AI and ML-based CVM solutions. We don’t claim that we are superheroes and don’t necessarily have everything that’s required to cover the entire market. One of the challenges is how do we create such an ecosystem of complementary products and services around our own products and solutions, and facilitate seamless integration?”
According to Amit, one of Comviva’s key focus areas is the convergence of digital and analytics across industry segments. Terming this as both a challenge and an opportunity, Amit says going forward this will emerge as a key market driver. According to him, other noteworthy trends to keep an eye out for are:
- Revenue-driven applications which will drive the adoption of AI and ML as we are moving beyond the hype and novelty of AI and ML to see how they make business sense
- Amalgamation of AI and ML with digital experiences backed up by advances analytics
- A huge focus on ML-driven automation of complex activities, such as marketing automation
- Greater adoption of AI and ML by domains which are not traditionally known for being tech-friendly, such as finance (fraud analytics) and HR. From a very basic tech presence, these functions within organisations are taking a huge leap straight into AI and ML.
Watch out for the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Innovation Awards 2019 powered by Comviva Technologies at TechSparks 2019, to recognise excellence in AI-and ML-powered innovations for the banking and telecom industry.