All posts by Vinod Kumar

Why Trust Matters In The Digital World

Digital preferences

Our lives stand ‘appified’ today with most aspects of it being fully controllable by our phones and tablets by way of a few applications. Be it buying groceries, dealing in real estate, seeking health advice, finding life partners or even the security of the houses we live in, everything is digital and remains accessible at the click of a button. However, despite the wide range of apps and services available at our disposal, there are a few that are widely adopted. Others exist, but without being of much importance to you. Isn’t it?

If we take a closer look at your digital activities, we can uncover an interesting phenomenon. Each of us have a single ‘preferred’ app for every purpose, and seldom use any other alternative application/service for that purpose. For instance, while there might be two or more e-commerce giants operating in a region, we all have that one app amongst the two where we always buy from. There might be multiple platforms that provide cab aggregations services, but we book our cabs from one of them, always. There might be multiple payment apps that are popular, but we always have our preference of one app over the rest. Have we wondered why?

The secret ingredient

The immediate answers could vary from being as simple as “great design” to something as complex as “compatibility with other downstream processes”. However, there is an underlying element that determines what apps one adopts, and that is ‘Trust’. We adopt an app/product/service because we trust its ability to deliver a great experience. We adopt it because we trust it to be secure. We adopt it because trust their delivery to be reliable. We adopt it because we trust their prices to be fair. The reasons for developing this trust might be numerous, but that fact remains that those apps/products/services that are able to infuse the necessary trust are the ones that make it big. The rest just exist.

Why trust matters

Digitalization has changed our lives in more ways than we can imagine. What makes it even more interesting is the pace of these changes and their impact on businesses. Today, status quo is transient and does not ensure security or leadership in the market. Businesses face the risk of obsolescence if they fail to innovate or adapt and hence there is a need to be ahead of the curve in every aspect of business – be it technology, business models, strategy or customer engagement. In this backdrop, the one aspect that lies at the intersection of opportunities, risks and vulnerabilities is Trust. Trust is the centerpiece for every interaction on a personal, societal and business level — in both traditional and digital business models. With the lines blurring between the digital and physical worlds, multiple disparate elements like people, processes and products come together to work in tandem. Digital Business revolves around agile and ephemeral digital interactions and leverages digital supply chains that are established dynamically to enable each interaction. In such a scenario Digital Trust becomes the key enabler for high quality digital interactions by measuring and quantifying expectations of an entity – specifically validating who or what it claims to be, and if it will behave in an expected manner within a digital business transaction. Digital Trust is viewed as the lifeblood or currency of digital business, and it wraps around every aspect of digital business.

This article was originally published on Entrepreneur print magazine.

why trust matters in the digital world

Agility or perfection? What’s the key to business success?

This blog was originally published on LinkedIn by Vinod Kumar.

Ask a group of people to choose between the words ‘agility’ and ‘perfection’ and it is most likely that the majority would choose ‘perfection.’ This is because most people,[1] including myself, have what I would like to call a ‘perfection mindset’. Perfection was the central focus in the early part of my career and I spent a considerable time and effort to ensure every small thing was done flawlessly. However, it also meant that I had to trade off on the amount of work that can be achieved during a period of time. On top of this it also added an overall sense of pressure. Just the thought of starting out on a project itself was difficult with a perfection mindset. What should be that perfect opening or perfect background? You can sit and think about it for days. This is when I made the conscious decision to retrain myself to make the move from a perfection to an agile mindset.

Asking the vital question

I must stress here that it is vital to remember that both agility and perfection are equally important.  What is pertinent then is to answer the question of which mindset is more context relevant. Let me explain. Perfection has a lasting appeal. The Taj Mahal wouldn’t be one of the wonders of the world if every inch of it were not perfect. The same holds true for the many magnificent sculptures, paintings and monuments created with utmost perfection that they continue to delight and inspire everyone for generations. However, in the current world of limited attention, information overload and rapid change isn’t it better to be agile that perfect?

When the power went out for thirty-four minutes during the 2013 US Superbowl, Oreo seized the opportunity with a tweet that read “Power Out? No problem” accompanied with a picture of a starkly-lit image of an Oreo cookie along with the caption, “You can still dunk in the dark.”[2] Viewers loved Oreo’s quick and witty take on the situation and the tweet was retweeted 10,000 times in one hour—bringing the brand unprecedented levels of customer engagement. The brilliance of tweet lay in the agility of the brand to respond in the moment, and not in the perfection of the ad copy.

Whether it is a developing a tech product or solving a business problem the present environment will benefit more from an agile mindset than a perfection mindset. We see that even companies that refused to take on a more agile approach to innovation have failed. Erstwhile popular brands like Kodak, Xerox and Blockbuster all failed to innovate as fast as their changing environment.[3]

Why agile is the answer?

Customers in today’s environment are driven by rapidly evolving expectations, an increasing desire for personalization and demand for speed—making it vital to get products and solutions out to the market quickly. This calls for an agile mindset. Creating a product, deploying it in the market and iterating with continuous feedback is much better approach than developing a perfect product in a linear fashion that may never make the mark. Applying an agile mindset improves not just products and solutions, but can extend to transforming organizational value as well. A 2018 Forbes Insights study of more than 1,000 C-level executives worldwide, found 81 percent of respondents citing organizational agility as critical component in leading a successful organization.[4] Choosing agile over perfection is the logical imperative we need.

Do you agree that agility works better than perfection in the present environment? What changes would you consider as the necessary steps to adopt an agile mindset?

I would love to hear your views on what you would choose—agility or perfection.





Subex User Conference 2013

Subex User Conference 23rd and 24th Crowne Plaza, Blanchardstown, Dublin

It is that time of year again when we look forward to our annual User Conference. It has rapidly become one of the most sought after events in the BSS calendar. Not just for the range of speakers but also for the focus on our roadmap and plans. And, of course, for a little relaxation.

Last year we were in Vienna, a truly beautiful city. The sessions were excellent, with keynote speaker Daniel Rui Felicio, CEO, Siemens Communications, Media and Technology kicking off the proceedings. Alex Leslie, Publisher of industry blog BillingViews followed him with his ‘More Interesting Things’ in which he explored some of the more interesting trends and statistics in our industry, such as DNA that you can email and paper that is interactive. Speakers included Paul Fedarb from BT, Dan Baker from TRI in North America and our own John Brooks, who has just been named as the project leader for the TM Forum’s Asset Assurance program. To relax we were treated to a guided tour of some of the most famous buildings in Europe, followed by a traditional dinner under the city walls.

This year we turn to Dublin, a great city. Not only will be exploring the city (and a Guinness or two) we have a great line up of speakers and topics. Our keynote speaker is Dr. Peter Cochrane, former CTO at BT and acknowledged industry visionary. We have also asked Alex Leslie back, for some ‘Even More Interesting Things’ and have added a couple of extra industry experts in the shape of Tony Poulos, Market Strategist with the TM Forum and Eric Priezkalns, Editor of revenue assurance blog, TalkRA.

With such a line up, we can look forward to some lively debate between these often controversial figures, some excellent insights into where our industry is going and an in-depth look at what we have been busy with in the last year.

And, as you have possibly heard, we have been very busy.

We have, for instance, launched our Asset Assurance platform, which has been getting some attention in the media, “Take the Stranded Assets Tests! How to Maximize Time to Revenue?”. With financial control and agility being the critical requirements for CTOs and CFOs our solution gives them the tools they need (and their priorities tend to be different) to better manage their OSS assets, reducing time to revenue and allowing them to make better decisions about when to retire others.

We have not been neglecting our other core strengths, and our ROC platform is stronger than ever. It needs to be to help our customers fight ever greater threats from fraud, whether it be at the Point of Sale or on the Wholesale front. Both are threats that stretch into the billions of dollars and need a partner that can remain up to date and as agile as ever to combat these threats.

Our outlook is robust too. With some significant changes since we saw you in Vienna, our revenues are up, our customers and partners are happy and we have been winning some industry awards, such as the Pipeline Innovation Award for our Asset Assurance solution.

All in all, it is has been an interesting, exciting and challenging year. We are all looking forward to seeing you in Dublin to bring you up to date, share some stories and a glass or two of wine – or Guinness – and to provide some insights which will help your teams stay ahead of the game. Our team is working hard behind the scenes to make sure it goes ahead smoothly and provides great value and benefit. We look forward to seeing you there.

If you need more information, then please contact us.

How to save millions in Network Capex?

Effective capital expenditure and network asset management is rapidly becoming a big boardroom issue for telecoms operators in recent times. With decreasing EBIDTA and ever increasing pressure on margins, operators can no longer afford to keep on spending heavily on capital assets and network projects with no questions asked. Yet telcos are not managing their assets adeptly, and this is something that senior management needs to address with some urgency in order to control their capital expenditure more effectively and efficiently.

At the crux of the problem is the unfortunate reality that operators don’t have an accurate picture of what assets and network inventory they already own, let alone how these assets are being used. These problems have prompted Subex to launch ROC Asset Assurance, a service that combines inventory management with workflow and analytics so that operators can gain visibility into the complete asset lifecycle through dashboards, KPIs and reports. The solution is different from asset management services because of its workflow and analytics elements. It can initiate workflow to ensure that all the applicable assets are procured and deployed when needed. All of which means that operators should be able to and reduce their capital expenditure and manage the capacity needs of their networks with greater precision

Here is an interesting and exciting short video on ROC Asset Assurance which provides you better understanding of the Asset Assurance space, the problems and challenges faced by global operators and how ROC Asset Assurance can help them manage and reduce network capex.

Asset Assurance: Leveraging our Experience, Maximizing the Network

Over the years we have gained a deep understanding of the culture within telcos. We are best known, through the ROC, as specialists in Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management. As such, we know how to deliver different views of the same data.

Having successfully done this in the BSS world, we have turned our attention to the networking side of the business. Controlling costs and optimizing network capital investment are priorities for the business and managed by the CFO’s office. Optimal usage of the network assets and manage traffic effectively are under the control of the CTO’s office.

Both offices need access to the same information but in different ways. With different priorities, sharing the same information without interpretation or tailored analytical choices would make communications between the two entities very difficult.

A CFO needs to know how many assets are stranded and therefore not producing revenue. Right now, the status and whereabouts of only 75 percent of a telco’s assets are known. Knowing where assets are, knowing how long an asset is in place before it is revenue producing and knowing that delaying an investment for a month makes financial sense is of huge importance to a CFO.

Understanding which assets can be re-used in other parts of the network, or which need to be retired can help the CTO with his priorities. Some assets can be effectively re-sold, so what is a retirement to the CTO becomes a possible source of revenue for the CFO.

We believe that creating a view into network assets will benefit both offices and create a better collaboration between them. Revenue Assurance can provide a financial view of IT assets, which adds a new and effective dimension to that craft. So, too, Asset Assurance adds the tools to the network capex side of the business to actively manage it. We not only believe it, we know it. Working with one of our customers we found $17 million of stranded assets in a single week. Better yet, Asset Assurance also benefits the customer.

Talk to a Telecoms Manager about what he would like from his telecoms provider and he will not say more accurate bills as a priority. He accepts that billing is complex and accepts that his comms bill will never be 100 percent accurate. What he would like more than anything is to know what inventory is in place in his organization, where it is, whether it is still live and whether he is paying for it. This can be discovered with Revenue Assurance tools, but now the communication providers can actively manage the whole inventory issue with the new Asset Assurance solution.

By leveraging our experience in Revenue Assurance and Fraud Management in the OSS world, we are now proud to be able to offer solutions and expertise to operators in all of the vital parts of their business, including network. And we are already proving that this concept of asset assurance is important in managing assets more effectively and efficiently.  We also believe, like many such solutions, that we will discover uses for Asset Assurance that we cannot quite see yet. We will keep you up to date with the story as it unfolds.

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