Working closely with the internal IT group at Viag Interkom, US Interactive delivered a highly complex e2e solution within a very strict deadline, a solution that took into account the important technological and service benefits the company wanted to pass onto its customers.
"We needed a supplier that could deliver an experienced team to us with the right skills sets and the right work ethic – plus a built-in management structure that could handle everything from business analysis to system analysis to project development with little or no lead time," says Ged Corney, Viag's customer administration manager for IT Mobile. "Over and above that, we needed a team that could work within Viag as part of the organization, not as an outsourced unit. US Interactive was able to deliver all that from day one."
Because they already had experience working together on other similar projects, the US Interactive team helped reduce the extremely short lead-time for the project's completion. Their range of experience and their flexibility, Corney says, saved time and money getting the project up to speed. US Interactive's European footprint was an important factor as well.
"For the project, US Interactive supplied people from all over the world," Corney explains, "but having a European and, particularly, a German presence relieved us of a lot of management overhead in terms of cross-cultural organization – issues like relocation costs, work permits and visas. The fact that they knew each another, and were used to working closely with clients, was a bonus."
The project was one of the most complicated that US Interactive had ever undertaken. To begin with, Corney points out, the German telecom market is highly sophisticated, well educated and very trend oriented, with young people a significant market niche. To capture this volatile market, Viag had developed a highly innovative technology to deliver their products. Deploying and then maintaining that innovative product lead was key to the success of Viag's business model.
The system Viag developed was Genion; a family of related products that allows customers to make and receive mobile phone calls at a fixed number and for the same price as a fixed line – within certain geographical limits. Within a particular home-zone, Genion allows calls to the customer's fixed number to be directed straight to their mobile phone at the fixed rate. In terms of marketing, Genion was targeted at those customers who didn't want to subscribe – or pay for – two different phone services. Technology this complicated demanded a tremendous amount of custom configuration in every part of the network from handsets to switching networks.
To implement Genion, Viag needed a fully integrated architecture that could manage an extremely complex set of processes for the business side as well as provide total information technology functionality involving everything from point of sale and service provisioning to customer car and billing – nearly every IT system in the mobile stack.
"What we had to deliver a set of complex integrations in a very short time frame," says Yogesh Suki, Project Manager for US Interactive Integration team at Viag . "In fact, before Viag and Genion, no other integrator had implemented an e-CRM with so much complexity. Working with Viag, we combined the right blend of skills, experience and technology to deliver a complete e2e solution. The systems running Vial's mobile operation today have built into them complex workflows and business processes."
US Interactive first implemented its e2e Technology Framework, an innovative architecture that allows access, communication and transaction of secure business data on multiple devices and across a variety of different platforms. US Interactive pioneered e2e Technology Framework to create state-of-the-art e-CRM solutions that leverage specific telecommunications domain knowledge for Global 2000 clients like Viag Interkom.
For the company's customer service operations, US Interactive built a single, unified view for their contact center agents, a customized extension of the Vantive CRM application. US Interactive went even further, integrating the customized Vantive application with back-end billing, provisioning, credit check, GIS, and a host of other applications so that all customer processes, including order management, could be made flow-through.
"We liked the US Interactive team for their flexibility and the experience they brought to the project," Corney says. "Not only did they offer us a wide variety of e-CRM and other applications, they came with a complete understanding of our requirements in those areas. They weren't just supplying a number of bodies; they supplied teams of people who had been pre-selected because of their understanding of the complex challenges we were facing, including a very tight deadline. As a result, US Interactive delivered the e2e solution we needed while consistently meeting or even beating those deadlines."
BENEFITS TO VIAG INTERKOM
The US Interactive e2e solution helped Viag Interkom enter the German communications market on time with an innovative technology and customer service platform far superior to their competitors. Agents took only three minutes to enter order details for customers compared to an earlier 20 minutes. After implementation, Viag customers could purchase a phone and an activated service plan in less than half an hour, while the competition took a minimum of three full days.
Because all customer information was available on a single application and all information flowed seamlessly into back-end systems with minimum intervention, Viag Interkom needed fewer people at their call centers and order fulfillment teams. These staff reductions cut the cost of customer operations substantially.