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Comverse Helps GCI Grow by Consolidating

GCI, an Alaska-based company providing voice, video and data communication services to residential, commercial and government customers, needed to consolidate its back-office systems to support convergence. GCI chose Comverse Inc., a provider of software and systems enabling network-based multimedia enhanced communications and billing services, to converge its customer view.

The challenge: To consolidate more than 40 back-office systems into a single framework of enterprise-grade solutions to reduce costs and position the company for future growth.

The solution: GCI selected numerous solutions within Comverses Kenan FX suite to support its business, including Kenan BP and Kenan Data Mediation.

The Result: Significantly increased the identification of cross-selling opportunities by utilizing a unified view of the customer, and decreased the time-to-market of new products, promotions and services by more than 75 percent from four months to two to three weeks.

Achieving True Convergence

Telecommunication service providers today offer more services than ever before, making multi-service convergence an increasingly hot topic in the marketplace. To deliver all of these offerings in a seamless fashion, operators must make it easy for customers to access the services they want when they want them.

To achieve the goal of true convergence with one view of the customer, industry analysts say that operators must tackle the daunting task of consolidating multiple billing, cus-tomer care and order management systems. Analysts agree that it is only by consolidating these multiple back-office systems that operators can diminish their internal silos and dif-ferentiate themselves with a bundled convergent offering and high-quality customer ex-perience. In doing so, they can also operate more cost-effectively and efficiently.

Streamlining Systems for Maximum Efficiency

A key to GCIs success is effectively bundling and cross-selling its services to improve customer retention, drive revenue and reduce customer acquisition costs.

Its bundling strategy has produced impressive results: Today, the majority of GCIs customers use two or more services from the company, contributing significantly to overall GCI revenue. As a result of bundling, GCI enjoys lower churn rates that decrease even further among customers using more GCI services.

But like many other convergent service providers, as GCIs business had grown, so too had the number of disparate systems supporting it. In order to continue to execute its bundling strategy and grow, GCI needed to focus on streamlining internal systems to drive efficiencies, reduce costs and position the company for future growth. GCI also sought to help its own call center staff better support GCI customers with a unified view of its customers accounts and services, which would enable up-sell opportunities as well.

To accomplish these goals, GCI launched an aggressive initiative called OneView, which consolidated more than 40 systems, including multiple legacy billing, orders, customer care, and other OSS-related systems into a single framework of enterprise-grade solu-tions.

GCIs motive for OneView was to make its back office infrastructure the key enabler of the companys growth strategy, providing the flexibility the business would need as it evolved.

Utilizing the Comverse Kenan FX Solution

GCI selected solutions within the Kenan FX suite to provide a single, integrated system to support orders, customer care and billing across its local and long distance, wireless and Internet services. In addition to selecting proven solutions, GCI also employed the expertise of Comverses Professional Services team to ensure a smooth implementation of a complex consolidation project:

Comverses Professional Services team worked closely with GCI and other partners to migrate data from four billing and numerous other systems onto the Kenan FX suite, in-cluding the Kenan BP billing engine and its Customer Center front end, Orders Modules and Kenan Data Mediation.

Comverses Orders Modules enable pre-integrated order entry, order fulfillment, and in-ventory management capabilities that work seamlessly with Kenan BP. With the Orders Modules, GCI can better manage customer requests from the point of acquisition through service activation to billing.

Comverses services organization also provided leadership in integration testing and troubleshooting throughout the project, training key partners and GCI employees.

The Customer Center aspect of Kenan BP provides a unified front end that supports the bulk of GCIs services, enabling staff to see a customers history and all services with a single platform. Customer Center interfaces with numerous other downstream applica-tions within GCI to maintain a holistic view of the customer. GCI also deployed Com-verses GUI Designer to easily configure Customer Center to meet individual look-and-feel and screen workflow requirements, giving the operator control over how the application is used within existing business processes.

GCI also implemented Kenan Application Integrator, enabling it to easily integrate other third-party OSS systems to enable flow-through provisioning for all services supported by Kenan FX.

Results Speak for Themselves

GCI is already reaping rewards from deploying the Kenan FX framework, such as:

A single system integrating customer care, orders and billing to support GCIs local and long distance, Internet and wireless subscribers replacing four disparate billing systems. This has significantly reduced total cost of ownership and total cost of implementation associated with GCIs OSS and BSS infrastructure.

A single order, billing and customer care framework across GCIs services, providing real-time flowthrough provisioning of orders and consistent rating of all services, ensur-ing timely and accurate processing and billing of all offerings.

More than 40 systems were integrated to replace or feed into or out of the Kenan FX framework, simplifying GCIs back-office infrastructure and reducing costs related to managing and maintaining multiple systems and third-party software.

Significantly reduced training time required for call center staff, as a result of using the unified front end of Kenan BPs Customer Center.

Call center staff can leverage a single view of the customer to provide high-quality, per-sonalized service and identify up-sell opportunities that enable increased customer reten-tion and drive new revenue. On average, 20 percent of calls into GCIs customer service center result in cross-sales and more than 50 percent of Internet customers upgrade to ca-ble modems.

GCI decreased the time-to-market for introducing new products, promotions and services by more than 75 percent. Previously, entering changes manually into each business units system took up to four months. With a single converged system, it now takes just two to three weeks.

As a result of the improved bundling capability, GCI can now capitalize on an increasing number of customers using multiple services. GCI estimates that its bundled customers are 75 percent less likely to churn.

Kenan FX enables GCI to expand into new markets and compete more aggressively by reducing the rollout of new products and bundled services in the market from weeks to days.

Comverse Inc. www.comverse.com

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