When you think about Alcatel-Lucent, you tend to think about network hardware.
However, as we reported when reviewing its end-of-year 2011 figures, the France-based vendor is suffering from an over reliance on outdated products in geographies that are experiencing low or negative growth.
Consequently, as we reported yesterday, the company is trying to change this by getting into new markets such as IP core routers.
Its other big push is around customer experience.
It is four years since A-L purchased software manufacturer Motive.
Since then European operators including BT, KPN and Swisscom have acquired Motive products, but it was only in February this year that A-L really found a coherent home for them.
Back then the company established Motive as the brand for its customer experience solutions.
It did so by launching Motive CXS – a portfolio of products based around four key themes: the management of devices, applications and services; analytics; driving profitability through optimization; and consulting services.
It was part of what CEO Ben Verwaayen called “an innovation pipeline of software assets” aimed at helping operators to adapt to the continuing explosion of data and content and, just as importantly, providing growth to A-L's flagging sales.
CXS registered double-digit growth in Q1 – the newer analytics and consulting solutions are actively deployed in 25 and 12 operators respectively, an A-L spokeman revealed.
Last week, A-L extended Motive CXS by offering it as a managed service called MSQA.
In a release detailing the launch, A-L claimed MQSA will monitor and improve aspects of the consumer experience “that have the most impact on their satisfaction with the service provider”.
This includes anything from dropped calls to issues with video downloads and connecting to the internet.
A-L’s CTO Marcus Weldon told European Communications that operators are “really interested in this pay-as-you-go model”, as opposed to buying specific kit outright”.
“It is a catalyst that enables them to deliver a great customer experience model,” he added.
Although the CTO (pictured) said it was aimed at all types of operators, he singled out those in the Tier 2 and 3 bracket who lack the requisite manpower in house as being particular targets.
CXS was more appropriate for Tier 1 operators, he suggested.
So why else would an operator choose one over the other?
A managed services approach can be more cost-effective by reducing capex/opex and “potentially” shortens time-to-market, according to A-L.
However, the real meat in the sandwich appears to be methodology developed by Bell Labs, A-L’s self-proclaimed innovation engine.
Although still patent-pending, the methodology is focused on eliminating trial and error from the selection of key quality indicators that measure customer satisfaction.
Jack Zatz, director of A-L’s managed services portfolio, said that there are “potentially hundreds” of KQIs, which meant selection of the right ones for your customer base along with the correct threshold ranges “is not a simple task”.
Bell Labs has developed complex statistical algorithms, rules and correlation methods to cut through the mine Big Data and determine which KQIs best match an operator’s needs, regardless of their business goals.
Once selected, the KQIs’ relationship to the network must also be determined and mapped out.
“Operators have a pivotal role to play in customer experience,” concluded Weldon.
Whether A-L can play an equivalent role in this value chain moving forward will become clearer throughout the year.