Ready, aim, fire – CSPs must put individual users at the centre of the digital value chain
User lifecycle management enables robust digital identity to put every individual user at the centre an increasingly digital communications service provider experience, Gemini Waghmare, the chief executive of UXP Systems tells George Malim
As CSPs move to a digital services architecture and ecosystem, digital identity plays an increasingly important role in helping to ensure individual user entitlements for digital services and for enabling personalisation of these offers and services. The concept remains relatively new, but market leading CSPs providing all types of services are now embracing digital identity as a means to serve users better and to comply with privacy protection regulations.
“CSPs so far have taken a ready, fire, aim approach to digital services,” explains Waghmare. “You see CSPs, such as, Vodafone, Telefónica and Rogers, partnering with providers such as Spotify; creating relationships where they are able to bill and entitle devices with one account holder. The CSP will put together a service bundle for their subscriber, but problems start to occur because they have no ability to create three sets of Spotify accounts with individual identities for family members of the original account holder.”
It’s as if CSPs are being criticised for doing almost everything right. “They’ve partnered and brought the offering to market, and then their call centre gets flooded with queries from parents because they want to know how their kids use these services in a more individualised way,” adds Waghmare. “But they can’t. This shouldn’t be how it is.”
CSPs are growing their awareness and using digital identity systems to manage these types of entitlements, and that is helping them to move past the notion of an individual account holder. “They don’t know what they don’t know, and this is not a simple problem to solve,” says Waghmare. “The only way CSPs can address these issues is not just with digital identities, but by creating an overlay stack to manage the digital life of the consumer. We’re a component of that stack, so we see CSPs coming to us, having realised that their existing stack won’t work.”
Waghmare adds that entitlements are just one aspect of the challenge CSPs face; personalisation is a key battleground. “Identity isn’t being used very well today because CSPs have very little knowledge of their users on a one-to-one basis,” he says. “They don’t manage profiles of their users. They know the identity of a device, but not much more, and this is an area that CSPs must improve upon if they are to remain relevant in the digital world.”
However, with increased personalisation comes a greater need for privacy and CSPs are increasingly being required to protect users’ privacy. In the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) puts a significant responsibility on CSPs, because of the information about users they collect, and will continue to collect, as more and more users consume digital services. Other jurisdictions also have laws that aim to put every user back in control of the personal data they generate, as they navigate the digital services that surround them.
“Multi-billion dollar businesses are targeting the end user and governments are now saying that most users are aware of this, but they need to protect the rights of consumers,” explains Waghmare. “The GPDR in Europe and PIPEDA in Canada are aiming to catch up with privacy issues and it’s the CSP’s, but not only the CSP’s, responsibility to protect users. The CSP is already in a position where they have to gain consent from me, as a user, to access relevant data, and there’s a real opportunity here for the CSP to become a trusted broker between the user and these businesses.”
As part of the management of the user lifecycle, UXP Systems’ ULM offering acts as the central consent and privacy management interface for each user, managing their consent settings and privacy lifecycle on behalf of all services offered by the CSP. “When we look at privacy management, it’s only one of the solution areas of user management and digital identity,” says Waghmare. “When we talk about lifecycle it’s about getting the user on-board, so the information can be used for personalisation. It’s the only logical place where you would want to manage privacy as well.”
“If, for example, a Vodafone ID is created using our user lifecycle platform for logging in and accessing their services, the ID will also be used to manage these services. Privacy is just a feature of the user lifecycle model,” he adds. “We have said for a long time that for CSPs to be able to personalise services effectively, they need to get to the individual user. Privacy is just a natural extension of user lifecycle management.”
The message appears to be getting through and Waghmare says UXP Systems is seeing significant market traction among CSPs. “We’ve had a great year,” he acknowledges. “We’ve been fortunate to have the world’s largest mobile operator (Vodafone) and the world’s largest cable provider (Liberty Global) as customers. The industry has grown into recognising that user lifecycle management and digital identity’s time has come.”
“The industry must transition to a digital identity-centric world,” Waghmare adds. “If you look at the decades of investment in customer lifecycle management, it’s still important, but it’s missing the requirement to manage a relationship with every customer. CSPs see digital services, personalisation and digital access as a means to streamline their costs. When we started in 2011, I remember having battles with CSPs who said the device number was the customer identity and nothing else was needed. I don’t hear that argument anymore. The industry has moved on.”
category: Expert Opinions