• Who? Liberty Global, the world’s largest international cable company providing quad-play services in 14 countries.
• What? The company partnered with Infosys to implement an omnichannel enablement layer, decoupled from core IT enablers, allowing it to launch new digital services faster, personalize customer engagement, and minimize the cost of sales and service.
• How? The company used TM Forum Frameworx to map and validate processes and functionality, and build and define standardized interfaces.
• Results? Liberty Global has launched more than 20 new digital services in ten European markets. In every subsequent country where services have been launched, the rollout has happened within two to three months with 75 percent total effort reusability. A traditional approach would have yielded less than 30 percent reusability.
With 25.8 million customers in Europe, Liberty Global is the largest international cable company. During the past four years, the company has made significant progress on the road to omnichannel, including development of a new custom omnichannel digital ecosystem, built using TM Forum’s Frameworx standards and best practices.
Drivers for change
The core business drivers for change were to:
• increase customer engagement across multiple channels for self-sales and self-care, making the online channel the top commercial and customer-preferred option while enabling personalized customer interactions and journeys;
• enable new digital services such as enhanced over-the-top (OTT) video services, Wi-Fi Internet and smart communication services in order to bring the ‘at home’ experience to customers when they’re away from home by enabling them to access services anywhere on any device.
Ratko Popovski, Vice President, Business and Solution Architecture, Liberty Global, and Member of Executive Committee, TM Forum, says, “The fact is that modern technology is consistently further empowering the customer. The customer knows he/she is in charge and they demand flawless customer experience across all channels, whether traditional or new-age. The challenge of the IT organization is to create an agile IT ecosystem which enables rapid omnichannel business capabilities while dealing cost-effectively with the constant increase in IT complexity.”
Standardization speeds it up
Liberty Global introduced an omnichannel enablement layer that standardized IT services for customer experience applications, bringing a consistent experience across channels and avoiding customization. The company partnered with Infosys to industrialize the omnichannel enablement layer into a platform for 24/7 availability and reusability across channels and markets. The platform abstracted complex functionality of the core operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS).
“IT was able to meet the business demand for launching multiple innovative services and digitizing sales and care,” says Jeff Rouse, European Direction CIO Online and Data Services, Liberty Global. “We used this architecture for multiple rollouts in different markets – it was a true enabler for us.”
Liberty Global and Infosys used core elements of TM Forum’s Frameworx to speed design and delivery of processes, information models and application program interfaces (APIs), as well as to enable reuse in subsequent deployments.
Specifically, Liberty Global based its information model for many of the omnichannel enabler capabilities, such as the web integration layer, customer hub, product catalog and order management, on TM Forum’s Information Framework (SID). The Business Process Framework (eTOM) was used to map and validate process coverage for these applications, while the Application Framework (TAM) was used to map the functionality coverage. The REST API Design Guidelines were used to build standardized reusable interfaces and avoid customization, and the Catalog-to-Catalog Interface helped define federation patterns across the landscape catalogs.
“Frameworx was the perfect basis for architecture for designing our processes and data models, and it made it easier for us to compare against other industry solutions,” says Rigas Parathyras, Solution Architect Digital, Liberty Global.
The new ecosystem has enabled Liberty Global to quickly launch new digital products and services, and new sales and care capabilities. It has also allowed the company to modernize its architecture and standardize IT services across markets, resulting in a reduction in both capital and operating costs.
It has launched more than 20 new digital services across ten European markets. In every subsequent country where services have been launched, the rollout has happened within three to four months with 75 percent total effort reusability. A traditional approach would have yielded less than 30 percent reusability.
• Some services, such as Horizon Go OTT player, were launched in a fast-track mode. The initial IT costs for launching this service were high, but new services can now be scaled quickly and at optimal costs in more countries. Liberty Global attributes this to the fact that the APIs were designed based on the Information Framework and created in line with TM Forum REST API guidelines, so customization is minimum. Rollouts also became more predictable with low risk.
• New digital capabilities like personalized sales and advanced self-care increased the unassisted channel adoption by 35 percent, with an increase of 30 percent in online orders and 20 percent in digital transactions. This brought Liberty Global a step closer to making online its number one commercial channel, and the investment had paid for itself within 16 months.
Building on progress
Next, the company plans to continue enhancements of the omnichannel enablement layer to enable further digital penetration. In parallel, it is considering upgrades and modernization in the overall IT core enablement stack. This will ensure alignment of omnichannel capabilities and readiness for the IT blueprint of the future.
Popovski adds, “Frameworx compliance has for years been a very important factor in the vendor/asset selection process for Liberty Global. Adding the omnichannel dimension in the certification criteria for Frameworx compliance increases that importance even more. It supports the premise of easier replacement or addition of individual components in the IT ecosystem without breaking the existing omnichannel experience or other business and IT capabilities.”
Paying it forward
Having reaped the benefits, Liberty Global has become a much more active contributor within TM Forum to share what it has learned, especially in the Customer Centricity Program, with a focus on customer experience management and omnichannel. When further rolling out new digital services and channels, Liberty Global will be aligning them more closely with TM Forum’s omnichannel guidelines and best practices.
Rigas Parathyras concludes, “During the TM Forum Action Weeks and as part of the Customer Centricity Program, we have shared the insights we have gained around omnichannel enablement and rolling out new digital services. Taking part at TM Forum gives us the chance to quickly get the latest insights into what is happening in the industry. We have also contributed by bringing customer experience management into Frameworx 15.0 and by giving input into the planning for further enhancements for Frameworx on domains such as omnichannel, customer order management and product catalog.”