Kris Szaniawski, practice leader, service provider operations & IT, Ovum Consulting : “CSPs need to make better use of new platforms and applications to accelerate digital transformation, and in particular they need to leverage DNS data to deliver increased personalisation and meaningful customer interactions as they offer new value-added services.”

Kris Szaniawski, practice leader, service provider operations & IT, Ovum Consulting : “CSPs need to make better use of new platforms and applications to accelerate digital transformation, and in particular they need to leverage DNS data to deliver increased personalisation and meaningful customer interactions as they offer new value-added services.”

DNS data can improve customer experience by providing accurate intelligence to enable delivery of personalised services, according to a recent analysis by Ovum.

As CSPs reel under the pressure to increase revenues and strengthen consumer loyalty, the time is ripe for DNS (Domain name system) to move beyond the realm of passive internet look-up functionality, and enable digital transformation. A team of Ovum researchers carried out a survey of 100 global service providers in order to explore the changing needs of businesses and how DNS can contribute to a ‘subscriber-first’ approach.

Given the huge network, operations, service and customer data resources to which CSPs have access, they have an opportunity to improve how they integrate and make use of all of their data resources to support various business-driven challenges, like reducing time to market, improving business agility, increasing customer satisfaction and providing new value-added services.

Of the several technical challenges plaguing the CSPs, the survey found that one of the most acute ones was security. Protecting the network from malicious attacks is now viewed by operators as the most critical technology challenge. The increasing diversity of threat landscape makes it essential to opt for a “defence in depth” approach that makes use of multiple layers of security control. This kind of approach combines traditional methods with security and compliance solutions and intelligence-gathering tools, including big data security intelligence and analytics initiatives, and DNS-centric security approaches.

When it came to investment priorities, the survey discovered that rolling out and supporting new value-added services is currently the most urgent investment aim for CSPs. This is closely followed by the need to monetise the customer, including understanding and anticipating customer needs and enabling relevant communications and upselling opportunities. Ironically security concerns featured slightly below on the list; that might be due to the intense pressure CSPs are under to generate new revenues and demonstrate measurable growth.

While CSPs recognise the increasing demand for digital services, there are digital transformation challenges they face on the route to delivery of compelling new services. The lack of an E2E view of business processes and a shortage of internal technical expertise are the two biggest concerns for CSPs. Most CSPs are still relying heavily on CRM data and billing/payment information as their predominant source of data when analysing business problems such as customer churn or declining customer satisfaction levels. They are under-using potentially rich sources of interaction data such as website data, social media data and in-browser and online surveys. Almost a quarter of operators are unaware of the power of DNS in informing and potentially improving the customer experience, according to the global survey.

Given the urgent need for CSPs to roll out new value-added services to increase profit, it’s high time they realise that DNS-enabled services can help not just to adjust security controls in real time, but this same capability can also be used to support personalisation, subscriber-defined content control, customer communication and cross-sell.

There is a tendency for CSPs to play it safe and choose a big-name vendor as their digital transformation partner. But it shouldn’t overlooked that niche/vertical software vendors can help to address security issues and offer platforms to enable personalisation of customers’ online experience, hence enabling a ‘subscriber-first’ approach.