In an industry that thrives and survives with partnership, there is more behind those handshakes. A study sponsored by Amdocs revealed that partners are actually in a "battle" to own the customer experience.
The global study conducted by Coleman Parks from June to July 2012 sought to study how partnerships in the industry work - how partners view the partnership, what each partner brings to the table, and what forms these partnerships take.
The partnerships studied include those among service providers, over-the-top players (OTTs), and device manufacturers. Coleman Parks interviewed 50 global service providers, 35 OTT and Internet players, and 15 device manufacturers.
The study revealed that while the partners all recognise the value of partnerships, they have different views about who owns the customer.
For the 100 respondents included in the study, all types of partners agree that strategic partnerships are important to make their business grow and they expect this importance to grow in the years to come.
"One of the key findings of this research is that while service providers, device manufacturers and over-the-top players may have different sets of interest, they increasingly recognise the need for collaboration and partnership to achieve common goals," said Rebecca Prudhomme, vice president for product and solutions marketing, Amdocs.
However, when it comes to the issue of owning customers, 66 percent of service providers said they "must" own the customers when they go into partnerships, and only 13 percent of device manufacturers and 14 percent of OTTs see themselves as ceding ownership of the customer experience.
Contrary to the notion that each considers each other a threat, the study also noted that 70 percent of service providers consider working with OTTs as an opportunity, with 62 percent saying that partnering with OTTs is a strategy to "counter or eliminate the OTT threat."
"We were surprised that service providers view OTT players as an opportunity, not a threat, and by the broad agreement on the value of service providers' core assets," said Ian Parkes, Coleman Parkes.
The study also noted that the different partners bring different offerings to the table and have different expectations from the partnerships.
The survey found that all three partners are willing to offer and expose their core assets to make the partnership work.
While all three types of partners agree that they engaged in partnerships to raise revenues and cut costs, 40 percent of service providers said they expect to extend their network reach through partnerships. Meanwhile, device manufacturers find value in partnering if they can deliver a seamless experience as well as quality of service (QoS). Sixty-nine percent of OTT players cite QoS as important to their ability to compete and survive.
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