SOURCE: Sterling Commerce

Sterling Commerce

June 09, 2010 09:00 ET

Customer Collaboration Is Top IT Priority for Telecommunications and Media Companies, According to New Survey

Survey Finds That Renewed Optimism in Economy Is Driving Increased Focus on Improving Sales and Customer Service Strategies

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - June 9, 2010) -  At the Billing & OSS World Conference & Expo, Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) company, today shared independent survey results on information technology (IT) priorities in the telecommunications and media industries. The survey found that 80 percent of these companies feel the recession is behind them or nearly halfway over. To prepare for spending growth, the vast majority of respondents (79 percent) plan to increase the focus on sales strategies and 63 percent indicate that better customer collaboration is of top importance.

With over one third of respondents seeing growth in IT budgets this year and optimism on the rise, the survey indicates that companies will invest in better serving their customer base by expanding into new sales channels and improving responsiveness of the sales process. When asked for top priorities for software investment, 91 percent of respondents indicated that better collaboration with customers, including sales and customer service, is a top concern. Ninety percent are focused on reducing IT costs and improving ROI while 88 percent indicated that improving business and IT agility is a priority as well.

Not surprisingly, when asked what areas need improvement, just under three-fourths of decision makers feel their company can perform better when it comes to controlling costs and improving ROI, which is always a top priority for businesses. However, the survey also found that 71 percent of respondents indicated better collaboration with customers was a priority but were not very satisfied with their current performance. Similarly, 64 percent of respondents felt this way in regards to improving e-commerce capabilities.

"Sterling Commerce works closely with communications and media companies to adapt their sales channels to meet evolving customer expectations that include the ability to provide customized services and content and overall order flexibility," said John Konczal, global industry executive, communications and media, Sterling Commerce. "These survey results indicate a desire to improve the sales process and customer collaboration because many IT managers are not satisfied with the performance of these processes. As the economy turns around, now is the time these companies must create flexible and cost effective customer-centric sales processes to succeed in today's competitive market."

As the economy moves toward recovery, eight in ten respondents plan to increase their focus on the sales process to improve revenue and reduce costs per sale. These priorities are then followed by customer-centric initiatives, such as improving the responsiveness of the sales process (87 percent), expanding into new sales channels, and adding business intelligence and business-to-business integration capabilities. The survey also found that:

  • Mobility is on the rise -- More than half of the respondents are currently using mobile commerce as a sales channel. Of those respondents that do not sell through a mobile channel, almost a quarter of them plan to implement this channel this year.
  • BI and B2B integration can help -- The top-named business solutions to improve the sales process were business intelligence (BI) and business-to-business (B2B) integration.

Full survey results and details on methodology are available here: http://www.sterlingcommerce.com/PDF/Sterling-Commerce-Report-Sales-Strategies-in-CME_4-23-10.pdf.

About Sterling Commerce
Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc (NYSE: T) company, helps companies optimize and transform their Business Collaboration Network to accelerate revenues and reduce costs. Sterling Commerce provides more than 18,000 customers worldwide applications and integration solutions to connect, communicate and collaborate inside and outside their enterprise. More information can be found at www.sterlingcommerce.com.

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