To improve communication with its distributors, Cellcom, the leading cellular communication company in Israel, decided to upgrade the technical solution it offers distributors of its products to private customers. The solution was provided by the Telecom and CRM Division of Matrix. “We didn’t take any chances but went straight for the best solution,” says Doron Pelah, Information Systems Manager at Cellcom.
Cellcom uses three main channels to sell to the private sector: (1) direct sales to customers, for example, by phone solicitation or through the Internet; (2) the company’s own service centers located all over the country; and (3) independent distributors who manage points of sale across the country.
In recent years the use of independent distributors as a sales channel to private customers has expanded greatly. Cellcom found that these distributors, of which there are hundreds, provide a much broader physical coverage than what the company itself could offer, substantially increasing the access of potential customers to services offered by Cellcom. “With increased use of distributors, the need arose for the development of a system that would provide a complete technological answer to our business needs and to those of the distributors, and at the same time observe the principles that have guided us all along: data security, quick response time, use of uniform technological infrastructures, data continuity, and more,” explains Doron Pelah.
The Business Problem
A comprehensive solution was needed to answer Cellcom’s needs. The original solution had been designed several years earlier and it was intended to support independent distributors who had just started working with the company, selling to private customers. The system was no longer able to meet the needs that had developed over the years. The legacy system was built around Microsoft technology and was set up as a limited, local answer intended to provide quick solutions to the business needs of a developing company. “No one intended then to develop a system that would serve the company in the long run. Its objective was to help us out temporarily. The local solution that was developed years ago internally, however efficient it may have been then, was no longer satisfactory. It was clear to us that in order to meet our needs and those of our distributors we need a more advanced and comprehensive system,” says Pelah.
The first step in the implementation of the new solution was the creation of a service unit charged with expanding the use of the computerized system according to business developments within the organization. Pelah explains that from the point of view of Cellcom this unit had a clear advantage. “Cellcom is a large and efficient organization. We therefore developed the ability to meet quickly changing needs and we led the industry in time-to-market. But as with every service unit, after a certain operational period we understood that quick answers no longer satisfied us, that we must think of a more structured, technologically advanced solution, which would keep the company at leading edge of answering customer needs.”
Cellcom adopted the solution proposed by the Telecom and CRM Division of Matrix. The Telecom and CRM Division assumed responsibility for the development of an online distributor system that would enable sales by hundreds of Cellcom distributors. The Matrix solution has become Cellcom’s central sales system to private customers. In a second stage of development, Matrix expanded the solution based on .NET technology.
The new system enables distributors to access all the relevant information needed to execute a customer transaction: the device currently owned by the customer, personal data, the services to which customer is subscribed, and the call minutes used per month. Based on this information, distributors can execute sales operations: upgrading or purchasing a device, purchasing additional services, etc. On the other hand, Cellcom can also produce reports and statistical analyses of sales data by various cross-sections such as distributor activity, the effect of various sales, customer value, and more.
The system consists of three layers: (1) the display or user interface layer, based on ASP and .NET 2.0 technology; (2) the business layer, built by means of advanced technologies such as Ajax; and (3) the data access layer (DAL), which was developed using ADO.NET 2.0 in conjunction with a COM/Enterprise Library working with an SQL Server 2000 database. Business procedures were interfaced with various other systems, such as the Amdocs billing system, SAP, and BizTalk through Microsoft MSMQ and Web Services technology.
Pelah explains the reasons that led Cellcom to choose the Telecom and CRM Division of Matrix: “We looked for a solution provider who can be our partner all the way, who understands the world in which we live, the marketing and business constraints that we are up against, and who can provide real added value to the operation of the system. At Matrix we found everything we were looking for. Our work relationship with the Telecom and CRM Division goes back many years and embraces all areas of activity of the Information Systems Division at Cellcom. Over the years Matrix provided us with quality and consistent service. Thus, we were able to determine with a high degree of confidence that in the current case we will also receive a complete and comprehensive solution, and this is exactly what happened. There is no question that in outsourcing such a central system a great deal of confidence is needed between customer and vendor, especially when it is a question of such a critical path for the organization as sales and service. I am happy to report that our decision regarding Matrix proved to be most fortunate. We found once again that we did not take any risks but chose to go with the best solution.”
The Telecom and CRM Division of Matrix
The Telecom and CRM Division of Matrix is among the leading solution providers in the Israeli telecom market. Matrix has had a long relationship with Cellcom. “This involvement in the organization life, and our understanding of their organizational terminology have enabled us to create a solution that completely and perfectly answers Cellcom’s needs. When a project of this nature is outsourced, one of the most important things is trust and cooperation between the partners, reaching a situation in which the customer senses that the both sides have a common interest and they create a common front. In our view, this is the greatest accomplishment of this project,” says Ziva Hayat, manager of business development of the Telecom and CRM Division of Matrix. “Naturally, above and beyond all this, we achieved the technological and business objectives of the system, which continues to provide stable and successful service in support of the client’s sales process. The system supports special sales and other business requirements of Cellcom. From the technological point of view, the system was upgraded to the .NET environment, while maintaining business continuity and the level of service provided to Cellcom.”
To CRM Solution