It’s problem Monday. A moment ago it was iTunes DRM annoying the hell out of me, and this morning it’s mobile operator front-end billing platforms. You know the kind I mean — the ones held together by sticky-tape and a lot of panicking by teams at Accenture, Detica or whoever it is that’s actually running the platforms.
Vodafone’s online billing service that allows you to login and check your bill is ok. OK. But it suffers from being thoroughly old. Forget Web 2.0 or even Web 1.0 — this is Web 0.0. Or 0.5. Clunky, quite slow and thoroughly uninformative at the best of times, these systems really are due a nice upgrade at some point.
The systems are causing frustration. Lots of frustration. Witness, here, an email from a rather influential purchaser of telecoms equipment in Europe. I’ve changed his name to Graham rather than give a clue to his identity. His company’s telecoms budget — which he controls — is in the millions. Add in their activities across Europe and it’s getting to Deutsche Post levels (See our story about Deutsche Post outsourcing their telecoms to Telefonica for 350m Euro).
Have a read of his email:
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Guess what? Gets a nice email from Vodafone telling me that my bill is available online – just like normal. I go online and just like normal absolutely nothing works, no online statement (how do I know what I am going to be charged?), no info on price plans, no detailed call breakdowns, zilch, nothing. What century are we in? This is rubbish.
I chose to stop getting printed statements because it’s not very green and also there is a lot of confidential information in an itemised bill. Vodafone save money by not sending out bills but quid pro quo they also need to make their IT systems work reliably.
I am converting thousands of mobile handsets, Blackberrys and 3G cards from T-Mobile to Vodafone at work because T-Mobile can’t run a piss up in a brewery and the signal quality sucks. Am I making a mistake? Is there actually a mobile company that knows how to run a business and understands the basics of keeping IT systems available?
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Not good, not good at all.
Alas what the consumer experiences is also what the executives experience. And this is one example of a really annoyed executive whom, I have no doubt, is going to be rather direct with his Vodafone account director when he or she arrives on site.
Still, at least the Voda system performs better than the T-Mobile Bollocks, as I affectionately like to call it. Here’s one indication as to why from a few months back.