The Big Data Era

v4-portal_home_laptop

plan.com burst onto the scene back in 2014 with their brash claims about disrupting the market and some bold advertising to boot. The focus of their operation has been enabling partners to succeed using innovative technology, via their portal. Today, and nearly 600 partners later, version 4 of the portal has been released. David Dungay caught up with Co-Founder Keith Curran to see how the story has developed.

plan.com has previously concentrated their efforts on enabling partners to behave and act like the network operator. Curran said, “We have done that, but we actually wanted to enable partners to do things even the network operator struggles to do in terms of operational speed and flexibility. Version 4, or V4, is pushing the perception barriers of what a portal actually is. Great portals give you what you want, ground breaking portals give you things you weren’t expecting. V4 is ground breaking and what we would call a smart portal.”

If you have been around the Channel for long enough you will learn to take such claims with a pinch of salt, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding… and plan has developed one hell of a pudding!

What do I mean by this?

Today, we are generating more data than ever before. 90% of all the data in the world has been created in the last two years. We are truly in a ‘Big Data’ era. However, as Keith points out, handling data in the quantities we produce it today is fraught with challenges.

He said, “There is almost too much data today. The answers are in there but you could waste a lot of time looking for them and perhaps not even find the answers you were looking for. V4 applies ‘intelligent thinking’ to data to produce actionable and invaluable insights.”

V4 pushes these insights to the user to give action points, almost like a live to-do-list. You can set parameters so the portal will tell you things like if your customer is about to overspend, lands in a foreign country, is approaching the final stages of their contract, or if they are having bill payment issues. This enables partners to spend their time on the most relevant aspects of their business.

However, V4 drills into the data even further to give insight into your own business. You can get live updates on the status of sales deals, see the performance of individuals in the sales team with deal quote to conversion rates. The idea being, you can use the portal as a wallboard in different departments to show live team performance.

plan.com has dissected precisely where partners are spending their time in the business to focus their technology on efficiencies. For example, partners can spend up to 75% of their time dealing with contract renewals. plan has stripped back this process to re-coup much of this time which could be used to deliver further business growth with new customer connections.

Keith Curran

Keith Curran

Curran says, “We’ve made this process occur within minutes as opposed to the days it can often take. Once you look at how a partner spends their time you can really start to help them focus on the areas that help them grow the business rather than getting bogged down in the day to day stuff. By saving them time on something like renewals, they can focus on top line initiatives to grow their business.”

Hopefully the time isn’t just utilised for cocktails in the Bahamas. But if it was, all the partner would need is a smartphone and an internet connection to access the portal and get the same experience they would in the office.

In the past, plan has been keen to get its partners to sell additional services, like VoIP, as well as mobile. They are still able to do this with V4 of the portal, but instead of focussing on further additional products, V4 is all about the partner’s business, their processes and giving them the tools and data to succeed in their chosen market.

Steffan Dancy, MD of Rydal Communications, commented “For us, the major pull of V4 was the live tracking of usage abroad which is taking things to another level, it’s miles ahead of ahead of anything else out there. plan.com are winning because they started from scratch with the 21st century in mind, the networks have been building on legacy platforms which means they just can’t deliver in the same way.”

Ed Says…

Previous iterations of the plan portals have focussed on the convergence of services but V4 is really taking this to the next level. From the one man band to the larger partners, plan has taken their partner feedback to develop something which tackles the challenges they face today. What can’t it do? Make the tea or vacuum the office… watch out for V5!