Sky is New Zealand’s leading subscription TV and entertainment company and home to the best and broadest choice in live sport, movies, shows, documentaries, and international news. Sky connects New Zealanders with the sport and entertainment they love, in ways that work for them.

Founded in 1987, Sky has long provided New Zealanders with content delivered over the air-waves. The increasing popularity of on-demand content led to development of digitally streamed services for subscribers via Sky Go, and the company also launched standalone streaming services Neon and Sky Sport Now.

With entertainment content increasingly consumed online, and on the back of its pivot towards online content distribution whilst continuing to meet the needs of its large satellite customer base, the broadcaster recognised an opportunity to provide a unique value proposition.

Owning the content and the delivery mechanism has served Sky well, providing the control necessary to guarantee customers a better experience, and end to end connectivity. Sky's Chief Customer Officer Daniel Kelly explains, “By adding in-house broadband as a complementary service, Sky benefits from the same level of oversight it has enjoyed in its traditional business.”

“Our point of departure is straightforward. A broadband service without hidden fees and charges, avoiding the sort of confusion which causes customer skepticism.”

Daniel Kelly, Chief Customer Officer, Sky

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Broadcast expertise is not the same skill set or line of business as broadband, something Sky was quick to understand. As a result, rather than build an ISP from scratch, it sought a partnership that could accelerate creation of the necessary infrastructure and services, while avoiding the pitfalls. Such an approach would help Sky offer the quality, price, value and service that Sky customers have come to expect.

Daniel notes that Vocus is one of New Zealand’s largest enterprise, government, and wholesale telecommunication suppliers, and owns and operates several of the country’s top retail broadband providers, making the company an obvious candidate for partnership. “Vocus is central to our value proposition because we don’t want to be a telco in the sense of building and operating an end-to-end network, but instead seek to leverage our customer acquisition and retention capabilities to create value for every customer. That makes Vocus skills and expertise indispensable, because Vocus helps create the products and services with its network teams, engineers and technologists.”

Setting up a new ISP is no mean feat, with the need for multiple software systems plus sales and support teams equipped with the appropriate tools to reach, provision and look after customers. That’s reflected in the size of the Vocus teams which delivered the project and included a small army of software developers.

Despite Level 3 Lockdown restrictions throwing a spanner in the works, the Vocus teams worked closely with their Sky counterparts to integrate Vocus’s wholesale service provider platform with Sky’s existing systems for managing its broadcast operations. This enabled Sky to provide customers with an integrated bill, while aligning sales and service journeys with existing content products.

“We’ve found Vocus a highly flexible partner capable of delivering on our needs with as light a touch as possible. In practice, this has meant ease on establishing precisely where Vocus finishes and Sky starts in the delivery of the broadband service. As the service has rolled out, both parties have gained an appreciation for which aspects are best suited to either Sky or Vocus.”

Daniel notes that the proven Vocus software platform includes full API integration which enables Sky to create and support a full broadband value proposition. This is backed by Vocus expertise which has accelerated the integration through automating tasks associated with internet service provisioning. That expertise is considered essential in handling the inevitable exceptions that arise for any ISP in the delivery of internet services.

“Providing retail broadband connectivity means you will have an outage sooner or later. That obviously causes tension, but with its expertise, Vocus gets things back to standard service rapidly and frictionlessly.”

Other essential work provided by Vocus included the development of a contact centre and help desk training while assisting with the establishment of and transition to Sky’s in-house customer service centre, helping the broadcaster get it right the first time, and every subsequent time.

Not only did Vocus enable Sky TV to start delivering broadband services rapidly – the entire project went from signoff to ‘go live’ in just a matter of months –but the benefits of a mature software platform were immediately clear. These included high levels of automation and control of broadband customer onboarding and in-life journeys.

“The focus was always on quality first, we couldn’t afford anything less than service excellence from the very first signup,” stresses Kelly. “We got that with Vocus, along with services which were up and running rapidly, giving us confidence to quickly go to market.

Throughout the complex engagement, Daniel says Vocus consistently achieved the on-time and on-budget delivery crucial for Sky to maintain its position as New Zealand’s preferred provider of quality entertainment. This reflects the values associated with the partnership, with clear expectations, communication and goals, with Sky and Vocus teams working hand in glove toward a common purpose.

“It’s been quite a journey and it’s fair to say we at Sky have enjoyed the ride. The arrangement with Vocus is a true partnership, with an open and transparent way of working which has contributed to Sky’s customer value proposition.”

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