BroadJump Inc. took two steps toward widening its broadband customer-service software lineup, inking deals that will add automated customer-support, content and applications partners to its mix.
First, the company reported a marketing and joint product agreement with Support.com Inc., through which it would create an automated customer-support software package for broadband-network operators. It has also created a new marketing content and applications partnership program and signed up its first member, online gaming giant NCsoft.
The Broadband Resolution Suite — which will combine BroadJump's provisioning and billing management software with Support.com Inc.'s automated Internet-support offering — will be released in first-quarter 2002.
The partnership made sense for Support.com, which had concentrated on marketing its products to enterprise clients, and for BroadJump, which has built up connections and experience with broadband networks, said BroadJump vice president of marketing Matt Tormollen.
"In a nutshell, we believe that we can deliver really the first end-to-end solution that targets the whole life cycle of support for a subscriber," he said.
MSO Charter Communications Inc., which has been a BroadJump customer for some time, is the first cable operator to sign up for this support system.
The product will cover provisioning and service setup, billing, changes to billing information and technical troubleshooting. Although the software automates these transactions, it does have the ability to tap into a service provider's customer-relations and technical-support centers.
"The best that you can do is to make things actually correct themselves before the customer actually even realizes he has a problem," Tormollen said. "So what we are doing, working with Support.com, is they are providing the platform that allows the support processes to be automated, driving towards that eventual goal of self-healing.
"What we are providing is the broadband-related expertise to ensure that the broadband service and the services provided by that service provider over that broadband connection are supported in that manner," he said.
NEW APP PARTNER
BroadJump also has teamed with Seoul, South Korea-based NCsoft to market Lineage: the Blood Pledge
to subscribers as they provision and set up their high-speed data service using BroadJump's ChannelDirect software.
Launched in the U.S. in October, the subscription Lineage
game has racked up more than 4 million subscribers and averages 330,000 concurrent users worldwide.
NCsoft is the first participant in BroadJump's new content and applications partnership program. The initiative will develop content and service offerings that can be marketed to customers as they use BroadJump provisioning, customer-care and billing software with their high-speed-data service.
It's part of a drive to offer network operators a better way to market services to their cable-modem and digital subscriber line customers.
"What we are offering through Channel Direct is an easy mechanism for the service provider to upsell and cross-sell services that consumer wants using that platform they already have in deployment," Tormollen said. "What has happened over the past couple of years is the service providers have been so head-down in ironing out and reducing the costs and actually getting the services deployed that there has not been a lot of attention to, 'How do you then generate the incremental revenue?'
"So what we are providing with Channel Direct is a practical approach for the service providers to start generating that incremental revenue," he said.
For a fee, BroadJump will integrate the offerings of its content and applications partners into the ChannelDirect software subscribers use as they set up their high-speed Internet service. When customers opt to buy items such as the Legacy game, the cable or DSL provider pays BroadJump a one-time transaction fee. After that, the provider shares subscription revenue with the content or applications provider.
"I think benefit from BroadJump's perspective is we are acting as the broker to bring these two parties together," Tormollen said. "We pursued those folks, so we can create the prepackaged fast-time-to-market offers for the service provider, and then we really bring the two parties together."
Based on customer survey information, BroadJump is busy rounding up partners that offer the items consumers seem to want. Future additions to the content program will likely include products for utilitarian firewall, virus-protection and data-backup offerings, along with digital imaging and home networking.
"These aren't ads," Tormollen said. "What we are not providing is a platform for the service provider to spam the consumers with lots of pop-ups for X-10 cameras.
"What we are providing is an integrated way through the actual consumer experience of having something that we have determined consumers want and providing it to them."
The ChannelDirect and Support.com deals are part of BroadJump's plan to evolve customer care beyond just overseeing the basic connection, Tormollen added.
"It's focused on driving and reducing the cost out of getting the consumer deployed and managed once they are actually on the service," he said. "So for us it is a two-pronged approach."