C5 Spring 2023 Conference

Spring in Washington D.C. - cherry blossoms, water, and the Capital Building

On May 17 & 18, 2023, NCTA hosted its third C5 Conference, welcoming delegates to NCTA HQ in Washington, D.C.

This spring, C5 was proudly supported by three Sponsoring Partners: Gold Partner, Kore.ai (represented by Peter Wulfraat, Corey Erkes and Graeme Dean), and Silver Partners, Amdocs (represented by Iris Harel and Mustafa Oyumi) and Statflo (represented by Scott McArthur). We welcomed guests from Bain & Company (represented by Erin Wallace and Stan Swinton, who joined us via Zoom from the U.K.), along with three prospective new C5 MSO members—Altice (represented by Luciano Ramos and Makarand Deshmukh), Buckeye Broadband (represented by HeidiJoy Harnegie), and Izzi Telecom (represented by Rebeca Noriega).

A total of forty-five delegates attended the conference, including representatives from ten C5 MSOs (Blue Ridge, Claro Brasil, Comcast, Cox, GCI, MCTV, Mediacom, Midco, Sparklight, and Telecom Argentina) and our three industry associations (CableLabs, CTAM, NCTA). Two of our international MSOs, Liberty Global and Topway, sent their apologies. A special thanks is extended to Yvette Kanouff (The Cable Center Board Member), Dr. Tony Peloso (QUT, Brisbane, Australia) and two C5 Emeriti, Gibbs Jones and Rob Stoddard, who helped facilitate panel discussions and breakout groups. We were also grateful for the contributions of NCTA participants, including Michael Powell, (Fireside Chat guest speaker), Kelsey Odom (panel moderator on Workforce Issues), Wyatt Barnett (NCTA’s C5 representative), Kristin Buch, Christian Castillo, Francesca Duffy Bliss, and David Grenkevich.

The Conference ran smoothly due to efforts by Wyatt Barnett and his team, including Kate Schaeffer, Oleathia Gadsden, Sam Bragg, and Mr. Powell’s Office. Finally, we acknowledge the support from our C5 Executive Chairs (Eric Burton, Suzanne Foy, Kimberly Gibson, Maureen Moore, and Simón Tadeo) and The Cable Center Leadership (Diane Christman, Camilla Formica, and Susie Tomenchok), whose input helped shape the dual Conference Theme “Enhancing CX through Workforce and AI”.

Over the two-day event, C5ers and guests explored issues around Workforce on Day 1 and tackled the impact of AI on the industry on Day 2, by way of the following sessions:

WORKFORCE ISSUES PANELS. Kelsey Odom, VP of Government Relations at NCTA, moderated the session comprising panelists from three U.S. MSOs: Bob Bartelt, Director, CX Operations, Midco, Eric Burton, SVP, Tools, Technology & Experience, Comcast, and Byron Floyd, Director, Process & Strategy, Customer Care, Cox. During this session, Kelsey explored key workforce related challenges and opportunities that affect our industry. By way of a second panel, two international MSOs shared their insights on the same topic, providing global perspectives on a worldwide issue. Dr. Tony Peloso, Corporate Educator at QUT (Brisbane, Australia), moderated the discussion between Rodrigo Duclos, Chief Digital Officer, Claro Brasil, and Simón Tadeo, Director, Customer Experience, Telecom Argentina, pointing out the similarities and differences that exist between the U.S. and within their respective organizations.

WORKFORCE ISSUES ROUNDTABLES. In four breakout groups, C5ers explored two aspects of the workforce, as conceived in the model shown. While numerous workforce planning approaches exist, this model focused on two elements:

  1. steps within workforce planning that embrace recruiting, hiring, training, development, and retaining; and
  2. contexts of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion), and organizational culture, which influence decision making within each of these five steps.

Two facilitators guided roundtable discussions that addressed a series of workforce planning questions. A summary report was provided from each of these discussions, comprising key takeaways for short- and long-term action planning. A big thanks is extended to our roundtable facilitators: Kim Gibson, Senior Director, Customer Operations, Sparklight; Gibbs Jones, C5 Emeritus; Maureen Moore, Chief CX Officer, GCI; Charles Patti, Cox Chair and Senior Fellow, Syndeo Institute; Tony Peloso, Corporate Educator, QUT; Rob Stoddard, C5 Emeritus; Simón Tadeo, Director, Customer Experience, Telecom Argentina; and Susie Tomenchok, Chief Business Officer, Syndeo Institute.

Workforce Planning Model

CX SOLUTIONS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: AMDOCS. As C5’s new Silver Partner, Iris Harel and Mustafa Oyumi, both of Amdocs, explained how technology has become an enabler of improved customer experiences. Use cases revealed how success depends on two critical factors: (1) knowing customers, the end customers and employees, and (2) focusing on total experience, the sum of CX experience, and the experiences of internal users engaging with customers. Networks, products, business systems, and customer engagement channels must be reimagined with these two factors as a North Star.

CX SOLUTIONS THROUGH TECHNOLOGY: KORE.AI. As C5’s new Gold Partner, Peter Wulfraat, Graeme Dean, and Corey Erkes, all of Kore.ai, informed us about how generative AI and large learning models (LLMs) can improve customer and employee experiences. By way of use cases, Peter demonstrated how organizations can leverage AI and LLM capabilities to reduce delivery timeframes, assist business team members as they build virtual assistants, and improve CX using conversational AI solutions.

FIRESIDE CHAT with Michael Powell, President & CEO of NCTA, and moderated by Eric Burton, SVP, Tools, Technology, & Experience, Comcast. During this Fireside Chat, Michael explained the mission and scope of NCTA, conducted on behalf of the cable industry, along with key legislative and regulatory priorities, such as consumer privacy, new forms of competition, and issues that are a focus for policymakers. Eric guided the discussion to gain insights on the topic of AI, exploring recent developments such as OpenAI and ChatGPT, which have generated a surge in its sophistication, capabilities, and applications. Michael shared his perspectives on AI adoption, major downsides, or red flags of AI, and areas where the cable industry will benefit most from AI technology.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS by Bain & Company. As part of the C5 “Learning from the Outside” model, we welcomed Erin Wallace, Commercial Director of NPSx and, by way Zoom, Stan Swinton, CEO and NPSx Founder. Stan explained sudden and drastic changes in business today due to generative AI, while raising the bar (again) on CX. Through use case examples he highlighted what AI success looks like; how it can be used to create the most value, rapidly deploy a proof of concept; and the implementation of capabilities across an organization’s operating model, business processes, and data assets.

ASSOCIATIONS’ INSIGHTS ON AI (PANEL). Yvette Kanouff, Board Member, The Cable Center, explored how the dramatic transformation of AI can impact our industry through insights from C5 Association members: CableLabs, CTAM, and NCTA. Panelists Wyatt Barnett, Creative Director, NCTA, Mark Snow, SVP, Consumer Marketing & Insights, CTAM, and Cindy Varga, Engagement Manager, CableLabs, shared research and intel from the field. We learned about exciting new opportunities to improve the subscriber and employee experience, along with cautions to navigate the potential dangers around security concerns, legitimacy of information, protection of consumer identity and data, implications for workforce planning, and more.

AI TECHNOLOGIES WORKSHOP. During this session, delegates’ breakout groups explored five steps in an AI adoption process. As shown in the model, the process explored five key questions:

  1. Where are we now? Delegates evaluated the current level of knowledge and sophistication of AI technology adoption within their respective companies.
  2. Where do we want to be? Delegates defined the desired destination of the journey on which successful AI implementation will have taken their company.
  3. What are the challenges? Delegates evaluated the challenges that their companies might face in adopting AI.
  4. What steps should we take? Delegates defined key outcomes of AI transformation within their respective companies and described the steps in the journey for successful AI implementation.
  5. What resources do we need? Delegates evaluated which resource type will be most relevant in their adoption of AI.
AI adoption process

Two facilitators guided the breakout group discussions, addressing a series of questions within each step of the AI adoption process. Each group provided a summary report, comprising of key takeaways for short- and long-term action planning to achieve the following outcomes:

  • enhance understanding of procedures for accessing AI solutions to align with their business goals;
  • develop a roadmap for implementing or expanding AI solutions;
  • provide a platform to share experiences and lessons learned, and to promote best practices in AI adaptation planning; and
  • promote collaboration and integrated approaches that address short- to medium- and long-term approaches to AI action.

The AI Workshop proved a timely and instructive session due to the outstanding contributions of all participants and the expertise of our facilitators, stimulating the need for development of a C5 AI Initiative.  Thanks are extended to Workshop facilitators: Wyatt Barnett, Creative Director, NCTA; Eric Burton, SVP, Tools, Technology, & Experience, Comcast; Graeme Dean, CX Solutions Consultant, Kore.ai; Corey Erkes, Director, Sales, Kore.ai; Yvette Kanouff, Board Member, The Cable Center; Charles Patti, Cox Chair and Senior Fellow, Syndeo Institute; Lisa Schwab, Director, Strategic Growth Engagement, CableLabs; and Erin Wallace, Commercial Director of NPSx, Bain & Company.

SYNDEO UPDATES. Diane Christman, President and CEO, Camilla Formica, Chief Program Officer, and Susie Tomenchok, Chief Business Officer, all of The Syndeo Institute at The Cable Center, reported on the Center’s new identity (Syndeo), and continued efforts to facilitate skill development across the industry through courses offered at the Intraprenuership Academy (IA). As one of the IA instructors, Susie gave a presentation on negotiation skills, described ways to think about different types of power at play (positional, situational, relationship, and perceived), and explained how influence is earned. The team also reported on their “discovery” research, generating feedback on the C5 program, plus shining a light on the role of Syndeo to expand its CX portfolio for the industry. A written report will be shared with C5ers by June 30, 2023.

The full agenda and other conference information is available in the C5 Spring 2023 Program Booklet. C5 Fall 2023 Conference will be held at The Cable Center in Denver, CO on November 15 & 16, 2023.

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