Opplysningen 1881, the directory assistance company, is one of Norway’s largest business information providers. In 2005, they decided to invest heavily in electronic information channels. Four years on, their turnover and results have improved significantly.
Each week approximately 1 in 5 Norwegians uses the various services offered by Opplysningen 1881. The company has experienced a formidable growth through their electronic information channels in recent years.
“In 2006, 1881.no had 150,000 users per week, and the SMS service was not well known in the market. We saw that significant potential was there. Four years later, we can safely say that we were right. Online, we now have more than a million users per week, and, at its peak, the SMS service has had more than 80,000 searches per day,” says Magne Liestøl Larsen, Group Director for the Business Development Division at 1881.
Search – a Commercial Driver
In 2005, Opplysningen 1881 were demerged from Telenor, Norway’s largest telephone operator, to Telenor Venture IV AS. With independence came a desire to compete and innovate, and the company saw the potential to better utilise its enormous database. For this reason, the company invested in FAST (now owned by Microsoft) as a platform for their SMS and internet services.
“It was essential to invest in a search solution that was strong on quality, both for SMS and the internet, with significantly improved usability,” says Larsen.
Therefore, Opplysningen 1881, together with Comperio, created a plan for how search could support their value chain and how commercial rewards could be reaped with the correct use of FAST. This work was of great significance for 1881, and soon Comperio’s consultants were further developing FAST technology with the specific aim of generating commercial value for 1881.
1881 is Forward Leading
“1881 had lots of technology, but no common platform. A number of applications were in use, but this was not particularly efficient. We were allowed to do some spring cleaning and create a new structure for their internet services and then their mobile services. These newly developed services soon proved to be the ‘right medicine’ for Opplysningen 1881,” says Jørn Ellefsen, CEO of Comperio. “1881 is a prime example of a company which has understood that innovative use of search generates significant commercial rewards.”
“In our case this means, among other things, that users can now get our information through a number of different channels, and this is made possible by the search technology. It also means that different kinds of information can be linked together in new ways; for example, financial information can be directly linked to business listings,” says Larsen.
Search was a Natural Choice
For Opplysningen 1881, Comperio has developed a completely new value chain, based on a service-oriented architecture. This has given the company a common technology layer for all channels, with parameterised business logic for all applications. The automated solutions and the tools for page care have also been developed by Comperio.
“It was natural for Opplysningen 1881 to invest in FAST,” explains Larsen.
“We really do nothing else but search, and we’ve been doing that for more than 125 years,” he says, smiling. “Search is the dialogue between the user’s needs and the supply of correct information, whether automated as with SMS, mobile applications and the internet, or with page services searching the page database.”
Opplysningen 1881 has received a number of international honours in recent years. In November of 2009, the company was named Europe’s Best Mobile Service for the “118 Tracker Award” in Edinburgh. The year before it was nominated for the same prize in the categories of Best Mobile Service and Best Online Service. EADP, the European coalition of telephone directory producers, named 1881.no as the best directory service in Europe in the category “Business to Consumer” in 2007.
“It is great to receive awards. It shows that we have been successful in developing good search solutions which provide new benefits. Comperio has helped us establish quality and innovation for both the internet and mobile services. They contributed expertise and best practices, so that we were able to lay the foundation for our significant growth,” concludes Larsen.