Improving customer experience is the top priority for telecommunications firms around the world, according to a report by U.K.-based research firm Ovum. The report, called "ICT Enterprise Insight," said global IT spending by telecommunications service providers will amount to $60.7 billion US by 2017. It said technology that integrates multiple channels and personalizes servers are the top priorities, cited by 67 and 61 per cent, respectively, of the telcos surveyed as areas where spending will be increased over the next year or so. “After many years of cost reduction, senior telco IT executives clearly see the need to invest again in CRM (customer relationship management) projects that will support overall customer experience,” Ovum analyst Shagun Bali said in a release Monday. “Over the next 12 months, consolidating and developing integrated multichannel CRM systems and business processes will be top of the priority list for operators.” The findings were based on interviews with about 6,500 senior IT executives from firms around the globe.