Telcos are quickly learning that they must go beyond traditional connectivity services if they are to survive and thrive in an increasingly digital age, but can they shift their focus quickly enough?
As corporate customers are presented with more choice, telecommunication providers (telcos) need to look for opportunities to present themselves as strategic partners for business-critical solutions, beyond the standard offering of connectivity. Digital technologies are disrupting core telecommunications products in a variety of ways: nimble entrants to the sector are proving that they can provide similar products with an innovative digital flavour. This means that Chief Information Officers (CIOs) have many more options, which is pushing traditional telecommunication firms lower down in the value chain as they are perceived to provide a commodity service.
Increasingly, CIOs are expecting suppliers to support their digital development to help increase productivity, as they themselves invest more in their own digital capabilities to drive growth. These expectations are very much being set by the examples of other organisations that provide digital experiences in our day-to-day lives, with the expectations on digital capabilities from suppliers increasing to match.
Proving credibility as a digital service provider by demonstrating key attributes
Most enterprise CIOs will continue to work with telecommunication services as connectivity providers. However, most telcos will want to present themselves as digital services providers in the coming years. To reduce the risk of selecting telcos that promise more than can deliver, CIOs will want to see them demonstrating certain attributes such as:
1. Digital culture: The ability to attract talent in AI, analytics, app development, customer life-cycle mapping, and ecosystem partnership management to present the image of digital service orchestrators.
2. Innovation at arm’s length: Setting up small, separate digital services groups that are sheltered from the main organisation and allowing them to grow.
3. Rapid innovation: Breaking down development silos to create rapid innovation DevOps, applying a telco innovation framework using opportunity mapping, design thinking, and business model design and testing to create a deep innovation ecosystem.
Telcos must transform across key criteria to become credible as digital service providers
The need for telco organisations to transform their customer service offering in digital has the potential to lay the foundation for further opportunities:
1. Culture: Evolve organisational structures and management techniques to deliver outside-in innovation, responding to fast changing customer demand in an environment with supporting business models that stimulates employee creativity and innovation.
2. Service: Present a consistent omnichannel approach to eliminating customer pain points, as end-users’ day-to-day experiences with existing digital service providers are redefining expectations on how to service customers’ experiences.
3. Operational processes: Overcome operational silos, requiring process re-engineering, to enable delivery of a seamless experience across all customer engagement touchpoints
Digital transformations will be instrumental in the future of the telecommunications sector, but they do not come without their difficulties. It’s vital that telcos focus on creating digital capabilities through the right impactful technologies and develop the right digital leadership culture to create vision and change.
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