It appears that the old cliché ‘the only thing constant is change’ really does hold true for Telcos. Every Telco I have worked with recently is undergoing some form of transformation. But what really needs to change in Telcos? In one word – everything! The entire way of working and the associated organisation structure needs changing and this, I believe, is being led by digitalisation. A digital transformation requires a wholesale reinvention of every aspect of the business.
At TM Forum Live in May (which had a heavy focus on digital transformation) this statement came up on screen during a presentation “As communication service providers, we helped advance the digital world. We need to capitalize faster on the digitization we championed.” This really made me stop and think. Although Telcos are all involved in some form of transformation, are they really capitalising on the digitalisation they championed?
End-to-end digitalisation is a complete business transformation with clear objectives and an impact on both the customer AND the company. Telcos need to:
- Transform the way they interact with customers
- Evolve their products and services
- Change the way they work internally based on automation and data.
All of this requires a fundamental change to the current ways of working for a Telco. But it all starts with answering some fundamental questions:
- Who are your customers?
- What do your customers want and why do they buy your product?
- What do customers think of your brand and how do you attract customers?
- What channels do you need to do to serve your customers?
- Do you have the right processes to support you?
- Does your technology help you deliver what your customers want?
- What data and information do you need to inform the way you operate?
- Do your people have the right capabilities, how are they organised and where are they located? Where do you source required capability from?
By breaking your business down, you will finally be able to see clearly, where your strengths and weaknesses are, where future competitors could replace you and where your business is no longer delivering against its customers and employee’s needs.
Once this is done, the next steps are to build up your target state by understanding the gaps in the current ways of working, organisation structures and the tools and technologies that support the business, while keeping in mind that customer expectations have changed - they want transparency, on demand access, and a seamless experience across channels. Employee expectations have also changed - in the digital workplace they want to work anywhere, anytime and on any device, simplified processes and end-to-end customer visibility.
As a customer and an employee, I can see how my own behaviour has changed. I don’t just want speed, flexibility, reliability and convenience, I demand it. Be it switching between devices while shopping, expecting same or next day delivery as the standard, or having a seamless experience while working remotely, my expectations have changed and a company or organisation that cannot give me that quickly loses my favour.
Most often an organisation waits for a burning platform to transform. That burning platform is now for Telcos. Telcos helped advance the digital world, they now need to capitalise faster on the digitisation, or risk the threat of becoming unprofitable and obsolete.