Expert views on telco digital transformation: Key factors to bear in mind



Expert views on telco digital transformation: Key factors to bear in mind

Do you remember the olden days without mobile phones, emails, and the internet? If you do, then you are probably old enough. But, the future belongs to the Millennials, a generation of digital natives born with social media accounts that require information and services to be available at-the-click, on-demand, right here and right now. Are you ready for these forces that are shaping our future?

“75% of your workforce, 75% of the people who buy your services, whether B2B or B2C, will be Millennials by 2025. It’s only three years from now. They will be demanding people, accustomed to the fact that everything is clicked, on-demand, on time”, said Cezary Chałupa, Head of Growth at Enxoo in his keynote presentation as part of the panel discussion at GCCM London ‘Wholesale telco industry in the digital transformation era – challenges and opportunities”. 

Generational changes, and with them the changing needs and expectations of customers, is one of the key factors that should be kept in mind during a digital transformation. They require a different, more agile approach than before.

“The pandemic is kind of over. The world is reopening but in a different setting. The business models have completely changed, and have become more complex. Carriers see that the traditional business is going into the cloud and that they are not prepared to facilitate that change that rapidly. So the digital transformation is, as we speak, on its way. Connecting the old world towards the new world or connecting the dinosaurs and the millennials to each other. I think it’s inevitable. These two worlds are perhaps miles away from each other, but they are very close to each other”, said Edwin Van Ierland, Chief Commercial Officer at iBasis.

Be innovative and agile!
The classic telco approach of wait and see is not going to work anymore. It’s going to be a losing strategy. Only those companies that will move quickly, that will make bold steps towards the future, that will experiment with new approaches, with new strategies and failing quickly, paradoxically, will be rewarded by the future. Of course, it requires investments too, but only those quick enough and adaptable enough and pivot ready enough will be rewarded by the future. Everything will be automated from the first click, from the order, from the kind of buying action through deploying the service provisioning, then change request, even network planning”, said Cezary Chałupa. It is a not too distant future that awaits us.

“As a traditional wholesaler, you need to think differently. You can no longer think only about traditional services. It’s now the customer behind the customer who is driving the demand for change. And I think that needs different skill sets, different processes, different techniques”, added  Edwin Van Ierland, Chief Commercial Officer at iBasis.

“We want to connect anything, anywhere, to anyone in a secure and transparent manner. That’s our goal. And we’re preparing everything, aligning all the systems that we had, revamping the whole customer interaction. We don’t separate wholesale, channel, partner or enterprise. They’re all customers and eventually, they all have the same needs. They all want to have that instant justification. They want to have that click at a finger button. They want to have insight into what they’re doing, what they have, how they can change it, how they can upgrade it, whatever they want to do. We’re working full time on that”, said René De Baerdemaeker, Director Supplier Management at Expereo

“Agility is very important. We need to be very clear about the forecast demand, where it’s coming from, getting closer to the end users, to the customers that are generating the application providers that are generating the new source of data. And the winners will be those that can anticipate that and build into their capacities”, said Brendan Press, Chief Commercial Officer at GBI.

Don’t forget that transformation is a change of mindset

“Digital transformation is not about moving to the cloud. It’s not about digitizing one process. It’s not about deploying digital platforms. It’s more mental. It’s about realizing there is a problem within the organization, especially for legacy companies. The problem that has to be solved the way, which is aligned with financial outcomes, especially for legacy companies which have a traditional kind of innovator’s dilemma”, said Cezary Chałupa.

“Never forget that transformation is a mindset change as well as a technical change. I’ve seen instances where people forgot about that side of it. You have to change people’s mindset if you do that, keep up with the technology”, said Jeff Owen, Managing Partner at Cambridge Management Consulting Ltd.

Be aware of the security and cyber attack risks

“We’re going to get cyber attacks. I think that’s almost a given. So, therefore, people are trying to put as much protection as they can at this point in time. But we are going to get these attacks and it’s going to be painful. Well, obviously, what’s happening in Ukraine as calls and ripples in the security side. We have a full Department that looks at security, but it’s becoming more and more prevalent now, especially within financial services. We have two or three big financial services clients and they are all over security at the moment. Part of that is because of the issue in Ukraine. So I would say it’s one of the highest priorities in financial services at the moment as it is with other sectors as well”, said Jeff Owen.

“Virus and antivirus are something we’ve been having since Windows came in. Like Jeff said as well, that security. As much as you tighten it up, there’s going to be another layer of attack coming to you. And with the frequency that we hear every few weeks, one large company got attacked like you said. Yeah. Sometimes for a company like us, it waivers our decisions on whether to follow technology or whether to follow traditional processes at times. I’m not saying we personally do that, but yes, that is something which raises concerns all the time. But nevertheless, we are a hyper connected society, and we need to go on with that. And it will be painful. Like just said, it has to happen, but we have to keep moving with the technology growing on the security part as much as we can”, said Aayush, Chief Commercial Officer at Bankai Group.

“We are a super hyper connected world now. So let’s say the main challenge is to put the right protection in place between the OSS and BSS. If you are attacked that you at least your service can continue.  I think security by far is the number one priority this year for many carriers to preserve what they have and to maintain doing what is currently not controlled. And that’s a big challenge, I can tell you that”, added Edwin Van Ierland. 

In summary

Your takeaway should be to automate everything as much as you can, address the changing requirements of new demographics and work on enhancing the customer experience. Remember the customer journey starts long before the actual customer onboarding. Be aware of the security and cyberattack risks. Be agile, innovative, and bold. You have to improve the quality of your services through partnerships and integrations. APIs and interoperability are crucial factors for digital transformation. Everyone, especially in legacy businesses, knows how long it can take to create a quote for a global enterprise of hundreds of branches – it can take weeks to months. Now it’s about cutting down those weeks to two days or even a few hours, providing a final quote, and delivering services instantly and on-demand. 

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