Digital transformation may appear to be a daunting task for telecom operators, but pieces are in place to ease the transition
Digital transformation is sweeping the telecommunications space as established operators look for ways to take advantage of new, web-based business models to become more competitive against rivals both old and new.
However, concerns regarding this transition remain, especially across the legacy telecom space. A recent survey conducted by IDC on behalf of Amdocs found despite strong technology capabilities, service providers are concerned whether they can implement digital transformation fast enough. Globally, 69% of executives believe the communications industry has strong technology capabilities, but will find it difficult to complete digital transformation projects quickly enough and 64% believe this transition could be outpaced by other industries.
The survey also noted business and IT leaders see things differently when it comes to a clear digital transformation strategy. The lack of a clear strategy is one of the biggest obstacles that could slow down or completely derail these efforts. Other concerns identified by the survey are low adoption rates of digital channels; multivendor system environments; too many manual processes; and legacy platforms holding back progress.
According to the IDC survey, 50% of C-level and other senior decision makers interviewed predicted it will take their companies more than five years to complete their digital journey. In North America, 35% of executives shared this prediction, while 68% in the Caribbean and Latin America predicted the journey would take at least five years.
Business agility, new digital skills and omnichannel customer experiences are seen as the most critical capabilities to survive in the digital age, according to the executives interviewed. According to the survey, the main drivers to enable the creation and implementation of digital transformation strategies are availability of the right skills to create the digital strategy; availability of the right skills to design and implement the required changes; and use of customer experience as a design principle for product and service development.
As for business priorities, respondents noted the need for business agility to increase revenue from existing services and products, and to provide an omnichannel experience across services and customer touch points and to improve customer experience.
Despite the concerns, analyst continue to highlight the need for telecom operators to embrace this new future or risk being left behind.
“Telcos face a number of key challenges as they undergo digital transformation, most importantly how to shift culture, not just technology,” explained Susan Welsh de Grimaldo, director of wireless operator strategies at Strategy Analytics. “Keeping focus on the impact on customer experience aligns transition with business growth opportunity, and showing early cost savings impact adds to the bottom line, driving momentum. Failure to transform could lead to shrinking business, leaving money on the table and even losing ground as competitors take value and share.”
In looking to help in this digital transformation, Steve Rudolph, communications and media expert at Pegasystems, laid out five “vendor neutral” tips companies can tap in making the journey.
Create an open ecosystem
Digital service providers go beyond specific domain technology that can impede change and partner with vendors that offer services like cloud backup, collaboration, or file sharing tools. To foster change, create an integrated ecosystem catalog that works across existing systems and partners, allowing you to build products and processes across a range of digital services.
Empower sales reps
DSPs anticipate customer needs and put them first. It is important that a platform that predict the next best action for sales reps to take in real time. Reps become trusted advisors in this customer-centric sales cycle. The platform should also incorporate subject matter experts from your partners to help sell, and adapt and execute the sales process that’s right for your business.
Smash IT silos
While many operators are shackled by slow business and operating support systems, DSPs use process management to navigate system silos. As a result, sales reps should be able to configure, price and quote a complex contract for any digital service with a tablet or mobile device.
Don’t reinvent the wheel every time
DSPs often find new services that improve revenue, productivity and customer loyalty – and repeat them. Reuse is key to scaling your business. Layering business logic based on specific patterns in product, market, industry vertical and geography can allow you to reuse what works well and make future services cheaper and easier to deliver.
Get a 360-degree customer view
Traditional IT sees customers in silos by channel, but DSPs create a unified customer view across all touch points. End-to-end visibility helps identify potential concerns early and allows customers to interact in the channel they prefer. Plus, anyone in any department (not just customer service) can address a customer’s concern.
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