The Digitalization Wave – How is it revolutionizing the Telecom Industry
A change can be a blessing in a disguise. Or change can bring in a lot of complications.
It’s all a matter of perspective.
Probably the most critical question that telcos should ask themselves in this age and time is how to perceive this change; Digitalization, a not so old term, that has seen itself float around a lot of modern verticals is here to stay. Perhaps one of the most impacted vertical on this front is the telecommunication industry. Digitalization is the key that unlocks a world full of possibilities for telcos. But is it all fun and play? Does this incur more costs and responsibilities?
There are multiple ways in which one can define this rather interesting term. Perhaps the most straightforward way to absorb it is to understand that business processes and models are yet to reach their fullest potential without the involvement of digital technologies. When a telco fully embraces and leverages these digital technologies into their day to day processes, they are said to undergo a process of digitalization. Not only do these open new doors of opportunity, but operators can also realize revenue from new lines of businesses. But what is it precisely that operators can expect from this change?
Digital transformation: What’s on the table?
The core services – SMS, voice, and data are drastically evaporating along with revenue associated with these services. Networks are becoming increasingly complex, so are the services delivered by them. Consumers are looking out for network systems that can upscale to offer a better quality of service (QOS) and cater to digital offerings. It is trends like these that probably make people perceive it as a threat. Let’s further deep dive into what other offers are on the table:
1. Virtualized communications and cloud infrastructure
Traditional OSS network components will soon take a hit thanks to the explosion of data traffic that is being carried across the globe today. The challenge also lies in the fact that maintaining these components also becomes a complicated activity when dealing with data of such enormous proportions while simultaneously trying to provide quality services to customers. Virtualized communications and a cloud-based deployment makes it easier for telcos to manage traffic without burning too much of a hole in their pockets.
Addressing the elephant in the room, 5G will completely revolutionize the customer experience. Apart from this, 5G will connect things, vastly expanding the capabilities and application of IoT, which demands better and faster connectivity. This opens up an opportunity for around the internet of things, artificial intelligence & augmented reality.
3. Diverse portfolio of digital services
Telcos must learn how to expand their service portfolios to offer new suites of digital services, addressing new vertical markets, with strong revenue growth potential. They must also determine which service niches best suit their competencies, and ultimately transform their operations to manage these diverse service portfolios while minimizing operational complexity efficiently.
4. Redefining customer engagement
A series of accelerated technological advances have transformed customer expectations in the digital era. A few of these include
- Payment options that are rather easy to use
- Transparency to consumers in terms of features of a product or service
- Contextualized interaction for their personal wants and needs
5. Internet of things:
IoT will generate tremendous amounts of data, particularly unstructured in nature. Big data will be a key enabler to absorb this data into some useful insights. An operator strategy to embrace this would be to simplify IoT as much as possible and accelerate its adoption in major verticals such as telecom, healthcare, energy, and connected cities. From a threat perspective, IoT brings in a whole spectrum of fraud use cases that might not be detected by a traditional CDR based fraud management system. OPCO’s must also look into systems that can tap into data packets, analyze and report if the content is malicious or not.
Embracing digitalization: Help it help you.
To meet the changing needs of the marketspace, service providers must chart out a few initiatives to be able to accommodate the changes above. Revamping business processes may be a challenge at the early stages, but operators must take the leap to make the most of this transformation. Below are some steps telcos can take to leverage the full capability of digitalization.
- Define your vision
Before telcos can start implementing changes in processes, it is imperative to understand what is the end goal that they are trying to achieve. Whether it is a seamless customer experience or launching a new off the shelf product, keeping an eye on the bull at every stage of this change will streamline how the results will pan out.
- Assess your digital maturity
Knowing where you stand is another important step to deliver your vision planned out for your subscriber base. Operators can assess their current digital maturity level with respect to industry standards using consulting vendors or other forums. This assessment must be spread across governance, risk, and compliance and operational efficiency so that telcos can decide if they can deliver the originally planned vision with their current maturity level or if it requires specific tweaks.
- Transformation Gap
Identify the gaps between where you are today and your desired digital maturity. Pinpoint the areas for improvement as that will have the most significant impact on reaching your business goals.
- Know your customers
The strategy needs to have a deep, comprehensive understanding of each customer in a much broader context; A 360° view. Deliver portfolios & digital products that provide your customers with true value because they are the ultimate end users of your product/service. While working on new designs/processes, always start from the customer and work your way backward to ensure that your delivery is aligned with their expectations.
- Reframe thoughts on data
As operators, you have access to an enormous amount of customer data. Hence telcos must leverage this data and analytics to implement a digital transformation strategy. Agile platforms and approaches are needed to respond to the continually evolving needs of your customers. The key drivers include building/outsourcing a better visualization layer, having a robust IT system in place, streamlining the application landscape, and innovating around customer experience.
In addition to the above points mentioned, it is also equally important for telcos to have the right partners in their digital transformation journey to manage the plethora of risks arising from digitalization.
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