by   |    |  Estimated reading time: 5 minutes  |  in Digital Transformation, IFSCloud, Service   |  tagged , , , ,

No industry is immune from the famous ‘digital transformation’ buzzword, following a period of such intense social and business change. However, there are some who are perhaps feeling the pressures of accelerated change more than others. Those that have always relied on the power of technology, yet now find themselves in an investment cycle to update their own digital journeys.

For those in industries where customer expectations, competition, and asset performance expectations drive accelerated change, the upshots of failing to keep up are clearly more severe. Falling foul of the very thing you’re supposed to thrive on isn’t a great look. It also inevitably causes damage internally (people, processes and projects) as well as externally in the face of expectant customers.

Telecommunications falls very prominently within this category, as a sector that is expected to remain on the cusp of further digital development, of continuous change and of cutting-edge innovation. And yet, the pace of change, rising customer expectations and disruptive competitors have made it difficult for industry players to respond accordingly. Therefore, it’s inevitably difficult for the brands of yesterday to get a grip on this vision of the future.

Above all else, service is a key component for this sector. Keeping infrastructure performing to meet customer needs in their home or business is unsurprisingly a differentiator when it comes to future success and growth. In a rush to meet this challenge head-on, the sector has been ‘blessed’ with trends that are designed to facilitate service improvements. Think: 5G, fiber optic deployments, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the internet of things (IoT) and edge computing. Often telcos suffer from silos and the inability to bring it all together. This is not only a fault in service reaping greater insights from their equipment. It is also often a lack of attention in the enterprise asset management (EAM) side.

Smarter management of assets, equipment and field workers, with visibility of the financial, customer and asset outcomes is the holy grail. This can only be achieved via a strategy based on composability and the breaking down of siloes.

A push away from legacy tech

The sheer rate of change has meant that businesses in the telecoms space need to adapt their technology platforms, and fast. But where to start?

Visibility is indeed an objective when it comes to the integration of aforementioned service enhancers. However, if that requisite level of visibility isn’t already there, how do companies know where and how to overhaul their current setups?

It’s a catch-22 that begins with a lack of understanding of existing organizational platforms across the business. This can be compounded by many of these systems being (sometimes, dramatically) out of date.

Legacy tech is a trend plaguing many industries at present. Yet, it is again brought more severely to the fore among businesses that are so intrinsically linked to digital progress. To hinder the evolution of internal efficiencies and improvements is to have a knock-on effect on the ability to leverage new innovations. This will inevitably impact the end customer experience. It all begins within the confines of the company’s own space; among its own workforce; affecting change projects.

With this in mind, technology providers also have to take some of the responsibility. This must be done with an understanding that dealing with this extent and pace of change is difficult without a helping hand, and without guidance. Moving away from standardized wholesale legacy solutions is a critical place to start in this regard.

And, there must be an immediate push toward modular and consumable solutions. This can be delivered through different channels, touchpoints and modalities. Also, it can be the first step towards a connected, visible and conducive environment for future service improvements in the telecoms space.

A middle phase of digital disruption

What this new approach will also facilitate is a vital breaking down of siloes. This is equally key when it comes to visibility and KPIs around business, customer and asset outcomes to measure business value realization, improves customer NPS. Moreover, this also meets sustainability goals that are not only top of mind, but also make good business sense.

In turn, organizations will be able to better support the 5G, fiber optics, AI, IoT and edge computing step changes. Ultimately, this will yield improved customer satisfaction and the return on investment in said infrastructure and capabilities. And they’ll do so because these technologies naturally lend to the creation of an outcome-based service model.

Legacy systems which are usually disparate and siloed in telcos make this prospect more than challenging, meaning that the notion of outcome-based performance metrics have been difficult to attain.  But between this status quo and the enabling technologies brought to light, there needs to be a middle phase of digital intervention that does away with the old, and ushers in the new.

These appear in the form of resource planning tools to provide a smoother, future-proofing environment. A cloud-based microservice architecture as a way to mitigate existing operational and billing (OSS/BSS) systems. All this without losing time and money overhauling them entirely. An enterprise asset management tools to better design new and complex networks. And even field management software to ensure the ‘people’ part of the equation isn’t left behind.

By integrating these different solutions and stepping stones as an opening gambit, the way is paved for those aforementioned buzzword innovations to hit their mark thereafter. And, more broadly, the scene will be set for digital transformation in telecommunications to truly take off.

An outcome-based model is really the crux of where telecommunications need to work towards. Since, customers and suppliers agree on measurable and achievable outcomes that are bespoke and tailored for that customer.

It’s a level of flexibility and personalization that can only be met if the telecommunications supplier has a complete, real-time, conjoined overview of its own internal processes and operations. Firstly, to know whether they can support each request, and to then make sure it’s enacted successfully for the customer.

Today is the day to move forward, break down silos, and think about your customer experience, enterprise asset and equipment management, and your front-line field workers in a different way.

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