McKinsey calculations forecast that digitalization could act as an opportunity for telecom operators to increase profits by as much as 35%.
In this article, find out how telecoms can stay competitive and increase revenue with digital transformation.
Digitization vs. digitalization vs. digital transformation
Digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation are terms causing confusion on a world-wide scale, so let’s clarify their meanings:
Forbes describes digitization as a technical term: taking analogue information and encoding it into zeroes and ones so that computers can store, process, and transmit information.
Gartner clarifies it as, “the process of changing from analogue to digital form”.
Plainly put, digitization means to convert handwritten or typed text into the digital form.
Digitalization is the process of moving something to a digital format; this could relate to anything, from business, or even social interactions. For example, business processes are adapted for the cloud, while social interactions are taken online to social media. LP’s have been digitalized with DVD.
Information, processes, roles, meetings, and operations are just some examples of business areas that can be digitized.
Digital transformation refers to the integration of digital technology into business, changing how organizations operate and deliver value to its customers. Not stopping there though, digital transformation also means change as far as organizational culture goes, and continually challenging the status quo to maintain innovation.
In summary: we digitize information, we digitalize processes and roles in operations and we digitally transform the business and its strategy. Digitization and digitalization are actually about technology, but the digital transformation is all about the customer and improving the customer experience.
Top challenges in the telecommunication industry
1: Lines between telecom and technology are blurring
Because the lines between telecoms and technology are blurring, telcos need to freshen up their levels of ICT innovation for digital transformation by developing strong cross-functional interfaces and employing tools for organizational flexibility.
2: Increased financial overhead
With more subscribers and new products, bundles and customized solutions, support services are becoming more complex, requiring an increase in resources and tools, all of which are costly.
3: Upgrading infrastructures & security
To provide high quality, reliable and affordable data and voice services, telecoms will find it necessary to upgrade their IT and connectivity infrastructure. In addition, network security is a priority due to new threats.
4: IoT impact
Internet of Things (IoT) means a generation of a huge amount of new data to be handled by networks.
1: Cross-industry alliances
To keep on the forefront, telecoms are forming alliances with other industries.
Image Credit: CrossIndustryInnovation
Telecoms and toys
2: Keeping and finding top talent
Top talent doesn’t find working for telecoms challenging enough, so it’s hard to keep and attract new top talent. In addition, when costs need to be cut, telcos often resort to laying off staff, compounding the problem of keeping and finding top talent. Job rotation policies may become essential.
3: Technologies for improved customer experiences
Telecommunications companies have begun using technologies to enhance the customer experience. ITNewsAfrica reported that by 2020, 80% of telcos will make use of technologies like VR, chatbots and mobile apps in customer interaction processes.
4: Digitalized customer support
Because modern consumers now interact with companies directly via social media and buy from online-birthed businesses like Amazon, the business model of the telecom has changed and is adapting to these trends because consumers expect speed and convenience at the very least.
How telecoms can stay competitive
The three most powerful ways telecoms can remain competitive with digital transformations is by:
- Utilizing analytics
- Renewing core processes
- Forming alliances and developing multiservices
1: Utilize analytics to drive changes & enhancements
Analytics and data help telcos make the best decisions by:
- Providing deep and insightful information to identify loyal customers, determine the highest value customers, source potential new customers, identify the needs of customers in order to create new products, offerings and bundles, as well as to offer customized products.
- Increasing customer retention by up to 15% with churn prediction insights that result in implementing creative solutions to circumvent customers who are most likely to leave.
- Exploring competitor insights that show trends that drive service improvements.
- Optimizing network performance and capacity.
- Optimizing security.
This all means increased revenue because data enables telcos to:
- Develop new business areas.
- Optimize business.
- Retain the customers
- Answers the questions that you’ve been asking about your customer’s behavior, trends and usage patterns
- CDRlive moves you from just passively tracking piles of meaningless data, to proactively shaping strategy in order to future-proof your business and grow your revenue
- Provides detailed KPI tracking and measurement through:
- Descriptive Analytics – What happened?
- Diagnostic Analytics – Why did it happen?
- Applied Analytics – What might happen?
2: Reset core processes
According to McKinsey, 76% of telco customers prefer a completely digital journey. It’s got to be easy to do business with telecoms; people don’t want to have to make copies of things, drive somewhere, call a department and so on. Speed and intelligent processes are vital.
Image Credit: McKinsey
Currently, however, telcos are not known for delivering superior service and this will need to change fast.
The aim must be to create outstanding customer journeys in every interaction and across every channel, and to make them as digital as possible, transforming every customer touchpoint in:
- Omnichannel sales
- Support services
- Digital processes
Get in touch with the demands and desires of customers and give them what they want. Analytics is a powerful way of getting real data to enable the most significant decisions.
3: Form alliances & develop multiservices
Next generation ICT cloud services plus SD-WAN, security, and IP-based unified communications services are essential offerings in the future.
Leading telecom companies use a dedicated customer expert to champion face-to-face, online, and indirect channels. In addition, the expert has the responsibility of upselling current customers to new products.
Forming alliances with other industries and developing multiservices in order to provide even more value to customers while adding additional revenue streams will keep telecoms competitive.
In summary, in order to stay competitive in the future, telecom companies will need top talent to drive changes that are based on analytics and data.
Steven Sutherland experienced Adapt IT Divisional Executive, dynamic business leader for their Telecoms Division with a demonstrated 25-year history in the telecommunications and IoT sectors. Strong global marketing, sales, and business development professional with 15 plus years focused experience in the Southern and Rest-of-Africa markets and a unique blend of entrepreneurial spirit combined with a passion for both technology and business.
At Adapt IT Steven is responsible for building and growing the Telecoms Division on top of its industry-proven software competencies including but not limited to Customer Experience and Self Service, NextGen VAS, IoT, FINTECH, and Advanced Analytics and always looking forward to an opportunity to demonstrate the value that their 20 plus years of experience in these disciplines can bring to your business