Digital transformation is a term that has been widely discussed in recent years. Over the past 12 months, circumstances, including the global pandemic, have accelerated digital transformation at an alarming rate across industries worldwide. This has seen businesses utilise new technologies to adapt their business models, operations, and how they do things in order to remain competitive within their relevant markets. We deep dive into what digital transformation is, trends driving this growth, and how this is changing industries, including telecommunications, as we know it.
What is digital transformation?
In simple terms, digital transformation refers to the utilisation of digital technologies and digital strategies to modify or adapt existing business processes, operations, culture, and customer experience. Digital transformation is often referred to as DX or DT and drives operational change through the smart integration of tech. This is usually done in a staged approach to ensure a smooth and non-disruptive transition. In this way, businesses can leverage smart technologies to enhance value, improve customer experience, and develop new value-added services and offerings. Digital transformation allows for innovation and enhances a businesses ability to adapt to changing circumstances, therefore facilitating flexibility and agility.
The Acceleration of Digital Transformation in 2020
To say that 2020 was a challenging year would be an understatement. In under a year we have gained over 10 years in the digitisation process. The global pandemic threw a curveball to the world, but with this curveball came an acceleration in digital transformation. With national lockdowns being implemented globally, we were forced to change every aspect of how we live and work. Many businesses and industries had to rely on digital technology to sustain growth and operations. During this time, the business world scrambled to get access, connect with teams, clients and more – digital technology made this happen. Everyday life dramatically changed. All of a sudden schooling was being done online, shopping was being done online, everyday activities were restricted and digital technology was used to provide an alternative for how things used to be done. Below are some of the ways businesses and industries innovated their operations and used digital infrastructure to overcome these challenges.
The telemedicine industry has been steadily growing over the last few years. It is safe to say that 2020 put this growth into overdrive as visiting hospitals and doctors became increasingly high risk. Telemedicine is an essential tool that over the past 12 months has provided access to healthcare for many. This service is often performed through video call and conferencing platforms. These digital platforms connect healthcare workers with patients virtually and allow healthcare providers to provide quality and personalised care from afar. The global telemedicine market size growth is set to witness a CAGR of 15.1% by 2027.
Remote working has become a necessity, and this is a trend that is expected to continue gathering momentum. Businesses have realised that remote working is both productive and possible with access to cloud computing, IoT applications, shared networks and data. This has led to many businesses looking at offering a more flexible working environment for their employees and workforce. Digital technology has provided the resources necessary to make remote working possible. This new focus has caused shifts in the business world, so much so, that according to Dell’s Digital Transformation Index 2020, eight in ten organisations fast-tracked their digital transformation programs over the past twelve months. Out of the 4000 business leaders and CEO’s surveyed globally, 89% said that the pandemic highlighted the need for a more agile and available IT environment.
E-commerce has been one of the industries that have thrived during this time as many consumers have moved away from shopping at brick and mortar stores and turned to online and digital shopping. E-commerce has provided a “safe” and “contactless” experience for shoppers and customers to purchase products and services. This has not come without its challenges. With increased competition in this market, e-commerce providers have needed to innovate and provide customers with virtual experiences, cashless services as well as fast and efficient customer experience. To deliver on this experience, operations, supply chains and logistics need to be managed efficiently and effectively. Digital technology has been a solution to this as it facilitates inventory tracking, delivering automatic customer responses, pricing accuracy, reporting and more. The reliance on digital technology in this sector is expected to continue to increase, and according to a 2021 Gartner CIO Survey, 63% of retailers expect to spend more on business intelligence/data analytics and 35% on artificial intelligence over the next year. Many e-commerce businesses are utilising digital technology to stay ahead of their competitors and continue the momentum that they have built during this time.
Over the past 12 months, people across the globe have started relying more on digital for entertainment. The global pandemic challenged many businesses within this industry to think outside of the box and harness this technology to continue to bring in income. All of a sudden you could do a wine tasting with a qualified sommelier from the comfort of your own home. The wine was ordered, delivered and the tasting happened over a digital platform. People could also tune in to different travel experiences. Game rangers and lodges in the Kruger National Park were live streaming their daily game drives, giving those watching a unique and fun experience, one that provided an escape from the national lockdowns and restrictions. To curb the boredom from the various national lockdowns many people also signed up for different streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and more, which offers an array of movies and series to watch. Digital technology provided people with a way to cope with not being able to go out, socialise and do the activities that they would normally be able to do.
What role has digital transformation played in Telco?
Over the past 12 months, it has become clear that Telcos have an opportunity to expand their service offerings and take full advantage of digital transformation. They have been the go-to provider for connectivity, data management, remote working access, mobility, coverage and more. With the implementation of these solutions, many businesses worldwide have continued with operations and remained productive. Not only have many Telcos innovated software offerings and services that answer to the growing need for digital connectivity, but they have also adapted their business models to be more agile and flexible. Telcos have also utilised their services to ensure that productivity remains high within their own organisations during these times.
Digital Transformation Drivers for 2021 and beyond
2020 May have been a defining year for digital transformation, but this digital disruption is just the tip of the iceberg. Several drivers are set to impact digital innovations and transformation in 2021 and beyond. These include:
The transition to 5G
One of the drivers of digital transformation is 5G. Much has been said about 5G and its benefits, but no one realised how much of an impact this would have on businesses in particular. 5G provides enhanced speed, connectivity, coverage, transmission, low latency and more bandwidth. This is becoming more essential as our reliance on digital devices increases, especially in relation to remote work and IoT. Legacy systems and networks like 3G and 4G are not able to cope with the immense amounts of data needed for businesses to run efficiently online. Business units cannot afford to not be connected to a reliable network, and 5G deployments have become critical to solving this issue. How big will this market be? According to GSMA, by 2025 5G is estimated to account for 20% of global connections. It is estimated that operators will spend 80% of sector CAPEX ($890 billion) on 5G networks over the next five years. 5G is also set to impact IoT significantly. IoT connections are projected to reach almost 25 billion by 2025 and global IoT revenue will also more than triple to $1.1 trillion. To date, 113 mobile operators have launched a 5G network in 48 countries and there are more to come.
Another driver of digital transformation is Industry 5.0. We have all heard of the fourth industrial revolution, but Industry 5.0 is on its way. This new industrial revolution refers to people, robots and machines working alongside each other. Innovative advancements in technology are making this possible. This technology includes artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), robotics, Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles and self-driving cars, 3D printing, virtual and augmented reality, wearables, additive manufacturing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy storage and quantum computing. Machine capabilities will be used to help humans work faster and smarter by leveraging technology. This collaboration will enhance efficiency and productivity and make the impossible a reality. For example, visualise a specialist in Germany, performing a procedure on a patient in America remotely. With the help of technology and robotics, this could be a possibility.
Another key driver of digital transformation is the digitisation of enterprises. More and more businesses realise the benefits of big data, predictive analytics AI, IoT and digital technology and that in order to gain a competitive advantage they need to make fundamental changes to their business processes and operations. These technologies are tools that businesses can utilise to convert data into actionable insights to create new business applications, services and product offerings. It enables a business to identify new trends and risks while alerting them to possible problems or issues while meeting customer expectations. With this technology comes business transformation, new opportunities and new business models.
How is Adapt IT answering to industries digital transformation needs
From the above, it is clear that digital transformation is not slowing down, instead, it is accelerating. This is why it is essential to partner with a business like Adapt IT, who are experts in helping Telcos drive digital transformation and change within their business. We have a range of solutions that will enhance your business operations’ productivity and efficiency using innovative digital technology. This technology, when implemented as part of your digital transformation strategy, allows you to streamline processes to improve how your business runs which ultimately impacts customer experience, customer churn and revenue. Below are four of our software solutions that are helping Telcos with their digital transformations:
- Corporate Customer Self Service (CCSS) Solution – The CCSS platform is a self-service platform that allows customers to become completely independent and take control of their solutions. Customers will no longer need to call into a call centre for assistance, through this platform they will be able to access the data and information needed on their own. This not only enhances customer experience but it greatly reduces the costs associated with having a full service call centre for Telcos.
- Data Connectivity Management – this customisable solution allows you to streamline, monitor, analyse, provision, and manage your IoT devices, including Machine-to-Machine (M2M) elements and SIM cards from one centralised platform. Data Connectivity Management allows Operators/Service Providers to offer and monetise data management services without complex setups, configuration or integration into the primary network.
- FinTech – our innovative FinTech solutions answer the financial needs of customers and businesses. These FinTech solutions, which include mobile wallet solutions, digital payments, air-time top ups, merchant portals, instant transfers etc. facilitate financial inclusion especially for unbanked customers.
- Analytics – data and analytics are a business’s biggest digital asset. Our solutions will help you manage soaring data volumes, vast degrees and numbers of users, complicated queries, and fast-changing information from one easy to use interface. This will allow you to outline business performance, highlight opportunities, improve customer service and ultimately revenue.
The digital age is upon us and digital transformation is set to significantly impact industries and businesses across the globe in years to come. There are many key drivers of digital transformation that are speeding up this process and encouraging businesses to make this shift. Adapt IT provides several solutions geared to help Telcos make this transition and move into the digital world. Let us be part of your digital transformation success.
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As the Global Head of Marketing and Business Development with 20 years of experience, Agnieszka’s expertise lies in the practical implementation of digital and traditional marketing strategies for B2C and B2B companies. Through her long-term, client-focused, strategic approach, and branding experience, she continues to develop innovative marketing plans that yield significant results. Now working in the SaaS industry, she oversees a multitude of solutions within the telecommunications industry including Customer Experience & Self-service, VAS, NextGen, IoT, FinTech, and Advanced Analytics.