Service providers need to accelerate a multi-dimensional digital transformation to remain relevant in their customers’ eyes. But where do communications service providers (CSPs) stand on the question of transformation?
A recent survey of over 80 CSPs worldwide brought a number of disturbing findings to the surface. While consumers want a multi-dimensional approach to improve the experience they receive, the service providers interviewed admitted that 80% of digital projects are executed as standalone initiatives. Clearly, this runs the risk of having misaligned deliverables, and generating dislocated, rather than seamless, experiences.
Seeking to understand why this was the case, 46% of operators said that they did not have a clear digital strategy. If that was not concerning enough, lack of leadership was also apparent. 89% of respondents agreed that a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) was important to lead and drive their digital transformation. Yet, only 28% said that they had a CDO in place. This gap between intent-to-reality was widest in North America, with 95% wanting a CDO to drive the digital agenda, but only 14% actually having one.
With limited strategic roadmap or leadership, it is no wonder 64% of CSPs voiced their concern that they would be outpaced by other industries. In spite of this, a rather misplaced sense of accomplishment remained widespread. For example, 82% of senior executives felt they were either ahead of the competition or leading the industry in digital transformation.
And whilst consumers were clear about the areas they wanted to see improved in the next 12 months, 50% of telecom executives said their digital transformation would take at least five years to complete.
What should CSPs do to catch up with customer expectations?
From my many discussions with operators, four tips come to mind:
- Design, agree and communicate a digital strategy. And do it quick. This should include a deliberate path to intercept the digital projects already in flight, so that they become part of a coherent whole.
- Build digital skills. A good place to start is in the inventory of the competencies already in the company, many of which have been built 'on-the-job' across multiple functional teams engaged in some of the heretofore standalone digital projects.
- Seek external help. One angle here is co-creation with customers, some of whom will be more than happy to be part of user groups and pilots that hold the promise of a better experience. Another is to turn to the vendor community – many companies, large and small, have built their digital skills and can turbo-charge the digital plan of the CSP.
- Fail fast and celebrate success. Decisive actions will demonstrate leadership (and free-up resources). Honouring the success towards the vision will build momentum.
Vincent Rousselet, Vice President, Market Insight & Strategy
With more than 20 years of strategic and operational global marketing experience predominantly in IT and telecommunications, Vincent Rousselet has worked with some of the world’s most recognizable organizations and brands, and now leads the entire Market Insight & Strategy group at Amdocs.
Vincent joined Amdocs after running his own consultancy where he helped organizations to understand and more effectively serve their customers through insightful research, decisive portfolio & solution planning, and comprehensive marketing execution. His recent clients include Orange Business Services, Arqiva, Capgemini, Thales and the European Commission. Vincent’s career also includes managing marketing at BT where he launched one of BT’s most successful B2B telephony packages, (whilst growing the return on marketing investment), and Fujitsu, where he was responsible for developing and deploying the Japan-headquartered IT giant’s global strategic plans.
Published as part of BossFest16