We used to call them telcos, and then decided to change that to communications service providers to take account of the advent of virtual network operators (ie companies offering services without owning a network). Now 'communications service provider' smells too much like the old world, since much of what telcos do is to provide internet access and video. Communications may not even be provided by the telco but instead via an OTT non-telco app.
So we try some new terms - digital service provider, for example. Doesn't that sound funky?
The only problem being that not all CSPs will turn into DSPs (although some will). If you read the definition of digital service provider it's all about sexy content services, B2C focused, realtime down-with-the-kids stuff.
While this role will certainly exist it won't be the only role a telco can play in the Digital World, and since it sits at the services layer then having a network is not a prerequisite to be a DSP.
To make things clearer, I'd like to suggest two other roles that need to be accounted for in the Digital World.
The first is the role of Connectivity Solution Provider - which also handily has the acronym of CSP. This role is an evolution of the telco model. After all, someone will have to provide the reliable, high-performance and secure smartpipes that make the Connected World...er...connected.
These businesses will require scale and will focus on efficient, advanced network technologies. Efficiency and automation will be their bywords and virtualisation will be their mantra.
They will be solution providers not service providers because wrapped around the core connectivity service they will offer value-added network-plus services such as security, differentiated QoS, guaranteed QoS, ID management, authorisation and so on. Combined with connectivity this creates a total connectivity solution.
Another key role in the Digital Value Matrix is that of Digital Commerce Enabler. Such companies will provide value-added services to support Connected Enterprises and Connected Customers. This could include payment services - and security around that - as well as capabilities to help enterprises manage and interact with customers and bring their products to the Digital Market.
What's important to recognise is that the old divisions of B2B and B2C will fade and new divisions and roles will emerge. A digital commerce enabler might be a largely B2B role, but it could support microbusinesses and one-man-bands in a market where virtually everyone could have something to sell. The individual as a business is a new and logical step forward in a world where access to you or data about you is valuable.
There are many other roles that service providers can play but perhaps time to pause for thought and consider what do we call the industry formerly called telecoms? And what do we call the players within it?
Published as part of BossFest16