From early contact with smoke signals and drums to the high-tech digital services we have today, the methods we use to communicate and the institutions that support it have had to reinvent themselves. Evolution has come by way of the user experience (yes, those in 200 BC were users too) and expectations. What the user wants, the communications provider has adapted to accommodate.
Those smoke signals may have adapted to the telegraph and the telephone, but communications are facing a big change once again. Business models, systems and processes celebrated as high-tech Telco twenty years ago are now considered antiquated, as innovations such as 5G and IoT take over the market. In parallel, the consumer of today has different expectations and wants immediate gratification, real-time services and customized products.
In this new digital-first world there are three fundamental ways that Telcos, and other digitally-minded industries, need to rethink their practices.
As telecommunications providers have been in existence for decades, the once simple subscriber segments and service types offered have become more complex and costlier to manage. Telcos need to start the transformation to becoming a provider of digital services by taking a hard look at existing systems. Do these systems deliver what these operators, and more importantly, their customers, require in the digital age? Or, is the Telco struggling with legacy infrastructure that is slowing down progress? Do existing BSS systems meet the demands of 5G and allow providers to monetize this technology, or, because of IT silos, scalability challenges and continuous upgrade programs, are operators missing out on getting the most out of modern innovations?
Rethinking is about moving forward and choosing the path that leads to meaningful transformation. If the existing infrastructure is not contributing to the future success of the Telco, and is even hindering evolution, it is not making an investment in growth. Unifying the commerce platform, rearchitected from the database level up to enable the scale and complexity needed to do business in a digital world, is the first step to delivering what users demand. Being capable of monetizing across all parts of the organization, and capitalizing on 5G, requires a platform with network-grade reliability in a high volume, ultra-low latency, complex, multi-network environment.
Embracing this digital rethink produces immediate digital transformation. Customer experience is vastly improved, workflows are more efficiently operated and new monetization opportunities emerge — a vital step in the right direction.
When looking to modernize the way business is conducted, the customer needs to be at the core of everything. For most businesses, giving the customer what they want has always been the backbone of a successful company; however, this is a rethink from the IT-dictated methods historically adopted by many communications service providers. These company-first mindsets must evolve as access to innovations, customization, convenience and, most importantly, instant gratification will force Telcos to adapt.
While evolving in this area will not be easy, it should be viewed as a positive change as it opens a door for immense opportunities if deployed properly. For Telcos, this means making the customer experience better by responding to ever-fluctuating consumer demands through configurable offers that are unique in the manner they are delivered with no lengthy customization. Just as ancient users couldn’t send their smoke signals without dry sticks, how can a digital service provider offer an excellent experience to digital users if their IT systems won’t allow it?
Winning with digital transformation in the 5G world means moving quickly to get new products and offers to market; however, legacy models often take months or years to deploy new offerings. Smart-minded Telcos are adopting agile methodologies that move the project forward at a rapid pace, using market feedback to guide future development.
Rethinking the delivery of products through agile methods has worked for other industries, so why not Telcos (who are supposed to be transforming to digital immediately)? One tactic that operators are increasingly taking is adopting a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) approach as a means to fast-track delivering products as quickly as possible. By starting with such things as an extremely narrow scope, a new digital BSS stack with minimal impact to legacy, and independent, cross-functional project teams, Telcos have been successfully launching entirely new products in under six months. Embracing an MVP mindset, launching quickly and using market feedback to guide the continuous development of features provides an aggressive, digital-first strategy.
Rethinking Telco starts with providing an improved experience to customers. To do this, Telcos need the precision, performance and reliability required through a platform prepared for a digital-first world. The MATRIXX Digital Commerce Platform takes antiquated business processes and systems and modernizes them for a better customer experience. It transforms the way customers buy, manage, share and pay for digital services, by serving as the framework for next-generation IT architectures.
Telcos can’t modernize their business when they have relied on traditional systems and processes for decades. If the purpose of a rethink is to deliver digital transformation, quickly, then a rethink needs to start with the platform. Customer experience is what will drive Telcos forward in the coming decades, and customers expect more than simple smoke signals. Reinventing itself is what Telcos have had to do throughout the generations, and the time for Telco evolution is now.