Three digital transformation blind spots you need to be aware of
Business leadership consultant Dan Rockwell said, “The most common blind spot is believing others have them, but you don’t.” In business, believing you see everything and therefore will work out the correct path forward is a false comfort. You only have to look to the Fortune 500’s history to see that; today just 52 companies from the 1955 list still remain. For corporate leaders double checking your blind spots, especially during disruptive times, is a business (and personal) imperative.
While there has been little to no negative disruption for the telecom sector, in many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the industry into focus as connectivity became a lifeline to learning, employment, health, and socialization. According to Jefferson Wang, author of The Future Home in the 5G Era “62% of consumers now trust CSPs with their data. That’s a huge advantage right now [that CSPs] can capitalize on.”
But can CSPs rise to the challenge? Expanding their value chain into new services and business models is dependent upon the speed and execution of every CSP’s own digital transformation. With more than two-thirds of digital transformation projects prone to misfires,according to Forbes, embracing the essentials and keeping an eye on three critical blind spots are the keys to success, based on what we’ve learned from successful transformations so far.
#1 Losing sight of the customer
“Every digital transformation is going to begin and end with the customer; and I see that in the minds of every CEO I talk to,” says Marc Benioff Chairman and CEO of Salesforce, the global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM).
CSPs must take the time to understand how to best reshape their business for the future needs of their customers. Having a 360-degree view of your customer will ensure investment in future digital services improve brand loyalty and set the right customer experience foundation for 5G and beyond.
“79% of millennials willing to buy from brands that have a mobile customer service portal”
Telefonica is one company that is testing cutting-edge technology to make big improvements to the customer experience. With over 79% of millennials willing to buy from brands that have a mobile customer service portal, the Madrid-based telecom operator recently launched a pilot program to create a “cognitive contact center.” Using AI, machine learning, and voice recognition technology, Telefonica developed an all-digital approach to service and support for their digital savvy subscribers.
To improve customer experiences and brand equity, CSPs will need to look at more flexible and open approaches to innovation, inviting outside expertise to participate in various ecosystem models.
#2 Forgetting people and process are two sides of any actionable plan
Early ripples of change must first take shape internally to make way for an entirely new operating model. But as you remove silos and bring in new technology and processes, having a strategy to effectively support and communicate change is vital, ensuring all employees feel empowered and fully engaged to carry them out.
Engage employees early and often
With 75% of business leaders agreeing that current operating models will be unrecognizable in the next five years, Accenture research shows, “Companies with highly engaged workforces see a measurable bottom-line impact, significantly outperforming their peers and making their organizations stand out during a time of disruption.”
Companies that invest in new ways of working send a clear message of support in establishing a growth mindset. By providing a much clearer approach to innovation and transformation for employees, CSPs can maximize returns, by empowering teams while fostering unity. According to a report issued by the IBM Institute for Business Value:“The traditional change curve no longer applies to an organization seeking to undertake a major transformation — and employees expect to be engaged differently, personalizing their roles in the journey.” Making employees at all levels of the organization an important part of embracing a culture of change.
“75% of business leaders agreeing that current operating models will be unrecognizable in the next five years”
Set up systems for success
To get employees aligned with a common purpose, setting up the right systems for success will be critical for a sustainable transformation. A recent article from Strategy & Business on the 10 principles of workforce transformation shared that “the greatest challenge is not the tech itself: It’s developing a knowledgeable, strategically adept, cognitively flexible, and proficient workforce.”
BT, one of the world’s leading CSPs serving over 180 countries as the United Kingdom’s largest fixed-voice and broadband provider, decisively focused their transformation on enterprise-wide collaboration; removing silos among key business functions such as marketing, product, service, digital and tech.
Simon Evatt, Director of Customer Service Technology and Analytics says: “If you have a digital transformation built on sand than you’re going to fail. Being mindful of your organization’s internal capabilities and readiness for change, tempering things to go at the right pace of business, with the right exec sponsorship and relationship with partners is key.”
Using a unified approach to transformation, BT dramatically improved their workforce efficiency and overall digital service offering to their customers.
#3 Pace yourself, transformation is a journey not a destination
Transformation from a CSP to a DSP is multi-stage process, with no round-trip ticket fare. The transformation CSPs start today won’t pay off in the short-term, with most looking at a phased approach to implementation. McKinsey & Company forecasts a full digital transformation could take up to five years, suggesting CSPs should approach transformation with the right expectations.
“… One of the greatest challenges in the digital transformation of an organization is certainly the cultural dimension.”
Pablo Esses, Telecom Argentina
Many forward thinking CSPs such as Telecom Argentina, who embarked on their transformation journey as early as 2017, took an all-in and committed approach to change. Largely influenced by an aggressive M&A strategy, and a strong desire to become the leading provider of quad-play services, Telecom Argentina set out to simplify their business and converge their online service deliver to over 30+ million subscribers. Pablo Esses, CIO at Telecom Argentina describes the journey: “One of the greatest challenges in the digital transformation of an organization is certainly the cultural dimension. Transformation of our core systems and processes comes with a deep cultural shift that runs across the company.”
Knowing transforming to digital would enable them to embrace and profit from disruptive technologies, such as the next evolution of the cloud, Telecom Argentina migrated to an entirely new digital native platform. Fast forward to 2020, Telecom Argentina was able to cut the number of commercial processes by 65%, improve case resolution by 120% through system integration that helped streamline their customer journeys, and reduce the steps needed to activate new services by 60% – ultimately accelerating their time to market.
Lead with certainty in uncertain times
For an industry that began over a century ago, change is not easy. While focused on future customer needs as their north star, CSPs shouldn’t wait. Yes, launching an effective digital transformation is a daunting proposition, and it may be tempting to wait to learn from others, but with a sober understanding of your business with regard to these common blind spots, and a real intention to change, you can start your journey with confidence. All together and all in.
“anyone can steer a ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course”
John C Maxwell,