Connected things, smarter devices, wearables and 5th generation mobile networks: it would be a mistake to do nothing in the light of these trends. Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) cannot take refuge in established mainstream subscriber services, and simply offer more competitive rates. Analysis Mason’s predictions for the telecoms, media and technology sectors 2017 features digital experience as the third big thing in its top ten predictions: “Network operators will increasingly use digital experience initiatives to appeal to digital natives.”
By Gabriele Di Piazza, VP Products & Solutions, Telco NFV, VMware
Fourth on the same list is a suggestion that “an increase in the volume of mobile video traffic will lead network operators to invest in virtualized video delivery and traffic management solutions.”
This reality means that operators can only expect to retain and build business if they are able to meet new subscriber demand for more sophisticated services. Meeting this demand requires an honest reassessment of how fit the business is, in its current format, to accommodate new demands subscribers are making on their service providers. And the good news is that it can be done. All is far from doom and gloom.
One is tempted to wonder which type of organization stands most to benefit from network-dependent new technologies, such as the Digital Assistant. Will disruptors continue to cannibalize the market? History suggests that they will, unless market dynamics change.
Past incursions such as Skype, WhatsApp, and Facebook have established an evolutionary pattern – the fittest are surviving and thriving. These OTT (over-the-top content) service providers are delivering exciting and relevant services that customers are finding to be more useful and engaging than traditional services. What’s more, they are delivering these services through the pipes built by the MNOs.
If these significant recent trends are anything to go by it is easy to imagine that these organizations, and others like them, are already planning their service propositions to meet IoT and its potentially limitless manifestations.
Claim your share
Tomorrow will only be better than before for MNOs if they take such advice and start obsessing about tomorrow. Any five-years out view, based on offering network services as they are today, is simply not realistic. ‘Better than before’ is not a right. It has to be claimed.
A need to adapt is clearly emerging as a theme in just about every blog and pronouncement you read nowadays. Everybody agrees that the fittest will survive and I was delighted to note an observation from KPMG that largely concurred with my own long-held views: “Telcos’ first challenge must be to shift the prevailing business mind-set from one focused on engineering to one focused on the customer. There remains a legacy culture in some Telcos in which the customer is a secondary consideration to engineering.”
The new battleground
Legacy network infrastructures, or the legacy style of thinking that goes with them, are highly suspect as foundations for competitive agility in the future. Customer focus will be the new battleground – requiring new thinking and a new, agile approach to network technologies that permit speed of response and dynamic services provision.
Video, picked out in Analysis Mason’s predictions, is but one area to prepare for. IoT will be soon upon us. MNOs need to be ready to meet the demands of the modern customer. Providing digital services and great customer experiences is necessary to win. The most important thing is to recognize the need for change now. It will all soon be here. A transition to software-driven architecture, providing the agility and flexibility that a changing world craves, can be made in such a way as to retain many of the robust and still valuable capabilities derived from existing investments.
How realistic is it to move swiftly to a customer-centric business mind-set?
I’d welcome your views on the great MNO come-back, particularly with regards to the people skills you think are most likely to make it possible and how those skills can be deployed.