Successful digital transformation needs a CEO that ‘gets’ digital

digital CEO
Image credit: Sergey Nivens /

For a few years now, the success stories around digital transformation in telcos have been few and far between. Up until now, they are almost never driven by the CEO. In fact, innovation in areas such as big data and analytics have been done under cover of darkness, as guerrilla projects. Some have been successful.

Now this is changing, according to digital commerce specialist MATRIXX Software in a new Playbook.

The book promotes a concept called Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and is designed to jump start a telco’s digital journey.

Whilst the concept is, at first sight, based around the iterative software approach to product launches that most telcos tend to shy away from, the formula is simple and effective. If your aim is to ‘launch innovative products quickly and use market feedback to guide their continuous development’, then this book is worth a read.

There are three ingredients to success, says MATRIXX.

First is the proposition. This must be ‘mobile first’ and its aim must be to dramatically enhance the customer experience.

Second is solution integration. As the concept’s name would suggest, the features required should be the minimum needed to launch, and the timescales should be no more than six months.

Third, and probably most important, are the people. Generally, you need a project team of between 15 to 20 people and they must have C-level support.

What separates this book from generic presentations on the subject is that it is backed by case studies.

One customer – soon to be announced, we understand – has achieved what many embedded in a telco would deem impossible: a new brand, a new segment with a new offering in six months, with the CEO driving it. And driving it with a budget small enough that the project does not get bogged down in procurement and IT road maps. The timescale is actually less than many telco procurement cycles – a lot less.

As the market changes, as we move from Powerpoint slides to early examples, MATRIXX is now finding real traction in this approach, in Asia and other regions.

What is interesting is that we are not talking about new entrants or Tier 3 carriers, we are talking about Tier 1s.

A few months ago, we asked founder and CEO of MATRIXX, Dave Labuda, why a niche vendor would, frankly, have the audacity to address Tier 1s. His answer nicely underpins why this approach is a compelling one.

He saw our point, but said “that the problem that our software addresses is far more evident at scale. It is not that the operator with two million subscribers does not have the problem, but at that level there are still things you can do with the legacy. Once you get up to 20, 50, even 100 million subscribers and you are introducing 4G and so on, then at that level the legacy systems effectively just fall apart”. At that level, says Labuda, the problem is real, obvious and needs to be addressed.

We look forward to getting more information on customer announcements in the coming weeks and months but it certainly looks as if telcos now have a methodology for getting a jump start on the digital journey they must now take.

The Playbook is available here and is free for a short registration.

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