Podcast: Martin Creaner and the truth about telco transformation

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July 29th, 2017, has a special significance for Martin Creaner, former president and CEO of the TM Forum. It was the day that he started writing the book that had been forming in his head for some years. Spending the last few years talking to C-level executives from telcos around the world, whether face to face, at workshops or other events, Creaner was able to crystallize his vision for the book.

The title of the book – Transforming the Telco – is deceptively simple. It will, Creaner is convinced, give executives a view of the full scope of the challenge. Talking to executives about his insights, Creaner has heard the penny drop on a number of occasions.

Fundamentally, Creaner believes, telcos have been tinkering around with transformation. In fact, it is a fundamental change for the future and encompasses all aspects of a telco, not just networks, customer service, business models or culture. One real challenge is that all of these areas impact on all other areas.

The problem, says Creaner, is that telcos have looked upon transformation as a just a project where one area is transformed, and the rest of the business carries on as usual. And it has seen a lot of investment. “Telcos over the last few years have invested billions, possibly hundreds of billions, in drones and smart cities, not to mention 4G, 5G and the like. And yet, they have not created one iconic digital service, nor has a telco become an iconic digital brand.”

The book breaks down the total telco transformation into ten transformation journeys, covering networks, security, data and digital services. On top of these, Creaner proposes five future outcomes for telcos, from ‘dumb pipe’ to pure service provider. “There are arguments for all of these, even the dumb pipe,” says Creaner. “The only thing which is certain, though, is that staying the same, doing nothing, is simply not an option if you want to survive.”

One trait that Creaner has found over the years is that telcos tend to be copycats. They wait for another telco to break rank and do something innovative, and follow suit. Even with the difference in regulations, culture and target market, the challenge remains fundamentally the same.

This book could, quite possibly, be the catalyst that enables telcos to start the digital journey, properly, and without waiting for someone to go first.

Further details and how you can purchase the book can be found here.

Martin Creaner is seen as one of the leading strategic thinkers in the global communications industry with a successful career as an executive with Motorola and British Telecom, as well as over a decade as president & CEO of the TM Forum, the global industry association for the Telecoms Management. Martin is also a recognized thought-leader on Digital Transformation and the trends of the emerging digital economy. 

Listen to my full interview with Martin in the podcast below:

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