There’s more than one way to become a true digital player

digital transformation
Image credit: Sashkin /

Telecommunications has enabled and been the catalyst for disruption and transformation in almost every industry on earth. Yet thanks to the rise of digital, the industry that it must now disrupt and transform is its own.

Fixed-line innovations may have been slow over 100 years, but over the past decade advances in the mobile world have been extraordinary. We have watched the world move from a voice-centric 2G world, through 3G, now 4G and on towards 5G and the potential that holds.

However, network-based innovation is only half the story. The telecoms company of today must transform into a digital player to compete – and collaborate – with the digital service providers they used to think of as their foes.

It is not an option.

At the center of this transformation must be the customer. The customer experience of the future – the not too distant future – must be rich, personalized and responsive, and any communication medium must be open to the customer.

Customer interaction must be omni-channel. Products must be personalized, tailored and delivered instantly. Feedback must be rich, from many sources and feed the cycle of constant improvement of customer offerings.

This, of course, is no small challenge, and it is foolhardy to believe that it will be painless and quick. And to make it more challenging, this transformation must produce a lean, agile and highly automated entity.

true digital playerThat said, there are road maps to follow and goals that are highly achievable along the way.

If the goal is an impeccable and world class customer experience, then the place to start is to put the tools in place that bring about better contact with the customer.

A centralized product catalogue will help customer service agents see all of a customer’s services and products and thus be able to help with all of them. Bots, or chatbots, should be considered as a way of filtering possible solutions to the customer’s queries or problems. Flexible charging systems should be in place so that the customer can choose how to pay for services – via the regular bill, instantly, or through a payment system such as PayPal.

First contact with the customer must also be a focus. Onboarding a customer must be as easy and seamless as the process digital service providers have developed and refined. Processes such as ‘Know Your Customer’ can now be automated.

Central to providing customers with compelling services will be offering them third-party products. To do this, and to do it in ways that differentiate their offerings, telecoms companies must allow partners access to the BSS to allow collaboration between them. This, over time, will allow business managers to work with partners to constantly improve their offerings. Innovation will surely follow.

There is, of course, another transformation that must happen within telecoms companies. We are already seeing a shift from a network-centric industry to a business-centric industry. Companies must now shift again to a customer-centric industry, and become more much flexible in how they offer their services. Gone are the days when a product must be tested, tested, and tested again until it is deemed perfect. Telecoms companies must adopt the software industry’s approach of iterative cycles and a constantly improving, personalized offering.

If the customer experience can be improved, constantly, then the benefits to the business will flow through to the bottom line and become good for business and good for the customer.

The good news is that although no one pretends it will be easy, there are ideas, road maps and partners out there who can help.

Disruptive.Asia will be exploring this topic in-depth with Indonesia’s top telecoms execs at our Jakarta Digital Transformation Summit powered by our technology partner Sterlite Tech. Click here or the banner above to order your FREE copy of the post-show report!

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