The cornerstones of digital transformation are actually very simple, according to Vaibhav Dongre, General Manager and Global Head of Marketing at Tata Communications Transformation Services (TCTS).
He should know. Dongre and his team have been talking to telcos about their transformation journey for two years or so. In fact, the company conducted a survey with around 60 telcos around the world. They asked them how they categorised their transformation priorities in the short term, medium term and long term.
One result was a matrix that cross referenced six market segments and six domains. The other result was that telcos need to be smarter faster and more efficient. Or, as Dongre puts it, telcos must simplify, automate, then innovate.
The starting point must be to simplify the business. Do this and it will be easier for partners, internal customers, employees, in fact your whole ecosystem to leverage the digital opportunities.
A key element of this simplification is automation. Enormous efficiencies will be realised through automation. In fact, we are entering the ‘hyper automation era’, where whatever can be automated will be automated, whether you like it or not. And if you don’t do it, someone else will.
Ultimately, says Dongre, ‘automation done right is actually simplification’.
Once simplification has been achieved – or at least the initial goals have been achieved – then telcos will be in a position to take advantage of the digital revenue streams and embrace the innovation ecosystem. One absolute fundamental, according to Dongre, is that transformation must be driven by customer experience – everything must be done in the context of customer experience.
Of course, where telcos are in their digital journey varies enormously, according to a range of circumstances. Interestingly, even those telcos who said that transformation was complete provided interesting intelligence for TCTS. This was because when they were asked how they gauged that the journey was complete, the real answer was that overall transformation was not complete, just one particular aspect or milestone had been reached.
Transformation, it seems, is never done, whether it involves new approaches to network planning and design or tackling wider business issues. To succeed in the digital age, according to TCTS (and their 60 telcos) is to simplify, automate, then be ready to innovate.