From Fail to Scale: Creating a Roadmap for Continual Telco Transformation


Telecoms organisations for the most part are ill-equipped to change. They are known for making investments and sweating assets or providing the underlying infrastructure for innovation. Today, many can see the end game of becoming a Digital Service Provider or vertical solution orchestrator but not how they’ll get there.

According to IDC, by 2023, the spending on the technologies and services that enable digital transformation worldwide is expected to amount to $2.3 trillion. With such a vast amount of capital being spent on digitally transforming, telcos must ensure they’re making the right decisions that will enable their future.

Transformation cannot be just about updating legacy systems. If telcos do not take action and refocus their effort into continuous transformation, they will get left behind and become irrelevant to customers, partners and prospects.

The Telco Failure in Transformation

Telco’s have been navigating transformation for a few years now, however they’re still facing challenges which result in their transformation being less effective and efficient.

Transformation fails when organisations focus too much on silo’d and standalone transformation projects. There has to be a cohesive vision for the transformation journey and not just a one-and-done approach to updating legacy systems

There also has to be a greater alignment between technology and infrastructure and business objectives. Digital transformation has failure rates as high as 84%, according to Forbes. In telecoms, that can be because the tech goals are clear but not the business goals.

Decision making, planning and execution must move with speed. It isn’t good enough to execute over several years when new players and competitors either don’t have legacy systems to deal with or are able to continually evolve their organisations.

At the same time, a lot of telcos have partners that offer ‘band-aid’ solutions rather than being able to step back and see the big picture. They need advice that isn’t tied to one technology or approach. They need partners who can map out their transformation journey and create a consultative approach. Partners that push product rather than listening can set a telco up for failure.

Building a Foundation for Continual Transformation

Every organisation is at a different stage of their transformation journey, but each one can benefit from expert advice. A transformation partner can help simplify processes, from planning through to technical deployments and onward to continual transformation strategies.

Their continual transformation journey begins with refocus efforts on these six core components:

  1. Aligning Business Objectives and Operations – Software, technologies and processes must be focused on business objectives and refined to deliver new levels of customer experience.
  2. Automate Everything – Automate everything or at least as much as possible within an organisation’s operations. Manual processes create risk of human error, make scaling difficult, and put-up barriers to growth.
  3. Think Fast – Solutions should be delivered with ‘Out of the Box’ functionality with quick implementation and delivery and customers and partners should be able to monetise new services rapidly.
  4. Powerful Partnerships – Partners are the lifeblood of the ICT ecosystem. Telcos need to develop a rich and diverse partner ecosystem and create new value for customers through integrating new capabilities, testing and refining what works, and presenting out new solutions with a seamless experience.
  5. From Customer to Co-Creators – Customer relationships are about collaboration, co-creation and growing together overtime. Telcos must have the mindset and the agile processes required to listen, develop new solutions and innovate hand-in-hand with customers.

6. Experiencing Greatness – Customer experiences begin before a customer comes on board. Telcos need to shape experiences and capture data from leads before they turn into customers to ensure that they meet customer expectations and can delight customers after they sign their contract. It goes way beyond just service support.

If organisations can find a partner that can be a long-term guide on their transformation journey and focus on a truly continuous transformation journey, they’ll create a huge competitive advantage for the future.

The Opportunity for Telcos in Transformation

Operators such as international carriers, Fibre-to-the-Home (FFTH) broadband providers and Enterprise B2B Managed Service Providers must build a foundation for continual transformation. The journey does not have an end, which is both a challenge and an opportunity.

Organisations can no longer afford a wait and see approach or do more of the same. They must move now to refocus on continual transformations because the ones that do will create lasting competitive advantages, benefit from greater customer loyalty, and differentiate their offerings based on experience.

Telcos are not typically drivers for change. They are often forced into change. They need time to adapt as their investments are vast and characterised by relatively long ROI cycles. They invest CAPEX into their networks and hope nothing changes for five or ten years while they achieve their ROI.

With the support of a transformation partner, they can be drivers for change, enablers for innovation and find new growth driven by market disruption.