Digital Transformation & Maturity

Design thinking speeds digital transformation

In today’s disruptive environment, digital transformation is driving organizational change, but telcos’ own transformations need immense coordination and collaboration.They’ll have to step away from traditional project design approaches when designing business or technical services within their developing digital environment.

Specifically, when designing the respective interface APIs, transaction flows, any related processes, and when pinpointing the necessary measurements (SLA) and metrics (KPIs).

The focus must be on user centricity, enhanced platform support and careful governance.

What will impact digital transformation?:

  • applications and storage moving to clouds;
  • smart home integration with mobile devices;
  • adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) eSIM devices;
  • convergence of all communication services and subsequent consolidation of billing. Such services include broadband, direct-to-home (DTH), smart home, IoT devices, security devices, etc. via fiber to the home (FTTH); and
  • adoption of big data platforms and cloud computing.

Common challenges:

  • Agreeing on service targets – without pinpointing the necessary KPIs and SLAs, it’s easy to play the blame game when accountability is not clear.
  • Unavailable capacity predictions – companies should have the appropriate capacity to fulfill all demands. If forecasts aren’t available (increase in number of transactions/subscribers/users, etc.) for an upgraded/new service offering, telcos may end up dealing with more than they can handle, leading to service outages.
  • Parallel designing and roll out – for example, two projects happening at concurrently with both needing  a major component of a billing platform at the same time. This can be attributed to poor planning and little or no impact assessment at the initial stages of the project.
  • Stakeholder silos silos lead to a lack of communication between teams resulting in crossed wires and confused projects.
  • Changing requirements – any changes at any stage of the end-to-end design will inevitably impact other design elements, and disconnects arise if left unresolved

The ITIL best practices, bespoke to each element (service level management, supplier management, capacity, availability, service continuity and design coordination) can help to tackle these challenges. BUT, there are other approaches.

Planning stage – design thinking

Design thinking is a five-step, widely used, creative methodology giving digital innovators an alternative way to understand and deal with the scope, parameters and requirements of a project:

  • Empathy: Understanding the project and end-users’ needs, and engaging the right stakeholders at the start helps to identify the risks at an early stage.
  • Define: Reassessing the project scope, based on feedback, at the empathy phase. The reframed project vision saves us from any impossible tasks at later stages.
  • Ideate: Teams come up with solutions outside the obvious. This burst of creative thinking will contribute to developing original, innovative solutions.
  • Prototype: Break the solution into smaller chunks such as launch dates, budget, functionality, etc. Eliminate any ambiguity, and drive project communications through regular follow ups on timelines.
  • Test: Get continuous feedback during the design stage; record any challenges that have arisen, reassess if the end-solution will still work and examine whether it’s possible to cater to the newly identified needs.

Execution stage – enhanced communications

  • Project-specific conversations using an online internal communications tool such as Yammer, brings teams onto a single platform to discuss project elements like deadlines, challenges, requirements, support team information and announcements about project milestones.
  • The immediacy of creating project meeting notes (conversation threads, a risk register, meeting minutes, stakeholder details, etc.) on Yammer in real time saves time, and is helpful in ensuring important points raised in meetings don’t fall by the wayside.
  • Internal communication tools often opens the door to engagement with external stakeholders whenever they’re involved.

 Enhanced skills

  • Appropriately skilled employees are the most important factor for the success of any future project.
  • The project team should be able to understand and assess the benefits of transformation in terms of financial terms as well as customer experience.
  • Upskilling employees with digital capabilities helps fill the skills gap and adds to project expertise.

This enhanced design approach helps improve the cross-departmental and cross-functional communication, discard any unnecessary tasks and transform staff into a digital workforce.


    About The Author

    Business Consultant - Tech Mahindra

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