Digital Transformation & Maturity

Telco transformation should focus more on people and work

In the wake of increasing digital transformation, major global organizations are redesigning roles from scratch to deliver entirely new business models.

This sweeping digital phenomenon has elevated the priority of organization design amongst executive teams in every industry, including telecoms. An online survey conducted by the Corporate Research Forum in 2017 revealed that 89% of businesses have either recently gone through or are in the process of a reorganization, while a further 68% expect more in the next two years.

Digital transformation means that key aspects of functional work performed in organizations today will be automated. People will spend less time doing manual processing and focus more on higher-level, strategic and knowledge-based work. Organizations will become more agile as flexible matrix and workforce supply management replaces fixed organizational structures and governance.

And yet… the people aspect is often underplayed in the journey to digital transformation.

TM Forum’s 2017 research report, Digital Transformation Tracker 1: The race is on, clearly identified leadership, culture, skills and organizational challenges as key barriers to firms’ transformation goals digital transformation

Although operators have pioneered technology deployment, they will not realize the full potential of digital transformation if they don’t change the way their work is done. Businesses that don’t address the people aspect (skills, mindset etc.) will be left with slow-moving, complex legacy operating models, inhibiting new technologies from delivering their full return on investment (ROI). In the battleground for customer, product and brand loyalty, this will make them vulnerable to competitors who have made the transition and are able to provide better overall customer experience.

Aligning people, processes and skills with technology

A successful transition to a digital business requires change in not just technology, but also process and people; all these factors are intertwined and need to align. In line with the Burke–Litwin model of organizational performance and change, culture is the consequence of the leadership style, organization structure, management practices and systems.

Embracing this holistic approach will see employees delivering new and higher value-adding work at greater scale, in turn delivering fundamentally different, improved, customer and employee experiences, and higher return on technology investment.

So what can organizational leaders do to fully harness the potential of digital transformation?

  1. Start with the business strategy; identify how the operating model needs to evolve in line with emerging technological possibilities and emerging customer demand.
  2. Understand the impact of the new operating model on upcoming work:
    – How can the organization align the right people with the right skills to do the right work in the right numbers?
    – What activities will have to be redefined – in which functions and geographies? This is not just about reducing cost, the business model will have to adapt.
    – Understanding the competencies you have now to determining the skills gap
  3. Be data-driven to expose and address the underlying issues and maximise the opportunities.
  4. Plan practically and strategically to deliver the transition. How must you invest to make the desired changes real?
  5. Monitor the transition by tracking actual progress against the target model. During implementation, establish and deploy organizational health metrics to ensure ongoing adherence to the new model and provide early indicators of future improvement opportunities.
  6. In the context of digital transformation, a laser-sharp insight into people, process, work and the ability to model various workforce scenarios is paramount. The typical tools used to digitalize organizations have hardly evolved in 20 years. Today, the right tools and techniques accelerate analysis and objective decision-making, and are thus enablers of more agile organizations and culture change.

The TM Forum Digital Organization and Culture Change Catalyst will expose these tools and techniques to show how the art of transformation can be turned into science, and become a competitive advantage.


    About The Author

    Client Director - Concentra

    Mike Smith works with major clients to drive new business value through data insights in organisational effectiveness, supply chain efficiency, product / customer / channel profitability and operational productivity.

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