DTW 2022: TDC NET and Nuuday - a radical transformation
TDC is a rare example of a telco that separated its fixed network from its services business, with TDC NET and Nuuday recently becoming two “fully standalone independent businesses”, according to TDC NET CEO and president Andreas Pfisterer.
The Danish group decided to undertake this “surgical split of a 140-year-old business” because it believed “we can create more value for stakeholders”, Pfisterer said. Other advantages include the ability to focus on the “long-term investment horizon”, provide network services on an open access basis, and address issues relating to climate change.
Indeed, dealing with rising energy consumption and prices is a full-time occupation. Pfisterer highlighted measures such as the deployment of 5G throughout the nation, the decommissioning of legacy infrastructure and the adoption of artificial intelligence and machine learning “to drive better services towards our customers, but also address … the challenge of the green transition,” Pfisterer said.
Nuuday, meanwhile, has been established as an independent service provider and consists of nine brands: YouSee, Telmore, Hiper, eesy, Blockbuster, YouTv, TDC Erhverv, NetDesign and Relatel.
Like Pfisterer, CEO Jon James used terminology that more than hinted at a painful albeit necessary separation process to create a lean, digital service provider that is able to compete with others in an increasingly competitive market.
“There were poor customer experiences, low levels of digital engagement, high cost-base, complex systems and processes inherited from the past. And that was a fundamentally important issue to resolve for our transformation,” James said.
Clearly one of the biggest bugbears for James was TDC’s legacy IT system, called Columbus.
“Columbus was invented here in Denmark. It’s a mainframe based around PSTN. It’s written in Danish, it has not been upgraded materially since it was launched in the 1980s,” James said. he further noted that “huge proportions” of customer service challenges could be traced back to this system. “In fact, we were in a crisis, a slow-moving crisis but a serious one.”
In June, Nuuday partnered with Netcracker, which is providing a cloud-based, pre-integrated full telco stack to the operator. The aim is to launch the first product sets on this stack around twelve months from the contract signing.
“There are three things that we’re really focused on to make sure that we deliver this successfully and as fast as we possibly can,” James said.
The first is to take an out of the box solution and “resist the temptation to play with it. Customization is our great enemy,” he said. The second is to maintain a certain momentum to ensure the transition is not derailed by external factors.
“Thirdly, this is not an IT transformation. If it’s an IT transformation, that we will fail,” James said. “We are using it for a much bigger transformation [to become a] genuinely lean digital service provider.”
As for Columbus, James refers to it as the dragon in the basement that still needs feeding from time to time. The benefits of a newer, more efficient and less costly stack will be “radical” in terms of customer experience and “our ability to innovate and move fast,” he said.