David Pleasance, Chairman, TM Forum, outlined six core trends for digital transformation in the communications industry as he opened the keynotes at TM Forum Live! in Nice on Tuesday.
Collaboration is a pre-requisite for success in the digital economy. As Pleasance said, “It is at the heart of our history beyond Catalyst program [see below]. Collaboration is how you provide customer experience right across the value chain and assemble it: Within your organization, collaboration is central to the design, build and operate. This is all common sense, but it’s counter-cultural for many.”
TM Forum’s Digital Maturity Model is launching at Nice too. While maturity models are not a new idea, this is the first to be designed specifically for telecoms companies, drawing on best practices from existing maturity models, as well as network operators, the vendor community and management consultants. TM Forum’s chairman said, “If we think of what we are doing now as walking, what we need to do is not running but flying. Great strategy executed too late does not create value and the DMM is a great tool for figuring out where you are and where you need to be with your transformation plans”.
Innovation, according to Pleasance is not just about building a “better mousetrap; it’s not just about products, but how we build and operate in the market – being agile and pace we drive it at. It’s about our techniques and strategy to overcome the paralysis the slow-moving gear of large organization trying to adapt. We need to think about bridges or small gears to move forwards too.”
The Catalyst program at TM Forum is about collaboratively developing technology to compress cycle times. Participants estimate that on average, Catalyst projects up speed things up by a factor of four or five times, on average, as well as being very much cheaper than in-house R&D.
Talent is a key ingredient for transformation. Pleasance noted, “Diversity is especially important – not just how to hire and train and manage people today, but accessing the talent pool outside the organization. And diversity is not just about gender and so on, but about embracing people who think differently and whose experience is different, that’s how to foster innovation.”
Finance is often overlooked by many of those who are involved in transformation. Yet they need to think about new revenue models and creating value – and, as Pleasance stressed, “How to spread and diversify investment and risk, and get higher return on investments. Combine these two to get rich business models with rising revenues and margins, great customer experience and an increase in market value.”
He summed up saying, “Disrupt or be disrupted. Start with collaboration, innovate in everything and do it quickly. It’s all about the people and bringing it together with orchestration. To achieve sustainability, you have to disrupt.”