Digital business: Steps to stay a step ahead

What can CSPs do to stay competitive? This article is from our new research report, Digital Transformation Tracker 1: The race is on. The Forum surveyed 185 executives from 93 unique CSPs operating in 64 countries, and 175 executives from 75 unique supplier companies and conducted dozens of follow-up interviews.

Digital transformation is not easy, but it is necessary to remain competitive and deliver the kinds of service customers are demanding. CSPs that have not embarked on transformation programs should begin planning them as soon as possible. Those who are in the process should accelerate their programs. Following are some steps operators can take to ensure success:

Lead from the top

Without the support of top management, transformation cannot succeed. Ensure there is complete clarity across the whole organization about what digital transformation means. This should include a vision for the future business without necessarily articulating specific services and business models that may (or may not) shape future commercial strategies. Repeat the goals of transformation at every possible opportunity and ensure that it provides a context for decision-making at all levels.

Learn from failure

Bring in external, independent experts to investigate why previous attempts at transformation have failed, and ensure that measures to address such failures are included in current transformation initiatives.

Set goals

Create and publicize short-term milestones and goals within your organization to ensure that digital transformation has relevance to near-term budgets and decision-making.

Integrate CIO and CTO functions

The true benefits of network transformation, namely agility, will be possible only with the right IT systems to support automation and real-time customer experiences.

Use a model

Produce an internal audit of digital maturity within the organization, ideally using a tool such as TM Forum’s Digital Maturity Model.

Develop the right culture

Make sure digital transformation initiatives are embraced, owned and managed by teams throughout the organization. Offer training, redeployment or a route out of the organization to enable transformation to a digital business.

Embrace partnerships

CSPs should move away from a buyer-seller approach to technology. Review cost allocations across CapEx, OpEx and cost of sale with the aim of making purchasing decisions closer to customer functions.

Keep shareholders informed

Urge shareholders to keep up the pressure and remind you of what you have committed to in your transformation program. Do not be afraid to tell shareholders about the short-term costs – and potentially, short-term revenue implications – of placing customer experience at the heart of decision-making.

Adopt simplicity as a mantra

Operators must strive for simplicity throughout the entire organization, both in terms of product offerings and how you communicate their value to customers.

Measure results

Build sophisticated internal metrics to measure the progress of digital transformation (agility, operational excellence, customer satisfaction, usage), and use them to track progress across all departments and product divisions.


    About The Author

    Chief Analyst

    Mark Newman is an analyst with 25 years of experience delivering insights on the future of the telecoms sector to senior level executives and audiences. Mark’s recent research has focussed on telecoms operator business models, digital transformation, service provider diversification, and the intersection between Internet and telecoms. He delivers analysis, presentations, strategy sessions and workshops to global audiences, helping them to plan for the changes that technology and disruptive new business models that will fundamentally transform their businesses. Mark was Chief Research Officer at Informa Telecoms & Media and Ovum before leaving to set up his own research firm, ConnectivityX, in 2016. He joined the TM Forum as Chief Analyst in February 2017.

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