Telco transformation: How’s it going?

Most of the research into digital transformation in telecoms indicates that the vast majority of communications service providers (CSPS) are either about to undertake a digital transformation program, are in the middle of one, or are nearing completion (although there is a school of thought which says that digital transformation never finishes).

But there is much less research into the progress of digital transformation on an ongoing basis. We know that many CSPs have had disappointing experiences with transformation programs in the past but have they learned their lessons and are they now having a more positive experience? How is their sentiment towards transformation? And are the key challenges and obstacles they face changing as they execute on their programs?

Introducing the Digital Transformation Tracker

Here at TM Forum digital transformation is central to our research and activities. Tracking, monitoring and evaluating transformation is just as important as getting CSPs started. With this in mind that we have set up a new initiative, the Digital Transformation Tracker (DTT), to provide a regular, global status report on CSPs and their digital journeys.

The DTT is a twice-yearly survey of both CSPs and their technology partners. The survey is going out to all the different stakeholders in any digital transformation programs. CIOs and their teams are clearly a focus but we are also reaching out to CXOs with roles in technology, marketing, strategy and both consumer and enterprise lines of business. We are fortunate at TM Forum to have excellent relationships with hundreds of CSPs across the world and the DTT will reflect this richness in terms of geography, size and digital maturity.

While much of the DTT focusses specifically on transformation, it is also important to put transformation into a broader business and technology context. The DTT asks survey respondents about their business prospects and their sentiment around the prospects for the industry more broadly. Over a period of time this will allow us to see whether successful transformation programs are feeding into a more positive sentiment and outlook overall.

The DTT will also be the first global survey of its kind that maps transformation and business sentiment against customer experience as measured by Net Promoter Score. For many CSPs changes (improvement) in NPS will be the key KPIs of transformation.

Finally, the DTT also has a specific focus on CSPs’ network virtualization deployments. For many CSPs the deployment of SDN and NFV in the network sit within a broader digital transformation program. For others, these are separate (although highly connected) initiatives led by the CTO and CIO respectively. Most of the running in NFV has been made by the large telecoms operator groups which can see immediate benefits in terms of centralizing systems and platforms and offering new solutions to large enterprise customers. The DTT will provide a truly global picture of SDN and NFV deployment, providing a region-by-region and country-by-country picture of deployments.


    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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