While 2013 commensurate the beginning of the Digital Era, 2014 marks the year of Integration of Things for Telcos
It is said that the number ‘13’ is generally followed by a renewal of optimism for the future. In our view, the global telecom environment is going through something similar either due to the excitement of embracing something dramatically new or owing to the fear of missing the bus. The manner in which the disruptive forces are progressing, it appears that it will eventually get Telecom classified as part of FMCG sector! What else can be expected when an otherwise super technical Telecom industry adds cupcake, donut, ginger bread, honeycomb, ice-cream sandwich, etc to its Glossary! The common theme between Telecom and the FMCG industry is the product (and cycle) and that of course has to be fast, fresh, interesting. Hence, to know what, when and how to create in order to build revenue streams and provide the expected customer experience are some of the major challenges faced by Telcos in 2014. In addition to the product, an equally dramatic transformation is required in the Business and Technology model to cater to the needs of the end consumer if the Telcos want to sustain in the $ race.
Today’s business reality is that the Telco is no more a direct contract participant in the relationship with consumer but an indirect one. They need to focus on how to bill the partners (ecosystem) than the consumer directly. Hence, it would not be wrong to say that the next period of growth for the Telcos will come from rebranding themselves as the connected lifestyle enabler, building on foundations of analytics, consumer behavior and real time consumption demands. We believe that Telcos who had full control of their networks and services will have to learn to collaborate across a huge spectrum of product, application innovators and service providers. In addition to being a strategic component in virtually all customer engagement and marketing strategies, data from social applications will be catalyst to the product and service development process. This calls for an “analytics-inside” approach for traditional BSS/OSS and IT systems to assimilate, crunch and present information in a differentiated manner to meet the challenges of the real-time consumer.
This year’s Mobile World Congress echoed with optimism and opinions on collaboration with OTT players to develop digital services, increase network usage and its monetization. We at Tech Mahindra believe this collaboration is key to service the lifestyle needs of the consumer and is the mantra for the future of communications. The opportunity to help Telcos in this new digital era will pivot around the ability to integrate across various technologies, capabilities and innovations.
To summarize, as the digital era propels us towards the Integration of Things, Telcos need to open channels for collaboration with new players and game changers in this evolving ecosystem. Does this resonate with strategies followed by successful FMCG companies? What do you think…?