The future of the industry is directly related to such concepts as the Internet of Things, cloud services, transition to 5G, Big Data technologies, mobile finance, development of convergent services, ways of content monetization, growth of OTT services, digital marketing and sales intelligence solutions, etc.
Everything is changing at an incredibly fast pace these days. The main driver of these changes is the digital consumer. The speed of change in customer preferences is increasing, and the requirements for quality, functionality and design of products are rising. In addition to all this, the consumer now cares about impressions. Consumption patterns are changing, from which an obvious trend is emerging – communication through smart devices and solutions. Business operates in an environment of high speed, ever-increasing demands, saturation of traditional markets, increased competition, and the emergence of new technological competitors. Outdated technologies have not been profitable for a long time, their modernization is expensive, and they require comparatively many resources to maintain. Consumers are not ready to pay for outdated products anymore.
Trends and directions of telecom industry development
According to GSMA Intelligence, there are the following trends in the development of the global market of telecommunications for the next 10 years:
- Smartphone market growth at the expense of developing countries
- Spread of 5G
- Increase in the number of innovative projects
- Development of digital technologies
- Struggle of platforms in emerging technology segments (smart devices, VR and AR technologies)
- Active digitalization of state institutions.
They also highlight new directions for business development:
- Convergence of telecom services with video and gaming content
- Development shift to more related areas, such as data centers, Internet of Things, information security
- Penetration into new areas and industries new to telecom: digital medicine, education, smart home, fintech
- New directions in the field of user satisfaction: home, work, communication, security, mobility
Therefore, for telecom companies, digital transformation is not so much a way to achieve some competitive advantages, but a prerequisite for maintaining and developing market positions.
Digital transformation increases the speed and flexibility of value creation processes, helps to adapt to the high pace of market changes and the expectations of the digital consumer. This increases the requirements for the competencies of company staff, the ability to work with both new technologies, approaches and project management methods. It also implies the introduction of flexible forms of campaign management, reduction of hierarchy levels, improvement of the quality of communication interactions, and the use of aggressive online prospecting.
Peculiarities of digital transformation of telecommunication companies
The digital economy is gradually bringing more and more changes to habitual processes. Telecom businesses are not left behind and the main thing they face in today’s environment is the challenges and opportunities of the digital economy. One of the ways for companies to adapt to the new conditions is to implement different technological solutions in their activities: from digitization to digitalization of business processes or a comprehensive transformation of the enterprise.
Companies are also adapting their infrastructure, it is becoming more flexible, it is based on cloud technologies, and there is active data integration here. Challenges in this environment include finding and training employees who have already adapted to new technologies or are capable of implementing them; on the other hand, due to the automation of processes, some vacancies are no longer relevant and companies are forced to reduce staff.
In the telecommunications industry, digital transformation manifests itself in a number of ways, including transformation of customer experience, automation of business processes (including winning new markets using online digital prospecting tools such as EasyList), implementation of analytical tools, robotization, and artificial intelligence technologies.
The digital transformation became especially relevant during the Coronavirus pandemic, when there was a forced development of services related to remote work, study, and government services. An important consequence and long-term effect is that in addition to new tools for working with customers, a new format of interaction with them is taking shape.
Telecommunications, which used to be considered merely third-party service providers, are now seen as the backbone of virtually all elements of society.
By maintaining their quality of service throughout the crisis, telecom companies have demonstrated their commitment and surprised everyone with their reliability. Thanks to them, many businesses were able to continue working remotely and millions of people were able to maintain social connections and entertainment.
But when faced with the magnitude of the tasks and numerous health limitations, they were forced to reorganize. This is a new way of working that has revealed the strengths and weaknesses of these high-tech companies with growing needs for digital transformation.
From this perspective, Covid-19 turned into full-scale exercises. For many professionals, this crisis was an opportunity to take stock of the progress made in data management.
Big Data, Robotization and Internet of Things technologies are the most popular in the telecom industry, followed by chatbots. These technologies are often used in value-added services, as the main feature of digital transformation in the telecom industry is the development of new revenue streams beyond the anchor business, in addition to traditional services. Ongoing attracting new customers with the help of modern digital solutions is the number one challenge for all players in the telecom sector.
Against the background of growing competition for consumer attention, shifting the focus from traditional services to more mobile technologies, telecommunication companies are at the stage of deciding on further development. In this regard, experts see two basic options:
- Diversification – new business directions
- Infrastructural strategies – substantial increase or restructuring of assets.
Diversification is a logical solution for companies whose revenues are stagnating or declining due to oversaturation of markets, as well as due to aggressive price wars by competitors. It is also suitable for companies that already have significant resources, recognizable and stable brands, experience in data analysis, and well-established sales channels. And since the telecom industry itself is an area close to technologies, the introduction of elements of digital transformation seems to be a logical support in expanding the scope of activities.
At the same time, there are several questions that businesses face and that can be answered to avoid disastrous consequences. The first obstacle is the ability to devote sufficient attention and resources to each of the directions. By selecting the right areas for diversification, synergies and the resulting benefits in the form of efficient use of resources can be achieved. For this purpose, it is important to understand which areas will be operationally efficient within the company’s business model and at the same time have potential in the market.
It is worth noting that a detailed analysis of the market and trends, consumers and competitors is also of great importance. The latter play an important role in product development, promotion strategy and even in the specifics of the business model and employee competencies. After all, most likely, the market under study already has strong players with whom it will be necessary to fight for consumers. That’s why marketing and sales intelligence solutions that allow you to segment markets, identify target audiences, create prospect lists, identify competitors and, based on the data, develop an effective sales expansion strategy in a few clicks are more relevant than ever before.