By Timo Ahomäki, CTO of Tecnotree
The shifting sands of changing client expectations, remits and deliverables affecting the telecoms industry need not cause the organisational headaches of old.
The latest a la mode term has seen many companies adopt the term “Telco 2.0” in reference to the new, or at least refreshed, business models they are now using.
The key concept in Telco 2.0, much like its more established Web 2.0 sibling, is openness. Openness to adopt new technologies, openness to new types of business partnerships and, most importantly, openness to new kinds of largely unproven business models.
Theory and practice are very different and history shows us that having great conceptual ideas doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get it right in real world situations. For an increasing number of the new companies adopting the Telco 2.0 principles, however, adopting some key business principles is proving to be successful.
Typically, start-ups use a casual and flexible attitude to promote efficiency in the workplace, which is often needed to get their business off of the ground in their initial stages. The removal of stress points and more formal processes allows workers and researchers to focus less on the work environment around them, and more at the task at hand, giving them the potential to achieve great outcomes for their companies.
Telco 2.0 embraces the start-up mentality not only in terms of processes, but also in terms of adopting new, sometimes unproven technologies and business models in order to be able to compete with the massive innovation engine that is the Internet. This allows companies to concentrate on what matters – the service offered to the end customer – instead of internal processes.
Another characteristic of successful companies today is the ability to turn on a dime should the market show signs of changing direction. With its emphasis on open interfaces and transparent business processes, the Telco 2.0 approach allows companies to adopt a more agile approach to not only product development, but also to business.
In product development, agile is often taken as a synonym of SCRUM. While the truth is a bit more complicated, SCRUM nevertheless provides a good model for both product and business development. This flexible, holistic product development strategy allows quasi-independent business units to work as a singular team to reach a common goal as opposed to the more traditional, sequential approach.
Placing the customer at the heart of business decisions
It is now beyond doubt that the 500 million Twitter users; over one billion Facebook users, and millions more users of other social media such as Pinterest are irrevocably changing the way humans communicate and otherwise interact online.
Companies adopting the Telco 2.0 mentality have realised this sea change and acted accordingly. Far from shying away from this evolutionary change they have adapted to engage their customers through social media channels.
More importantly, the Telco 2.0 companies of today realise the pivotal importance of their customers and the first hand information on their wants and needs available through the vast behavioural databases in their possession.
Instead of traditional guesswork, companies are now able to make business decisions in large part on direct information garnered from customers, thus placing the customers at the very heart of business decisions and future strategy.
As important as the measures to improve business agility are, they will be of no use unless the actual production of services can follow the same agile approach. Cloud computing has been heralded as the darling of business for some time now.
The benefits of moving spend from a CAPEX to OPEX based model were one of the primary reasons for cloud’s popularity, but the real benefit of cloud to Telco 2.0 companies is the elasticity and pragmatism it affords.
The flexibility of being able to quickly spin up new services for trials and proof of concept prototypes in a cloud based environment without the need to invest into dedicated systems is one obvious benefit of the combination of open interfaces and pay as you go model of payment.
Whether public, private or hybrid, the cloud offers superior efficiencies to any company striving for business agility while maintaining a tight check on cost.
There is no definitive tick list or secret formula for creating a successful company in any sector, let alone one in telecoms. However, it should come as no surprise that the new breed of telcos, the Telco 2.0 generation, are looking towards the cloud, customers, business processes and internal culture as ways of furthering new, innovative and more productive business.