Operating in digital time: An agile future for CSPs

Unprecedented technological advancements have launched communication services providers (CSPs) into an age of boundless opportunity. Those that prioritize customers, data and agility are competing in a digital economy by acting in “digital time.”

Digital time is a dynamic concept. It unfolds as new ideas, innovations and services leverage technology to fulfil customer demand more intelligently. Companies and entrepreneurs have become the digital leaders of today, given their insight into the value and significance of digital time.

This direction is evident in the way these leaders ask, “Why?” and, “Why not?” to spur simplification, automation and augmentation, as companies rewrite rules and push the boundaries of what’s possible in any given industry. Digital leaders have fluid definitions of their customers, important moments and windows of opportunity.

When speed is insufficient

CSPs are faced with declining traditional revenues. They need to increase customer mindshare and share of wallet. Although customers are looking for new, bold and differentiated services, CSPs’ focus should not solely be on the speed of which they bring their digital services to market. Of course, they need to move quickly, but speed is not enough – rather, agility is key. Without agility, a sole focus on speed to market results in the same outdated ideas just getting spun out faster.

Data and agility often go hand in hand. For example, most CSPs have access to a goldmine of data. When approaching this data, providers should be proactive, reactive, creative and innovative. Being data-driven during the decision-making process allows CSPs to connect insights with actions and predictions with personalization. All of this must happen within a fabric that combines and enhances the intelligence of both people and technology. This combination embodies the totality that we call “connected intelligence.”

However, today’s reality for CSPs is quite different. Data doesn’t provide instant insight until you close the loop by revalidating and continuing this cycle. When legacy systems and processes aren’t able to cope, technologies and teams can become siloed. Digital leaders avoid this risk by using data analytics to act with agility.

There is one caveat

According to the latest State of Agile survey, 46% of companies have a culture that’s resistant to change. CSPs, however, don’t shy away from cultural change because it’s the key to an audacious, learning-centric attitude. But this magnitude of change won’t occur overnight.

It takes time to change how companies approach problems. A common flaw that companies experience during digital transformation stems from blaming problems on technology, rather than the connection between technology, data and people. One can only clearly see and solve customers’ problems by walking a mile in their shoes. 

Many CSP cultures are still developing this top-down approach, but workforces are quickly changing. Soon, there will be five generations of employees in the workplace. As of 2019, millennials will outnumber baby-boomers, and many are already becoming business leaders. These new workforce demographics may spur transformation from within. 

So, let’s assume your culture is changing. In your new culture, agility is present and data is being utilized. Is anything else missing to operate in digital time?

Partnerships may be. Apart from webscale companies, few can acquire the experience, skills, systems and innovations needed to compete in today’s global markets. New alliances and partnerships could be crucial for CSPs to create opportunities in a matrix competitive environment. Especially when CSPs find themselves up against media and entertainment companies, webscale players, established IT providers and software houses – plus, startups we don’t even know about yet.

Some CSPs will evolve, enter new markets and even develop their own ecosystem. Since they’re trusted by customers, CSPs already have a solid foundation to build on. However, customers don’t associate them with value-added services yet. The next level would require tapping into customers’ “wow factor” by showcasing the new ways technology can enhance all aspects of our lives.

This idea takes us back to digital time and what it means for the customer. Intuitive, immediate and intelligent services can create time by helping people and businesses increase efficiency and achieve more. These services can deliver novel creativity that customers aren’t currently experiencing, which leads to the unexpected reaction, “Oh, wow! Now I can get this from my CSP.” 

It’s up to CSPs to make this unexpected reaction the new normal.

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo, and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London, and Amsterdam.

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