As telcos strive to innovate in the digital world, many are also fearful of their ability to transform their business models and become platform-based technology companies. Seventy-eight percent of the survey respondents worry that their businesses lack the organizational flexibility and agility to deal with disruptive technology.
Network scale and distribution is still vital for telcos; any new service has to work across the entire network. But in the platform age, these capabilities alone are not enough to escape the commodity trap. The new differentiator is agility, to offer faster and more flexible delivery and greater product range.
Disruptive technologies introduce an overwhelming array of opportunities for telecom leaders. Do they focus on content? Do they aim for the business market over consumers? Which kinds of platforms and products should they specialize in?
D&A and cognitive computing can be a big boost to their monetization plans, helping to make products smarter. IoT is of equal importance, as companies strive to create platforms and accompanying connectivity for the billions of devices that will drive every part of our personal and business lives. D&A, in conjunction with machine intelligence, can also study network topology and historic outage reports, to predict the probability, severity and location of future outages, to help minimize the impact for customers.
If telcos want to be agile and flexible, then their leaders have to keep abreast of the latest innovations, and be prepared to move quickly to seize new opportunities. Timing of investments, in addition to strategy, is crucial. Of those respondents whose companies have seen a positive effect from disruption, 50 percent say they saw the new technology trend earlier than others and 41 percent invested at an early stage.
But it seems that too many still see disruption as something left to the IT department. Just Just 12 percent agree strongly that their C-level executives keep a close eye on disruptive technologies, and 62 percent state that their IT organization is responsible for doing research on disruption.
Investing in people is equally critical. Jobs like field maintenance have changed dramatically, and call for completely different skill sets. But, only 43 percent claim their organization has the staffing and skills in place to contend with the effects of disruptive technologies. To compete effectively and be agile and flexible, the telco of the future is likely to be staffed with digital architects, data scientists and developers. Many companies have considerable work to do to reach this position.