The digitisation of telecommunications companies

Digitisation is dramatically changing the way the world consumes services and purchases products. However, telecommunications companies have remained largely untouched by this transformation. While some areas of the telco sector are slowly moving toward digitisation, the actual customer experience with telecommunications companies has changed very little over the past 15 years.


Though the path to becoming digital will not be an easy one, in its latest report, the 2016 CMT Journal, senior consultants from Oliver Wyman write about the transition from the current operator model into the digital world. Given the will and the desire, telcos can find the right road to digital where customers and companies can benefit.


Pierre De Mascarel from Oliver Wyman Middle East provides thoughts on the topic based on his work for Oliver Wyman’s latest report.


What are the key digitisation challenges operators faces?

Today's customer experience is already obsolete by digital standards. Telcos who do not aggressively go digital will progressively lose the right to sell to their customers, either to more agile operators or from other parts of the value chain. A new customer experience is needed, with a new business model to support it – the key challenge being how to evolve towards that business model while being radical, and fast enough.


What might the telecom customer experience look like in the future?

The experience will be very different from today's. Many telcos will shift to giving customers more control over what they buy and how they use the service, and immediacy, transparency, simplicity and design will become more relevant. In that new world, marketing and promotions will need to be reinvented to become not just contextually relevant but also more subtle as customers get in the driver's seat as opposed to merely being sold to.


Over the past few years, how consumers choose to watch movies, get a taxi, stay in touch with friends, book a restaurant table, listen to music, pay a bill, buy a book, or find their way to a location have changed beyond all recognition. Telcos need to respond to then dramatically changing patterns of their customers.


Can you discuss some examples of operators around the world who are starting to follow this digital path?”

A few players are trailblazing a digital telco path, and are already achieving impressive results. FreedomPop, free and GiffGaff are examples of successful businesses that are very different to the established telcos. However, these companies can be seen as smaller innovators that appeal to very specific segments.


Many of the elements of a successful digital telco are found in Jawwy, a disruptive new carrier brand developed by Saudi Telecommunications Company (STC) as part of its broader digital transformation.  Jawwy is one of STC’s approaches to better meet the evolving needs of young, digitally-savvy customers. Saudi Arabia has one of the world's highest penetration rates of smartphones, social media and online platforms.


“Jawwy brings new, innovative capabilities and services to this customer segment, including:

rapid service activation through a user’s existing social media, personalized plan creation and management, real-time usage rates,  and personalized mobile bundles and special offers.  Jawwy users have sharing capabilities across devices, accounts or family members, and e-commerce options.  To ensure sustainability, STC has established dedicated digital business unit to design, develop and operate Jawwy.”


How should day-to-day operations change to support that experience?

Future digital telcos will be much leaner. Not just employing well under half of today's headcount, as many manual tasks are either automated or disintermediated, but also employing very different profiles, even professions, under a new talent model. Data and math will become way more important, and IT will shift from a support role to a customer facing function. Many current business processes will disappear or be replaced by real-time substitutes. As a result, current corporate cultures will change profoundly.




Oliver Wyman is a global leader in management consulting. With offices in 50+ cities across 26 countries, Oliver Wyman combines deep industry knowledge with specialized expertise in strategy, operations, risk management, and organization transformation. The firm's 3,700 professionals help clients optimize their business, improve their operations and risk profile, and accelerate their organizational performance to seize the most attractive opportunities. Oliver Wyman is a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].



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