The concept of ‘Digital Natives’ was introduced by John Perry Barlow in his critically acclaimed paper ‘A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace’ in response to the US Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Today, in the telecoms sector, operators wanting to be ‘Digital Natives’ are investing in digital transformations to replace their legacy systems and processes with next-generation technology to take advantage of new digital opportunities and be competitive amidst evolving customer expectations and demands.
At the crux of this is the need for telcos to implement cloud-based and omni-channel solutions that can lay the foundation for a truly customer-centric digital business, complemented by data-driven intelligence and flexible monetisation models. However, all too often operators are inhibited by the use of legacy-based BSS systems that cannot serve modern business needs quickly, if at all.
A report published late last year by TM Forum meanwhile identified that to be competitive in this new digital world, telcos need to be investing in modern Business Support Systems (BSS) to be able to meet the growing demand for services such as 5G.
Telcos need to be able to gauge customer needs and behavioural changes so they can react to these accordingly. Digitalisation is the key to achieving this as it can vastly improve a number of services. For example, operators that utilise process flows and rules based on certain trigger actions or events can predict the ‘Next Best Action’ and deliver vastly improved services tailored to each customer.
Paying attention to different customer profiles can see telcos introduce new products or price plans that cater to specific customer demographics or behaviour groups. For many telcos, this can often be intangible as many tend to have set price plans and services that are rigid and inflexible. While some identify the key problems and implement solutions to address frequent changes in the consumer landscape, they often struggle with responding to these changes in a timely manner.
DNA, a Finnish operator offering cable and mobile, fixed telephone, and internet services, is an example of a telco that realised the only way to succeed in keeping up with market competition today was through introducing innovative, cloud-based BSS solutions. Doing so has enabled DNA to digitally transform and generate new revenue streams by bringing forward new products to the market in line with ever evolving customer needs. For example, the company managed to digitalise its entire purchasing process by introducing a ‘non-contact’ product purchasing service, which means customers do not need to be physically present in retail stores and no paperwork is needed to set up a contract. The operator has also enabled SIM-only customers to have faster SIM activation, with both new and existing customers able to activate new SIM cards in the network within 38 seconds of purchase.
By digitalising its services, DNA is able to build, test, and deploy a whole new subscription model within its retail stores in less than 24 hours, as well as launch new campaigns in just a few hours if required. This level of operational efficiency and customer service has helped set DNA apart from its competitors, with the company now boasting the highest usage of mobile data in the world, with more than 20GB of data per SIM card across its network.
As DNA has shown, digital transformation and becoming ‘digitally native’ is vital for telcos to survive and thrive in a market that is fiercely competitive, not only around pricing but service delivery and customer loyalty too. By adopting and utilising digital services, telcos can vastly improve the speed and efficiency in which they deliver new services, offering multiple plans based on specific customer needs and market shifts.
Jukka Heiska, is Chief Marketing Officer at Qvantel, providers of full-stack BSS offering to help Operators with successful BSS digitalisation in faster time and with lower risk to maximise their business efficiency, reduce operational costs, and provide exceptional customer experience.