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Telcos are amongst the most mature technological organisations because the core offering of their businesses is technology based. The race for technical advancement led to Telcos making major technical contributions; organisations like Bell Laboratories developed transistors, UNIX and the C programming language.This technical arms race was once a major competitive differentiator and consumers were drawn by higher quality and availability networks. Today however, the core aspects of Telco are now much more commoditised, and this manifests itself with a large number of companies selling communications services provided by only a handful of physical networks. Everyone knows that the future of Telcos in a saturated and mature market is value-added services, both to consumers and to other businesses, as Telcos move to better exploit and monetise the large volumes of data they hold. The challenge Telcos have now are primarily on the value-added offering and sell side where they are arguably less experienced. Coming from a background of telecommunications does not assist in either creating a value-added proposition outside pack-aged offerings, or taking it to market. This is at the core of retail.
Retailers have also known the importance of a quality omni-channel user experience for some time. However all too often Telcos are still providing inconstant offerings and poor customer services between online, retail and call centre channels. This is caused by a channel focused IT estate that has evolved organically without proper planning or strategic refinement, leading to lost sales, frustrated users and consequently high churn.Telcos need to create and deliver upon technology road maps that allow them to deploy fit for purpose IT in a much more rapid time frame, to enable them to better meet their customers’ expectations, exploit commercial opportunities and get innovative propositions to market, faster. The decline in traditional revenues as calls and SMS give way to increasing adoption of over the top services (from which the Telco does not profit) make this change in approach all the more critical. This will also enable Telcos to improve their declining margins by offering better online customer service, driving calls out of the call centre to online. From an architecture perspective using a Telco-oriented architectural model is as dated as the notion that the value is generated solely from the core radio network. Telcos need the sort of model that Retailers utilise to understand the capabilities they provide as well as one that ‘does’ classic Telco.
Of course, it is not just a Retail view that is needed, a media-oriented view is also required; although Telco is often bundled in with Media and Entertainment in a vertical sense, there is often very little in technology planning that relates to these disciplines. It goes even further than that, as Telcos also need to look at including in their technological planning into other related areas like Insurance and properly represent them, rather than at best looking at the security or other technical interoperability issues. The future of Telcos needs to use a model that reflects what they are becoming rather than what they were.