The State of Digital Operations in the Cable/Telco Sector and The Keys to Enabling Successful Transformation

By: Chris Menier, Vice President and Transformation Strategist at Vitria

Broadband services offered by leading companies in the cable and telecommunications industries have provided critical enabling platforms for organizations implementing digital transformation strategies. However, the network service provider (NSP) community has largely remained mired in legacy operations.

Over the last several years, a lot of companies have utilized NSPs to launch their own digitally transformed companies. Examples include new major players such as Netflix, WhatsApp, and Uber as well as more established institutions in finance, healthcare and manufacturing. However, the NSPs themselves have actually fallen a little bit behind in their own efforts to not only modernize their operations, but fundamentally alter the way they deliver value and engage more effectively with their customers. This can be a major problem for the sector since transformation figures to be a critical success fact for NSPs that want to avoid becoming ‘dumb pipes’ or falling victims to ‘cord cutter and fend off competition from new digitally-native competitors.

Much of the challenge has to do with the overlapping generations of systems that loosely coexist to underpin the operations of carriers who have been in business for many decades. New entrants don’t have the burden of legacy infrastructure that must be replaced to be more agile and responsive in a constantly changing marketplace. NSPs, by contrast, have the daunting task of updating several generations of internal systems while updating skill sets necessary for competing effectively in this digital age.

Among cable and telco companies, that landscape has never been more dynamic. Beyond addressing new threats from players who use NSPs’ own networks to offer competitive offerings that siphon off revenues from NSPs, subscriber preferences for how to consume content and communications are also shifting.

To address these growing challenges, a growing number of NSPs are recognizing the need to develop a real-time understanding of how the marketplace is evolving. They are also also exploring ways to execute a fundamental mindshift away from an engineering-oriented focus on process optimization, to a more market-centric focus on customer experience.

An enhanced focus on the customer experience from NSPs is critical. Everybody relies on their internet connectivity and mobile devices for virtually all aspects of their personal and professional lives. This creates an imperative for operators to quickly identify opportunities and deploy new services in new ways that introduce new revenue generation opportunities. If NSPs rely on legacy systems to support these digital operation imperatives, it will simply take too long to make the shift. As a result NSPs will face a real risk of seeing more competitors emerge to capture market share.

That is why it is so important for NSPs to design and develop customer-centric digital transformation strategies on agile platforms that can be deployed — and expanded — on an enterprise-wide scale.

At Vitria, we have developed an approach to digital transformation that allows NSPs to bring together — in real-time — data about: how customers interact with services; how the network is performing; how maintenance may impact service; and more.

We work closely with business and technology staffs of NSPs to expose what is actually happening in their networks and provide actionable operational insights in order to respond immediately to new competitive threats and changing consumer dynamics.

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