Our world is experiencing a digital transformation that is fundamentally reinventing the customer experience, upending traditional business models and operations, and placing greater demands on network and cloud infrastructure.
According to the World Economic Forum, digital transformation is a $2.3 trillion opportunity in the telecommunications and media sectors alone. But it is more than that for communications service providers and enterprises offering digital service platforms because you have a critical role to play in enabling the digital transformation of all industries. Why? Because you provide the communications networks, Internet of Things platforms, and cloud infrastructure, applications and services that help enterprises deliver digital services. More than $10 Trillion of value from digitalization over the next decade depends on the telecom industry.
As enterprises and service providers undergo digital transformation, there will be a number of challenges to conquer, including how to scale, manage and secure billions of transactions and zettabytes of complex data generated by digital services and content; how to manage billions of devices and machines as more people and ‘things' become connected and communicate with each other; and how to simplify and automate network functions and operational processes. Organisations also need to monetize and secure digital services and customer data using a wide array of usage and subscription models; and create more personalized, ‘live' customer experiences across any digital channel.
Here are my top-five requirements to meet these challenges and ensure a successful digital transformation:
1. Connect the Dots
There are three key pillars to a successful digital transformation journey - Network Evolution, Digital Business and Customer Experience. By ensuring that your transformation efforts encompass all three pillars in a holistic way, you will be able to connect, monetize, and engage your customers to create new digital experiences. For example, video optimization in the network will improve the monetization of video content as well as the customer's video experience. End-to-end security, policy, customer data management and analytics across all three pillars can bring the digital experience to a whole new level.
2. Integrate. Integrate. Integrate.
Integrated cloud and communications infrastructure, platforms, and services with service-based architectures and open application programming interfaces are essential as more people, devices, and ‘things' connect, communicate, and transact with each other. This requires that you simplify, virtualize, automate, and integrate network functions and IT operational processes in an on-premise, public, private or hybrid cloud environment. It also requires security at every layer - from data centre, silicon chip, database, network, application - to complete monitoring and self-remediation against security policies. And finally, it requires integration of Enterprise Resource Planning, Customer Experience, and IoT platforms with monetization and communications applications to connect your entire business - people, processes, and things - to deliver successful digital services.
3. Provide a Complete Concept-to-Cash-to-Care Customer Experience
Successful digital organisations put customer experience at the centre of every process and operation in their digital transformation journey. They deliver a personalized, contextual and meaningful experience to customers across the entire customer engagement lifecycle, from concept-to-cash-to care. This requires a 360-degree view of what each customer is experiencing, which can be achieved by collecting, analysing and acting on data at every touch point - from network nodes to mobile apps to social media to self-service to contact centres. By engaging customers on the right channel at the right time, having access to contextual customer data and insights, and quickly resolving customer issues, empowered associates can deliver meaningful and proactive engagement for a better customer experience. Cloud-based customer experience solutions with integrated monetization capabilities will ensure the smooth on-boarding of new customers, with the ability to create, rate, bill, invoice and report on new digital service offers.
4. Deliver Innovative Digital Services
Innovation is critical in designing digital services. This can mean providing an all-digital service or a product-as-a-service enabled by digital channels. Either way, the flexibility to design innovative offers that provide customers with choices in how to pay for and consume services is key - whether it's a recurring subscription, consumption-based pricing, pay-as-you-go charging, freemium pricing, cross-product discounts, bundling services together in different combinations, or charging based on creative metrics. The name of the game is having the flexibility to evolve quickly as market conditions change. Predictive analytics that take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), social listening, and Big Data can help service providers and enterprises present compelling offers based on past behaviours, respond rapidly to social sentiment, and deliver real-time views of business performance.
5. Take Advantage of the Latest Technology Innovations
Innovations such as highly scalable and reliable cloud and 4G/5G mobility infrastructure and platforms, AI, ML, biometrics, and blockchain are all part of ensuring a successful digital transformation journey. Integrated Cloud and mobile network infrastructure will need to scale, store, and secure more data, more connections and more transactions. The use of AI in everything from customer service chat bots and robotics to analytics, will allow service providers and enterprises to deliver customer experiences in ways that are both personalized and automated. ML will shift the burden from the user to the applications, which must find the right answers even if the user asks the wrong questions. It will also provide meaningful insights based on data from devices and applications. Biometrics like emotion and behaviour recognition will further personalize customer engagements. Knowing what people want to buy or how they want to be treated based on their emotions and behaviours will allow for more effective communications. And finally, Blockchain technology will make value transactions like payments, sharing IoT and customer data and identity, and tracking customer purchases and billing both instantaneous and secure.
The future belongs to those organisations that can meet these top-five requirements and capture the trillions of dollars in digital transformation opportunities.
Doug Suriano is SVP and GM, Oracle Communications.