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Why Telcos Need to Think and Act Like Techcos

The telecommunications industry is undergoing tremendous transformation, driven by fierce competition, greater consumer demands, and rapidly evolving technologies. How a telco weathers the change depends on its ability to embrace agility and adopt a risk-intelligence culture. #Sponsored

January 16, 2024

5 Min Read

Introduction

The telecommunications industry is undergoing tremendous transformation, driven by fierce competition, greater consumer demands, and rapidly evolving technologies. How a telco weathers the change depends on its ability to embrace agility and adopt a risk-intelligence culture.

Those companies that succeed will gain significant competitive advantage. They can also become catalysts for entrepreneurship and economic growth even outside their own industry.

But this journey can be a hard one. It requires significant technology investment, a change in corporate culture, and a greater willingness to accept risk and embrace change. For many telcos, the journey will require help from third party companies that thrive in this environment. They need to learn as much as they can about managing change, and they need help getting there.

Let's review the telco transformation journey, so we can assess what's coming next. 

The move from telco to Techco

Simply put, in the new digital environment, Telcos need to become techcos – moving away from operating a network to innovating on a network.

Telcos generally have vast experience in managing networks and providing reliable connectivity. But they often struggle in the area of innovation. They need to borrow a page from the playbook of technology companies, which enthusiastically embrace agility and creativity, and play with new technologies themselves. That enables them to quickly adapt to shifting markets, explore new ideas, learn from failures, and experiment with different business approaches.

These capabilities are as much about mindset and culture as they are about technology capability. Leading tech firms don’t fear change – they embrace it. Change inspires new ideas and innovations. If Telcos adopt this mindset, they will be better able to compete in this increasingly digital world.

Embracing change and taking risks

To adopt a techco mindset, telcos need to become less risk averse. They should be comfortable with taking those risks that can drive innovation and create new markets. Granted, that is no easy task. It often requires a significant cultural change, in which employees are empowered and encouraged to try new things and mitigate risks collaboratively.

Tech firms understand this strategy. They see risk-taking as an essential part of agility, innovation and growth. In contrast, the telecommunications industry is a highly regulated one, and telcos have historically been very risk averse. They must now find a way to balance innovation with compliance and security – a challenging, but not impossible, task.

Investing in & empowering employees

Shifting mindsets is largely about enabling agile methodologies. Employees will need to learn new business processes and procedures, and new skills to enable both. Obviously, this is easier said than done.

In an effort to transform the culture of the organization, techcos need to invest heavily in the workforce. A strong focus should be placed on recruiting workers with strong industry experience, advanced technology skills, business acumen, and a willingness to collaborate, to try new things and embrace change.

As techcos adopt or expand their use of advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and edge computing, they will need to upskill existing staff and to seek those skills in new hires.

Communication is key. It should be stressed that innovation is the intended goal, and that is best achieved when workers share ideas and work together to achieve it. Managers should explain clearly what the organization needs to do to embrace change, and the role that each worker has in that effort. A key factor here is collaboration.

Likewise, techcos can benefit by forming strategic partnerships to share resources and ideas with other firms or organizations. They should also review internal processes to ensure that they align with this mindset.

New geographic markets and new services

As techcos build and acquire an enhanced workforce, they can begin offering new services, such as IoT solutions, cloud computing services, and software applications. Many techcos may benefit from offering flexible subscription models or ‘as-a-service’ features.

Software-as-a-service helped transform the tech industry. Techcos can offer infrastructure, platforms and networking solutions on the same basis. This practice would enable customers to scale without the need of making large investments in hardware.

Still, many telecommunications companies are burdened with legacy systems that make it hard to scale or to integrate new technologies. In the past, these legacy systems certainly helped guarantee availability and reliability. But they can be an obstacle to innovation.

Techcos need to keep pace with the rapid pace of technology advancements, adopt agile development practices, and invest in cloud-based infrastructures. Capabilities gained by investments in such tools as VMware enable techcos to improve efficiency and provide enhanced customer experiences.

An important goal here should be to create seamless connectivity, including devices, people and machines. Smart cities, homes and industries will rely heavily on advanced techcos networks.

Conclusion

By providing robust digital infrastructure, cloud services and cybersecurity solutions, techcos can empower startups and established businesses alike. Small businesses will be able to compete globally, fostering innovation and creating job opportunities.

Using a tech-driven approach, telecom companies can not only survive but thrive in this digital age. They will become enablers of innovation, shaping the way we live, work, and connect. It is an exciting journey, and with the right mindset and strategic partnerships, telecom companies can unlock a world of opportunities.

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