It’s time to stop talking about digital adoption and prioritise doing it…to turn digital tools into digital assets
After couple of decades working in the telco industry, you become pretty adept at surfing tidal waves. It’s been a while since I worked in another vertical (structured products, finance) but what I do recall about my time outside the communications business is that the waves were smaller, if more frequent, says Keith Brody VP marketing, Evolving Systems. Telco loves a bandwagon; 3G, 4G, the Cloud, IoT, 5G. Heck, even WAP. That’s a good memory, eh?
The latest tsunami to wash ashore appears to be digital adoption, about which we’ve all been drowned in an endless amount of chatter (think media articles, analyst presentations, vendor blogs, expert briefings, conferences) about 5G, about innovative digital services, about Big Data, about digitisation, and more. Digital Adoption is another case of where “build it and they will come” is not enough to constitute a viable plan for commercial success.
The challenge lies in mitigating the risk that the digital opportunity could end up being sound and fury, but signifying nothing. How can we do that? The alternative, the scene where the customer pulls out her slick, modern, does-everything-you-could-possibly-imagine iPhone 13 (yes, I know, but let’s pretend it’s already here), it promptly latches on to her service provider’s 5G network…and…she simply calls her mum…is real! And that’s no one’s idea of the future of digital commerce!
An exaggeration? Perhaps, because this isn’t how every subscriber uses his or her digital device, but a considerable number do. That’s a problem we need to tackle. Building the 5G bridge is an impressive achievement with the potential to unlock a myriad of new revenue streams. But telcos still have to get their customers to cross it. That’s the digital adoption question. It’s time to surf or sink.
Ergo, now that 5G is here (in some places) and a myriad of digital services are established, the focus must expand from build-out to usage. Only when digital adoption is realised, which means when digital tools are used to their fullest capacity, will the digital era really begin to pay off. Hence my nifty iPhone 13 may be a digital tool but it’s not a digital asset if I use it only to phone my mum from time-to-time.
All too often, such as in this example, my sample customer is a representative of far too many Communication Service Provider’s customers’ behaviours, falling some way short of converting themselves into real, digital assets. This is an issue that CSPs must address and the challenge of digital adoption now represents a priority for the telecommunications industry. So, the question that needs to be answered is simple: How can CSPs accelerate the time-to-competency for users of their new, digital tools?
For a start, CSPs understand that in their highly competitive, choice-abundant market, they must keep their customers happy by focusing on the customer experience they provide. So, their own digital transformations must from the outset (and if not soon thereafter) prioritise digital adoption and allocate budget to it.
There is a compelling reason for doing this, sustainable business growth is directly linked to the ability to create long-term relationships with customers. Digital adoption drives many business targets and prepares organisations for capturing the elusive sustainable growth.
The author is Keith Brody VP marketing, Evolving Systems.