LIVE FROM TM FORUM DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION WORLD, NICE, FRANCE: The TM Forum’s annual event opened its doors here today (14 May) with a new name but similar challenges: how to enable the telecoms industry to transform itself into an agile, digital and forward-looking sector which can sustain itself in future.
Now known as Digital Transformation World (DTW), the event kicked off with the presentation of the TM Forum’s bi-annual Digital Transformation Tracker (DTT), a global survey of more than 100 communications service providers (CSPs) and their technology suppliers which aims to track exactly how well they are doing in the digital transformation process.
The latest survey was completed in the first quarter of 2018 and found that more than 60 per cent of respondents have already embarked on, or are about to begin, their digital transformation journey. However, respondents appeared to be less concerned about the technological challenges and more exercised by “increasing cultural and organisational obstacles”, which they say are slowing down industry progress.
Indeed, 42 per cent of respondents cited “a lack of clear aligned vision and goals”; 40 per cent “cultural and organisational issues”; and 37 per cent “a lack of top management support” as “very serious” barriers to transformation. Even more worryingly, the number of respondents who said they were “very optimistic” about conducting successful transformation programmes fell from 22 per cent in the first DTT survey (conducted in October 2017) to 11 per cent.
It seems some CSPs are just a bit more scared about the whole process than they originally thought they would be – which is hardly surprising given that many are entering new territory with often unknown consequences.
Mark Newman, chief analyst at the TM Forum (pictured), said some CSPs have identified that they are not risk takers, “and making a leap of faith into unproven revenue streams is not easy”.
Indeed, very few CSPs – just over 10 per cent – consider themselves as “innovative and risk-taking”, or “agile and diverse” (11 per cent), according to the survey.
Newman said the DTT shows that digital transformation extends well beyond technology itself, “and increasingly we’re seeing concerns about organisational and cultural readiness.”
“In order to ready themselves for successful digital transformation, operators must not only be able to articulate a clearly defined vision for their transformation projects, but critically they must communicate their vision throughout every level of their organisation,” he added.
In fact, CSPs still need to resolve some fundamental questions relating to the type of company they actually want to be in future. The DTT found that less than 20 per cent would opt to remain pure connectivity providers, while others would prefer to become platform providers (16 per cent); full digital service providers (30 per cent); or partnership-led multi-play operators (36 per cent).
Also on the opening day, the TM Forum launched a report called Vision 2020 which aims to trace and define the evolution from a CSP to a digital CSP and beyond.
Nik Willetts, TM Forum president and CEO (pictured, right), said the purpose of the report is to offer a “clear pathway to allow companies to be clearer on their digital transformation aspirations. This all starts with the CSP setting a clear vision for its business.”
Meanwhile, CSPs can also track their digital transformation progress using the Digital Maturity Model (DMM) launched by TM Forum in May 2017. The DMM is a tool that allows CSPs to assess their digital maturity and plan their digital transformation across their entire organisation. They can then decide how, when and where to deploy or redeploy budget and resources.
– Anne Morris, contributing reporter, Mobile World Live