LIVE FROM OPERATIONS TRANSFORMATION FORUM 2017, HONG KONG: Hong Kong operator HKT “needed to transform our business to survive”, group managing director Alex Arena (pictured, centre) admitted.

“I remember telling my senior management team, ‘I do not want to be the CEO that Kodaks his company’. We have a responsibility to keep this company going,” he said.

The aim of the work is to create cloud-based infrastructure and platforms to enhance its digital capabilities. This will enable it to better serve customer needs in an increasingly competitive market.

“Customer behaviour is being driven by a whole lot of other industries, and other service industries in particular, such as airlines, such as hospitality, such as the sharing economy. It is these industries that are setting the mindset of customers, and setting the standard for what customers expect,” Arena said.

“We had to stop being network centric, we had to start being customer centric. In some respects the technology takes care of itself. The toughest part is the customer side,” he continued.

HKT has been undertaking its digital transformation under the name Project Earth. “Project Earth is really to bring together all of those business enabling tools, so that we’ll have smart services,” Arena said.

Future world
And the work is also designed to position the company for the future, Peter Lam, MD of HKT Engineering (pictured, second right), said. “If we do it right it will get us better prepared for the future business opportunity: AI, VR, and in particular 5G, are coming.”

Lam said that operators have become burdened by legacy operations systems, which are a “serious constraint on our business development”, limiting product innovation, slowing time to market, and which “worst of all, cannot provide us with a holistic view of our customer”.

“In order to capture all of these new revenue opportunities, we need to embrace business transformation. Business transformation is a really complex and challenging process,” he said.

Joe Hou, project director of Project Earth for Huawei, believes that HKT is “the first operator to perform such a holistic, experience-driven operations transformation and network re-architecture in this region”.

“By the end of this year we are expecting to commercially launch three hero products, and related use cases, with better customer experience and operational efficiency. And following this, the entire programme will continue another two years to reach HKT’s digital transformation goal,” he said.