Clear vision and shared goals key to digital transformation but operator optimism falls, says research

By Zenobia Hegde

At its Digital Transformation World event, held in Nice, TM Forum, the industry association driving digital transformation through collaboration, has warned that clear,aligned organisational vision and goals must be communicated throughout those operators undertaking digital transformation projects to improve their chances of success.

This industry call to action is driven by the results of the TM Forum’s bi-annual Digital Transformation Tracker (DTT), which found that the biggest barriers to digital transformation are cultural and organisational. TM Forum has released the results of the survey alongside its Vision 2020 report, which offers a pathway in the evolution from a communications service provider (CSP) to a digital service provider (DSP), and beyond.

Digital transformation tracker 2: How to fix the cultural divide

The global survey of more than 100 CSPs and their technology suppliers tracks the progress of the telecoms industry’s digital transformation. Conducted in Q1 2018, the latest results reveal that over 60% of respondents have already embarked on or are about to embark on their transformation journey.

However, increasing cultural and organisational obstacles are slowing down industry progress, with respondents considering a lack of clear aligned vision and goals (42%), cultural and organisational issues (40%), and a lack of top management support (37%) as “very serious” barriers to transformation.

This lack of focus and common vision is hindering CSPs’ transformation journeys. The number of respondents, who said they were “very optimistic” about conducting successful transformation programs fell from 22% in the first DTT survey conducted in October 2017 to 11%.

These concerns are further reinforced by the differing CSP views on the types of companies that they want to become: less than 20% would opt to remain pure connectivity providers, while others would prefer to become platform providers (16%), full DSPs (30%) or partnership-led multi-play operators (36%). Without being clear on the direction and the necessary steps each company must take – whether in terms of increased efficiency or full-scale business model transformation – it is difficult to execute on transformation.

Furthermore, when asked to characterise their culture, only 30% of CSPs believe their organisation to be “resistant to change” – in comparison with 64% of suppliers. This lack of objectivity and awareness of cultural barriers within operators may be a further challenge. Very few CSPs – just over 10% – consider themselves as “innovative and risk-taking”, or “agile and diverse” (11%).

“Any change is hard to implement, and CSPs are no exception. Some identify that they are not risk takers, and making a leap of faith into unproven revenue streams is not easy,” said Mark Newman, chief analyst, TM Forum.

“Our second Digital Transformation Tracker 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.”

To compile its Digital Transformation Tracker, TM Forum surveyed 176 respondents from 105 CSPs, operating in 59 countries, and […]

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Posted on: May 16, 2018

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