Pipeline Publishing, Volume 4, Issue 1
This Month's Issue:
Come Together:
Fixed-Mobile Convergence
download article in pdf format
last page next page

The times they are a changin' - Observations from TMW Nice 2007

back to cover
By Barbara Lancaster (with credit to Bob Dylan)

It's all about change.

From the first words of the first key note speaker, one could sense that this TeleManagement World was different. It was about change:

  • The key note speakers were different. They represented a wide variety of industries and perspectives, and mostly, they provided a wake up call – change or die.
  • Presenters and participants bluntly admitted that technology alone cannot solve business problems. Real solutions must be grounded firmly in providing a great customer experience, and in meeting clearly defined business goals. Alignment of people, process and system was touted again and again as the only way to achieve success. No more buying “stuff” and hoping it would solve the problem.
  • Asked to explain what’s different now (given that the words on the slides described essentially the same issues and imperatives presented twenty years ago), the incumbent giants stated that it is no longer about theory – it is about survival. Hits on margins, lines in service, intense competition and the threat of Google, are driving real action, and lots of collaboration. It was obvious that Telstra, at&t, BT, KPN and Vodafone have been talking together on a regular basis about what’s working and what’s not.
  • So, it’s now about transformation – serious transformation. The mood of the attendees was about really sharing information, looking for solutions that might actually solve fundamental problems.

Here are some of the highlights of the conference:

Note worthy Key Notes

The first key note speaker was Nicholas Negroponte, the visionary professor from M.I.T, and the man behind the “one laptop per child” program. He made it crystal clear that the future of our planet is tied to communications and to education. Giving children and their families a way out of hunger and poverty through education and communication was also the way to enable global understanding, and a real defense against the causes of terrorism.

Next was Bonnie Gray, speaking from a cable company perspective: another indication that the TMF was making inroads in broadening its previous telco-centric base. While there is little doubt that the cable companies are poised to do more damage to traditional telco revenue models, some of the challenges she illustrated in her talk were solved long ago by

Finally, no more talk about magic bullets that could transform their operations all by themselves.

those companies she initially considered “sleeping dinosaurs”. Depending on your point of view, the challenges yet to be solved by the cable companies is either great news for the dinosaurs or discouraging for those wishing for their swift demise.

The third speaker was Rory Sutherland, the charismatic leader of advertising giant, Ogilvie1. Another refreshingly different perspective on how to understand what customers really want, and need. With some gentle humor, he cautioned us to consider that a great customer service experience does not always rely on higher speeds….He also shared his views about what on-line advertising was really going to be – and it doesn’t look much like a banner ad. His views should be quite a wake up call for those who talk about “advertising-driven revenue models” as the way forward for communications providers.

Only the fourth presenter was a “typical” TMW key note speaker. The well known, and well spoken representative from Telecom Italia, stepped the audience through the revenue impacts of IP-everywhere as experienced by Telecom Italia. He also described several of their initiatives that are expected to yield the step-function changes in their cost structure and capabilities that are designed to keep them ahead of the pack in race toward transformation – and increased profitability.

Like so many other telco veterans, he believes that the profit margins are in content-based services, and that telcos have a shot at reaping those profits. This was one of the most debated themes of the conference, both in the sessions and in the halls. Some attendees suggested that the service providers needed to focus on their core business of carrying the bits, rather than

article page | 1 | 2 | 3 |
last page back to top of page next page

© 2006, All information contained herein is the sole property of Pipeline Publishing, LLC. Pipeline Publishing LLC reserves all rights and privileges regarding
the use of this information. Any unauthorized use, such as copying, modifying, or reprinting, will be prosecuted under the fullest extent under the governing law.