Lessons from Comptel: Transforming with Operation Nexterday

By: Jesse Cryderman

While navigating through the throngs of attendees and dodging schwag-slingers at Mobile World Congress (MWC) this year, I overheard someone say, “If you want to know what the future looks like, spend half an hour observing the habits of a digital native.” Certain that my aging collection of cassette tapes disqualified me from this demographic, I began to consider these digital natives and the profound impact they are having, and will increasingly have, on everything from transportation and commerce to entertainment, education, healthcare and communities of all sizes. When I put myself in the shoes of a digital native, I recognize that many of the experiences that outlined my coming of age are simply evaporating, and a new world is rapidly coming into being. It’s like Moore’s Law applied to cultural evolution, and it’s time to think post-digital, to move at cloud speed and to change shoes, so to speak.

In the first five years of this decade, mobile data traffic grew an astounding 12,816 percent, digital information expanded 483 percent, and over-the-top (OTT) revenue grew 433 percent. The impact of mobility, digitization and virtualization is creating disruption across nearly every industry vertical, and legacy businesses are being outmaneuvered by agile, new competitors. Digital and communications service providers stand on the precipice of such monumental market shifts that they risk falling off and becoming irrelevant. Their customers move at cloud speed, but most operators are not following suit. The consumer and enterprise buying experience has completely changed, and the primary service operators have been selling for decades, communications, is now no longer an end service, but an enabling component of rich, smart, digital services. Just like my aging cassette tape machine has no bearing on the state of the music industry, the old rules and systems no longer apply in the post-digital world.

At the same time, operators have more real-time knowledge of real-time moments than ever before, a key differentiator compared to OTT players, but again, most are not leveraging this effectively. And while the pipes of digital information are boiling, the rate of change for most operators could be described as tepid at best. In fact, even defining the business as “telco” or the support systems as “BSS/OSS” is inherently limiting and short-sighted in today’s climate.

Comptel, a company with a rich, 30-year history in telecommunications and with more than 300 customers across 90+ countries, has framed and described a transformation that it calls Operation Nexterday. Digital and communications service providers can learn valuable, actionable strategies from Comptel as they undergo their own evolution and attempt to differentiate, compete and remain relevant in the future.

Market dynamics

There are common themes that can be seen in current market research that are impacting every vertical industry, and this has implications for enterprises, IT vendors and digital and communications service providers. Broadly, mobility, the cloud and the digital buying and service consumption experience changes everything. By 2016, for example, Gartner predicts that more than $2 billion in online shopping will be performed exclusively by mobile digital assistants. Chief information officers (CIOs) of enterprises in every vertical are evaluating new technological solutions with these three themes in mind.

According to Forrester, “Only a minority of telcos will manage to reinvent their business model to align with CIOs’ need to focus on technologies that help win, serve and retain customers. The majority will struggle to cope with the shift in emphasis, and will be bought or go out of business, thus driving consolidation.”


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