By Pikie Monaheng,
It’s no secret that CSPs need to transform their businesses to compete in the continent’s highly competitive communications landscape and deliver the experiences that customers are demanding today. However, digital transformation is a journey, which takes time. And there are many tasks to undertake on the way.
So, how do CSPs go about achieving true digital transformation? What are the main challenges they must address?
IT modernisation is a key enabler of any digital transformation and adoption of cloud technologies is central to that. In addition to cost savings, the cloud provides the ability to swiftly evolve, react to market dynamics and launch new offerings. It enables elasticity on demand, creating an always-on environment where the flexibility to do things as a service is much greater and the organisation is not confined to own-premise computing power and IT.
CSPs will necessarily adopt a hybrid approach to cloud adoption with some systems remaining on-premise and others migrating to private cloud, public cloud and even multiple public clouds (like AWS, Azure and GCP) to benefit from the latest technologies and cost efficiencies. This complex IT environment creates challenges around managing the hybrid co-existence of the current and the new platforms, which requires careful management.
Moreover, adoption of cloud brings new concerns such as the need for continuous optimisation, financial and economic management, regulatory compliance and data and security management.
Data is key for anticipating customer needs. Savvy CSPs will need to start leveraging data more effectively to make more astute business decisions. Here, AI plays a key role, helping CSPs to quickly create new offerings based on what customers are demanding. Injecting artificial intelligence into everything the organisation does will help it make critical business decisions, but also keep pace with an ever-changing, connectivity-first society.
CSPs will also need to inject intelligence into their own operations. To remain ahead of technology’s rapid evolution, organisations will be compelled to introduce AI-driven operations, while making continuous improvements to their IT environments. This is the only way to ensure flexibility and a fleet-footed response to change.
Ultimately, the success of any digital transformation depends on the people and the processes that execute the transformation. This requires getting employees to buy into digital adoption, embrace new technologies, new processes and new ways of working.
CSPs need to adapt their organisational culture to break down barriers and automate and expedite processes. They must instil a continuous learning and innovation mindset in their employees. Steps such as these will allow CSPs to be more agile and ensure their employees have the inherent ability to quickly adapt to the next big disruption.
With the focus on reskilling and repurposing, as well as the automation of manual tasks, employees will no longer have to do repetitive or onerous tasks. Rather, they will be freed up to concentrate more on business innovation and customer service.
One successful digital transformation story is that of a South East Asian media conglomerate, which recently underwent a digital transformation programme and migrated its business support systems (BSS) to cloud. The aim was to improve the user experience and increase self-service adoption, personalise recommendations and improve usability.
In 14 months – and negotiating Covid-19 challenges – the transformation journey resulted in upfront operational and capital expenditure savings, as well as 10% cost optimisation. In addition, the business was able to decommission data centres and enable updates to individual apps without impacting its overall digital architecture.
In another instance, Philippines-based telecommunications company, Globe, modernised a fragmented and inefficient call centre to deliver an enhanced digital experience for customers.
To deliver better customer interactions and reduce waiting time, increase call resolution rates and enrich their customers’ digital lifestyles, the company’s legacy system was migrated to the cloud (Amazon Connect) and an Amdocs solution was adopted to convert 31 screens to a single, unified agent desktop. This led to a 40% reduction in operating expenditure (OPEX) and overall improvement in net promoter score (NPS).
Monaheng says digital transformation journeys may come with some challenges, but the rewards are worth the effort. “CSPs that have already embarked on accelerated journeys to transform their businesses are positioning themselves to deliver digital customer services that leverage new opportunities and technologies, and elevate their customers’ satisfaction and happiness rates. And frankly, the operations that don’t ride the transformation wave will be left behind.”
Pikie Monaheng is the CEO at Amdocs (www.Amdocs.com) South Africa.
Integrated Customer Experience Strategies Essential to Enterprise Growth
BY TAYO ASHIRU, Country Head, Ajua Nigeria
2020 was a game-changer for businesses globally. Businesses were confronted with the harsh reality of a global pandemic. The difference between businesses that succeeded and those that didn’t lay in their ability to understand their customer needs quickly and adapt. The question that is still on everyone’s mind is how their brands can stay relevant to their customers.
A report from Nigeria’s Statistics Bureau showed that the economy contracted by 6.1% year on year by Quarter 2 of 2020 alone. This decline is Nigeria’s steepest recorded in the past decade. In addition, a report by The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) showed that during the lockdown periods, Nigeria’s GDP dropped by 34.1 percent, amounting to USD 16 billion.
The reality of these figures proves that consumers’ wallets are even more constrained in 2021. Fighting for a share of the consumer wallet will require a major shift in strategies and an even deeper understanding of the dynamic customers’ ever-shifting needs.
Even as Nigerian businesses continue to embrace digital transformation to stay ahead, there is still a need to establish deeper connections with customers. Ajua, Africa’s first Integrated Customer Experience company gives businesses real-time visibility of their customer journey, enabling businesses to make strategic adjustments and take action where it matters most to them.
There is a direct correlation between companies that execute on their customer experience programs and how much their customers are willing to spend. More-so companies that are able to take a holistic integrated approach to map their customer journey’s tend to have a higher Customer Lifetime Value. According to a report by PWC, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.
Ajua which has operations in Nigeria, Kenya and the Caribbean recently announced the appointment of Tayo Ashiru as the Country Head of Nigeria. Tayo shared, “The biggest risk to businesses post-COVID is failing to meet revenue expectations due to churned customers among other factors.”
He emphasizes the need for businesses to have a strong understanding of who their customers are and what their expectations are. Tayo added, “Having a digital customer experience strategy enables businesses to receive this information on a continuous basis in real-time.”
Ajua is Africa’s first Integrated Customer Experience company for businesses on the continent. We exist to bridge the gap between businesses and their customers. Ajua’s technology integrates with businesses at the points that matter most to their customers to measure and optimize their Customer Experience. Our plug and play platform has enabled leading brands of various sizes and industries on the continent to create actionable strategies that drive business growth. Ajua officially rebranded from mSurvey on July 31st, 2019 to reflect our growth, ambition and African Identity in our corporate brand.
Tayo joins Ajua with over 15 years in technology and marketing having worked with Glo Mobile, Huawei and most recently as the Head of Marketing at MainOne. He has been credited for his successes in introducing the first data service, first 3G service, first blackberry service and other new technologies into the Nigerian market working with brands like Glo Mobile. Tayo worked to establish and launch subsidiaries of both Mainone and Glo in Benin Republic, Ghana and Ivory Coast. Tayo’s experience spans beyond the continent having spent years in Asia and Ireland.
Ethics and integrity are the core foundation of our business
By: Nora Wahby, Vice President and Head of Ericsson West Africa and Morocco
Be it working on the latest tech, designing solutions for our customers, or contributing to the next big innovation – we are all committed to what we do at Ericsson. This commitment is what makes us accountable and responsible to conduct our business responsibly. We work continuously to improve and strengthen our business practices, with a focus on building and maintaining trust, transparency and integrity.
Ericsson takes pride in being a responsible, relevant driver of positive change within the communities and societies we impact. To succeed, we must set a high standard for winning business on merit, ability and fairness, and when needed, remediate compliance-related risks.
Codes of Ethics
When we join Ericsson, we make a personal commitment by signing our Code of Business Ethics (CoBE) document. This is our guiding framework to be a trusted partner, to conduct business responsibly and to remind us that every action count.
Following our Code of Business Ethics in everything we do is an oath we all take year-on-year to conduct ourselves and do our business responsibly and to live up to our purpose of empowering an intelligent, sustainable and connected world. We create intelligent technologies that connect societies and industries, driving positive change.
We require our business partners to commit to our standards as defined in The Ericsson Code of Conduct for Business Partners. This document outlines Ericsson’s expectations and requirements in key areas such as anti-corruption, labor and human rights, occupational health and safety, environment and climate change.
The Ericsson Code of Business Ethics and Code of Conduct for Business Partners go beyond fulfilling a legal requirement. It is a commitment to do the right thing, the right way, always.
I have seen this strong commitment being reflected across Ericsson. This is what helps us attract talents and business partners, which in turn inspires us to empower our people, not just to make ethical decisions but also the right ones.
Our #AfricaInMotion campaign is something that I often talk about and take as an example. The key vision behind the campaign was to drive our “accelerate Africa strategy”, enabling social, technological and financial inclusion for a young, dynamic and growing population. The foundation of this vision lies in conducting our business responsibly so that our end-users can benefit from the full potential of connectivity and secure sustainable development.
We have been making significant efforts to strengthen our Ethics & Compliance program with policies, processes and tools for preventing, detecting, reporting and remediating non-compliance. We have therefore put our focus on four areas:
- Leadership and culture
- Third party engagements
- Compliance and Investigation capabilities
- Internal controls
I have seen the quest of driving business responsibly being followed and implemented in our daily work. That is why I am proud to say that demonstrating strong ethics and integrity is the cornerstone of our culture. These are as critical to our business as technology and innovation.
Ethical business for us is not just about complying with legal obligations. We are equally committed to ethical conduct and acting with integrity in how we interact with our colleagues, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, and how we engage with the communities at large. After all, it’s all about doing the right thing.
The Dematerialized Office: A Vision of the Internet of Senses in the 2030 Future Workplace
The Ericsson IndustryLab report, The Dematerialized Office explores the white-collar employee perspective on a potential future reality where digital technology by 2030 could interact with our senses of sight, sound, taste, smell and touch.
The pandemic as a digital tipping point
Welcome to the future workplace. But what does that workplace look like?
We surveyed over 8,400 white collar workers who are early adopters of AR, VR or virtual assistants from 16 countries, representing around 133 million people, about their expectations of the future workspace. They anticipate:
- A digital workstation that transforms with each task
- A virtual cake from a colleague that you can even taste
- Interactive digital meetings with people rather than being passively stuck behind a screen all day
- But also, future business that takes place digitally, where you can visit virtual stores and warehouses
This year’s pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. In our report we present a vision of the internet of senses in the 2030 workplace and explore the challenges and opportunities that this could present.
Key findings from the report
01. Employees want an internet of senses for work
Imagine a fully immersive office experience, where all sensory experiences are digitally interactive. By 2030, the dematerialized office may be a reality. And for those working from home, the full-sense digital home office will also get a boost. In fact, half of respondents want a digital workstation allowing full-sense presence at work from anywhere. Today, companies direct their funds into maintaining physical office space, but in the future, respondents hope this will be geared towards improving their home office environment.
02. The pandemic has become a digital tipping point
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the mindset of many companies and their employees. After months of working on their computers at home, constantly engaged in video meetings in their sometimes chaotic home environments, nearly 6 in 10 foresee a permanent increase in online meetings. They are also realizing that while connectivity is more important than ever before, digital meetings need to evolve before they become as effective as the real thing. There is simply a need for tools that better support remote interaction.
03. The sustainable dematerialized office
Dematerialization of the office will be driven by efficiency gains and sales, but the environment is also expected to benefit. With virtual offices for example, there would be no need to commute, or for companies to keep physical office spaces running. As many as 77 percent indicate that an internet of senses for business use would make companies more sustainable.
04. Virtual interaction with clients and colleagues
How about a team building trip to Pompeii? What if Vesuvius suddenly erupted and engulfed you in lava, there would be a lot to talk about around the virtual water cooler later. Team building becomes more important when there are fewer physical meetings, but virtual interaction has other benefits for companies too. 50 percent are saying that digital temperature will be used to more immersively engage customers by 2030. Providing immersive full-sense sales environments, such as a virtual shopping mall or warehouse will enable customers to digitally try before they buy.
05. A taste of the future
Not a fan of the food in the canteen? Respondents think internet of senses technology will also be used inside companies and could help with this. 73 percent of senior managers believe that food in the company canteen can be digitally enhanced to taste like anything by 2030, opening up for optimization of both cost and perceived quality.
06. Security and privacy are key barriers
Privacy is increasingly set to become a critical challenge filled with paradoxes over the next decade. While many employees see the benefits of enhanced technology there is also a lot of fear. As digital interaction moves beyond sound and vision to incorporate all our senses, and potentially also enables functionality such as thought control of devices, the avenues for fraud, manipulation and identity theft will grow exponentially. While 66 percent think that by 2030, technology will enable them to sense when a colleague is upset, that also means their employer will know when they themselves are upset. The challenge will be in finding a balance that allows for fast adoption of digital technology in the workplace, while also respecting the integrity of employees.
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