What does "agile digital operations" really mean to the various C-level offices of a communication service provider? What can these offices achieve through agile digital operations? And how can they achieve them?
In the Digital Age, for an organization to be more effective, it has to be more flat -- with each organization unit focusing on user experience, digital operations and open and Internet-style collaboration.
However, such organizational changes are not easy. In the endeavor to become digital, one of the hardest parts to change is the mindset and culture. That takes time. Assuming the organization structure of a typical CSP remains the same for a while; how to help communication service providers (CSPs) visualize and realize the benefits of agile digital operations across various organization units and C-level offices?
What is agile digital for the CMO office?
The typical CMO office wants to bring in agility and digital in launching diverse products and offers -- telco, digital, content, IoT/M2M, materials, etc. In order to adapt to the changing market needs, they would want to have a platform that has an advanced digital and data-model, with a flexible product-lifecycle management based on the product type.
Not just that, they would want to have a wizard-based product configurator with simplified processes, so that agility and digital is really experienced by their staff, resulting in improved productivity and efficiency. The CMO office would also want to have a rich set of templates, which can be extensively reused by its staff. All these would help the CMO office in achieving OTT like time-to-market, which will be in minutes, hours or, at the maximum -- a few days.
The CMO office would also want agile and digital capabilities in managing millions of products, which their team has created. Ease of product-and-offer categorization and advanced search-engine powered by knowledge-base helps them achieve. A federated, yet unified product catalogue also helps in the manageability of products and offers. Having highly flexible and configurable business rules helps to convert and rationalize offers through easy upgrades, thereby further helping the CMO office in the manageability of products.
Another step towards agile and digital is to let some of the operations be handled by the customers and partners themselves. For instance, let the customers create their own packages. These are made possible through open APIs. Apart from boosting customer satisfaction, it boosts revenue and reduces the operational overhead by the CSPs' staff.
Promotions and campaigns also have to be agile and digital. A dedicated promotion engine will help the CMO and sales offices be quick to respond to the market needs. The CMO office would also want to have a platform that is based on the "Five Right principles" -- deliver the right product to the right customer at the right time through the right channel at the right location. Real-time monitoring and evaluation of campaigns, including the multi-wave campaigns, further bolsters the agility and digital factor of their offices.
What is agile digital for COO/CXO office?
Huawei's native ROADS User Experience on its own propagates agility and digital into the operations of a CSP. ROADS stands for "real-time, on-demand, all-online, do-it-yourself and social characteristics" that a user wants to experience from a CSP.
Native ROADS User Experience boosts CSAT (Customer Satisfaction) and NPS (Net Promoter Score). It makes it easy for the customer to do business with the CSP. It puts control in the hands of the end user and entices them to keep going back to the self-service channel. This in turn reduces TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) because it is letting the end users handle their own operations. It frees up the operators' and agents' time and helps them focus on solving more complex individual problems of the customer, thereby boosting the CSAT and NPS, all of which paves way to recommendations, which in turn further results in improved revenue and customer-stickiness.
With big data-based-on-demand-recommendations, CSPs will see revenues getting a further boost. Native ROADS experience is a necessity to get the attention of the current digital native generation.
It is obvious that the COO office hugely benefits by agile digital. Agents' productivity and efficiency is improved through flexible and intelligent business processes. Ease of operations is achieved through rich set of tools -- including DevOps tools. Native cloud applications and infrastructure ensures elastic scaling and smooth expansion for the digital age growth. A centralized monitoring system ensures efficient O&M (Operations and Maintenance). On top of all this, the principle of "automate-wherever-possible" helps by handing over mundane tasks to the machines.
What is agile digital for CIO/CTO office?
Achieving agile digital Operations without convergence is a very big challenge. In the digital age, we no longer talk about convergence within CSPs' traditional services. Thatís a given. The new target is to achieve convergence across industries. For that to happen, it is important that CSPs lay down the basic foundation for convergence to make agile digital operations more effective. The fewer the systems, the more agile a CSP will be. This is achieved through consolidating duplicate functions and/or systems. Convergence has a far reaching, positive impact on customer experience too.
For industrial convergence, the advanced digital data model is required -- where any products and offers can be created and sold using the CSPís platform.
For a CTO/CIO, agile digital is also about having less integration effort and challenges, so that they can quickly respond to the marketing teamís need. For this, the CTO/CIO has to have a platform, which is loosely coupled, yet pre-Integrated. The platform should also have rich set of tools, including assembling tools for southbound and northbound interfaces/systems. Open APIs should be supported in both business and technical sense. There should be a strict "no" policy towards external proprietary interface protocols. Such protocols inhibit Agile and Digital operational capability.
CSPs budget reduction doesnít necessarily translate to relaxation of CTO/CIOís targets and KPIs. They are asked to perform with smaller budgets. Hence, it is important for their team to have a platform, which is config-oriented and doesnít rely much on code changes. This platform should provide a multitude of configuration options and tools in areas such as visible gadgets, WebCMS, policy, plan, offering, products, script editor, template editor, etc. The platform should support business rules, which can be created through drag-and-drop expressions.
In the context of "deliver-with-less-budget," rich IDE (Integrated Development Environment) tools promoting DevOps become important. Some capabilities expected from such tools are: metadata-driven framework for flexible extension, business development framework to configure business logic, business process editor and service editor.
All of these boost agility with less overall annual budgets.
Apart from the above, NFV/SDN and cloudification have to be undertaken by the CTO/CIO office. This is to permeate agile digital operations into the infrastructure layer, and not just limit it to the application layer.
What is agile digital for CEO/CFO office?
Typically, when C-level offices follow the principle of agile digital, the CEO/CFO office starts seeing the benefits. But there are additional outcomes and benefits that the CEO/CFO office starts seeing from agile digital operations. Example are: data service on demand, C2C (Customer to Customer) trading, socialized charging, transparency with full visible bill runs, easy merger and acquisitions and easy rollout of new business models such as cloud, IoT and mobile money.
Agile digital operations are essential to the success of digital embracement and the transformation of CSPs. The obvious benefits are reduced TTM, reduced TCO and improved ROI. Native agile digital operations also act as an enabler of Native ROADS User Experience and Native Open Eco System. With these elements in hand, C-level offices stand to reap the benefit of agile digital operations.