We are celebrating a milestone this year, our first decade in the telecommunications industry. Here we present you with a single important takeaway we distilled from our work with telcos throughout the years. The takeaway is a pattern that we believe is defining how customers interact with the telco brands in the new digital era.
We started as the creative and digital agency of Vodafone Hungary. Then in the past 4 years we designed and built several digital solutions for the Deutsche Telekom Group — peaking at the EU-wide self-care mobile application, the One App.
It’s been quite a journey.
In the last 10 years, the industry was shaping in front of our eyes: incumbents progressed from telecommunication companies towards Digital Service Providers.
We worked with 11 local telecom companies in 10 European countries, and also with the central teams of Deutsche Telekom Group. We saw many perspectives and heard many opinions. Everywhere we kept coming across the importance of the customer experience. The very same principle we always considered to be the foundation of excellence. However, delivering an outstanding digital experience is something that is still almost unique to the digitally native companies, such as the often cited Apple, Uber or Amazon. It is safe to say, many telcos are struggling with getting there.
Is it the will? Or the lack of commitment? Possibly. One issue for sure is legacy.
Telcos usually sit on a surprising number of legacy systems, due to historical reasons. It has been addressed many times, and is an ongoing dilemma for the entire sector. Enormous projects were grounded during the digital transformation of many companies to consolidate and modernize the Operation and Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS) — often spanning years in time, and millions of Euros in value.
All this happened in the past decade, at the same time we saw the breakthrough of mobile platforms, social media, and the aggressive and high quality over-the-top (OTT) players such as Apple, Facebook, Google (or now rather Alphabet), Tencent and many more. We saw them cannibalizing traditional service revenues — a problem amongst many others causing difficulty for incumbents in this period.