Among those domains, we’ve identified the top ten risks on the fast-changing landscape.
1. Ineffective digital growth and diversification strategy
Digital services are the leading priority for the telecommunications C-suite, yet many adjacent market initiatives remain small-scale in terms of contribution to the top line. As the Internet of Things and 5G start to take center stage, telcos should take more meaningful steps to overhaul business models while making the most of an array of inorganic growth levers if they are to maximize their addressable market.
2. Underestimating changing imperatives in privacy, security and trust
Digital trust is a white-hot issue for consumers and enterprises alike, and the compliance landscape is changing quickly as regulators prioritize data protection. While operators recognize these forces at work, more can be done to put security and trust at the heart of customer interactions. Whether meeting regulatory stipulations or building credibility in new service domains, trust is now a key attribute of the digital telco.
3. Inability to scale internal digitization initiatives
Transformation strategies are not new among operators, but the journey to becoming an adaptive digital enterprise requires a carefully calibrated roadmap. A more complex landscape of transformational technologies demands new decisions and choices, while the burden of legacy IT continues to loom large for many. A holistic view of emerging technologies and their mutually reinforcing relationships is now essential.
4. Failure to prioritize workforce planning and design
Operators recognize that digital skills are lacking in their organizations, but the talent agenda still lacks airtime as a top strategic priority. Reskilling is critical as technology cycles quicken while a holistic approach to workforce design is essential in order to boost productivity and prevent new organizational silos from forming. Ultimately, improved employee engagement will help telcos deliver a superior customer experience.
5. Inability to combat the growing capex burden
Telcos worldwide are contending with a new wave of network investment, from 5G and low-power wide area networks to gigabit fibre. While differentiation through network quality remains vital, maximizing return on investment will not be easy as capital intensity rises across the sector. In this light, infrastructure switch-off, spin-off and sharing will come to the fore as operators grapple with an ever more diverse portfolio of network assets.