How agile are telcos today, what are the barriers and opportunities, and what can be done to improve agility? We look in depth at the findings from the Telco 2.0 Agility Challenge, and identify some key steps for telcos and partners to take, including specific organisational strategies to be 'Agile by Design' and the need for an ‘information intensive’ culture.
Background: The Telco 2.0 Agility Challenge
Agility is a highly desirable capability for telecoms operators seeking to compete and succeed in their core businesses and the digital economy in general. In our latest industry research, we found that most telco executives that responded rated their organisations as ‘moderately agile’, and identified a number of practical steps that telco management could and should take to improve agility.
The Definition and Value of Agility
In the Telco 2.0 Agility Challenge, STL Partners first researched with 29 senior telecoms operator executives a framework to define agility in the industry’s own terms, and then gathered quantitative input to benchmark the industry’s agility from 74 further executives via an online self-diagnosis tool. The analysis in this report examines the aggregate quantitative input of those executives.
The Telco 2.0 Agility framework comprises the five agility domains illustrated below.
Figure 4: The Telco 2.0 Agility Framework
Source: STL Partners, The ‘Agile Operator’: 5 Key Ways to Meet the Agility Challenge
- Organisational Agility: Establish a more agile culture and mindset, allowing you to move at faster speeds and to innovate more effectively
- Network Agility: Embrace new networking technologies/approaches to ensure that you provide the best experience for customers and manage your resources and investment more efficiently
- Service Agility: Develop the capability to create products and services in a much more iterative manner, resulting in products that are developed faster, with less investment and better serve customer needs
- Customer Agility: Provide customers with the tools to manage their service and use analytics to gain insight into customer behaviour to develop and refine services
- Partnering Agility: Become a more effective partner by developing the right skills to understand and assess potential partnerships and ensure that the right processes/technologies are in place to make partnering as easy as possible
A key finding of the first stage was that all of the executives we spoke to considered achieving agility as very important or critical to their organisations’ success, as exemplified by this quote.
“It is fundamental to be agile. For me it is much more important than being lean – it is more than just efficiency.”
European Telco CTO
This research project was kindly sponsored by Ericsson. STL Partners independently created the methodology, questions, findings, analysis and conclusions.
Purpose of this report
This report details:
- The headline findings of the Telco 2.0 Agility Challenge
- The category winners
- What are the lessons revealed about telco agility overall?
- What do telcos need to address to improve their overall agility?
- What can others do to help?
The Majority of Operators were ‘Moderately Agile’
Just over two thirds of respondents achieved a total score between 50%-75%. All of the twenty questions had 4 choices, so a score in this range means that for most of the questions these respondents were choosing the second or third option out of four choices increasing from the least to the most agile. The mean score achieved was 63% and the median 61%. This shows that most telcos believe they have some way to go before they would realistically consider themselves truly Agile by the definition set out in the benchmark.
Figure 5: Distribution of Total Agility Scores
Source: STL Partners Telco 2.0 Agility Challenge, n =74
A further part of the Agility Challenge was to identify Agility Champions, who were recognised through Agility Domain Awards at TM Forum Live! in Nice in June. The winners of these prizes were additionally interviewed by STL Partners to check the evidence of their claims, and the winners were:
- Telus, which won the Customer Agility Challenge Award. Telus adopted a Customer First initiative across the whole organization; this commitment to customers has led to both a significant increase in the ‘likelihood to recommend’ metric and a substantial reduction in customer complaints.
- Zain Jordan, which won the Service Agility Challenge. Zain Jordan has achieved the speed and flexibility needed to differentiate itself in the marketplace through deployment of state-of-the-art, real time service enablement platforms and solutions. These are managed and operated by professional, specialized, and qualified teams, and are driving an increase in profitability and customer satisfaction.
- Telecom Italia Digital Solutions, (TIDS) which won the Partnering Agility Challenge. TIDS have partnered effectively to deliver innovative digital services, including establishing and launching an IoT platform from scratch within 6 months. It is also developing and coordinating all the digital presence at the Expo Milan 2015.
Network Agility is hardest to achieve
Most respondents scored lower on Network Agility than the other domains, and we believe this is partly because the network criteria were harder to achieve (e.g. configuring networks in real time) but also that achieving meaningful agility in a network is as a rule harder than in the other areas.
Figure 6: Average Score by Agility Domain
Note: The maximum score was 4 and the minimum 1, with 4 = Strongly Agile, 3 = Mostly Agile, 2 = Somewhat Agile, and 1 = Not Agile.
Source: STL Partners, n = 74
Next Section: Looking Deeper
- Executive Summary
- Background: The Telco 2.0 Agility Challenge
- Purpose of this report
- Key Findings
- The Majority of Operators were ‘Moderately Agile’
- Agility Champions
- Network Agility is hardest to achieve
- Looking Deeper
- Organisational Agility: ‘Mindset’ is not enough
- Information Agility is an important factor
- If you had to choose One Metric that Matters (OMTM) it would be…
- Figure 1: The Telco 2.0 Agility Framework
- Figure 2: Respondents can be grouped into 3 types based on the level and nature of their organisational agility
- Figure 3: Information Agility Sub-Segments
- Figure 4: The Telco 2.0 Agility Framework
- Figure 5: Distribution of Total Agility Scores
- Figure 6: Average Score by Agility Domain
- Figure 7: We were surprised that Organisational Agility was not a stronger indicator of Total Agility
- Figure 8: Differences in Responses to Organisational Agility Questions
- Figure 9: Organisational Agility a priori Segments and Scores
- Figure 10: ‘Agile by Design’ Organisations Scored higher than others
- Figure 11: Defining Information Agility Segments
- Figure 12: The Information Agile Segment scored higher than the others