In today’s global economy, where the rate of technology change continues to accelerate, it is either disrupt or risk being disrupted. Existing vendors and new entrants, leveraging technologies that didn’t exist just a few years ago have transformed whole industries and will continue to do so in the future. As a result, approximately 75% of the more than five hundred organizations benchmarked by Nemertes Research in their annual Digital Transformation study have invested heavily in digital initiatives, with the majority focused on digital customer experience (DCX).
Nemertes defines digital transformation as the “innovative application of technology that improves or creates a process, product or experience that ultimately drives business value—quickly.”
In terms of DCX, business and IT leaders are seeking out new ways to engage with their customers to increase satisfaction, retention, and upsell opportunities. They are evaluating, or investing in a variety of channels including mobile apps, WebRTC, text, and multimedia messaging, and chat. They are investing in analytics and machine learning-based services to enable a better understanding of customer behaviors to allow personalization of the engagement experience.
The foundation for these efforts is increasingly cloud-based services. In the last two years the buying driver for the cloud, especially cloud communications, has shifted from a focus on cost reduction to increasingly a need to enable better agility so that the organization can rapidly adjust strategy and quickly take advantage of emerging technologies. Those stuck with on-premises platforms, with long upgrade cycles, cannot compete in the age of microservices-based applications delivered via the cloud, with additional features being delivered weekly, daily, or even hourly.
This rapidly changing landscape creates both an opportunity and a challenge for communications service providers. The opportunity comes from meeting customer demand for rapid access to new digital capabilities across all operating regions. Examples include messaging services that provide proactive notification of orders, service updates, and/or trouble tickets as well as services that enable customers to rapidly establish a local virtual presence in existing or new operating areas. The challenge arises from the need to increase the provider’s own rate of innovation. Providers themselves are increasingly looking to cloud-based partners to enable them to rapidly deliver capabilities that would take longer, and potentially be more costly, to build themselves.
Successful service providers will select partners that can augment their existing capabilities now, and that will partner with them on future service delivery. The ideal partner will provide a broad set of features, with the ability to support all operating areas, and meet service quality needs for real-time applications. Ultimately picking the right partner will boost both the provider’s own transformation efforts, as well as its ability to deliver transformational services to its customer base.