MWC: Find out what’s trending before you go

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Mobile World Congress (MWC) is just days away now – and you may be wondering what to expect this year at the show.

First off, MWC will be all about how digital transformation is not only changing how telecommunications companies do business, but it’s changing how everyone does business.  Here’s an executive perspective on that from Stephan Gatien, global head for the telecommunications industry business unit at SAP.

But what specifically can you as a telco expert expect?  SAP recently put together a 2016 industry perspective, with insights on the trends and business opportunities that we believe will unfold this year.  Most, if not all, of these will be prevalent themes at MWC next week, so let’s see what the research uncovered.

It’s time to make a shift….

As OTT playerts start to take market share, it’s more important than ever to think about new ways to do business.  Taking a digital approach, telcos can completely redesign the technology landscape using Big Data, analytics, data science and the cloud.

Using insights from the SAP trends, here are a few of the trends that we believe are imperative as telcos redefine their business and drive new revenue streams:

  1. A more proactive approach to managing customers
  2. An increased focus on becoming local content platform players for services such as live broadcast of sports on smartphones
  3. IT investments in technology platforms, (including software) to support digital services
  4. Centralization of data repositories for a unified view of the customer
  5. Billing systems with capabilities such as real-time charging, charging for mulitple services in a single bill and real-time settlement
  6. Cloud-based systems to run the business in all departments
  7. Better data management through the use of skilled data scientists

What does this mean in relation to the show?  Let’s take a look…

The priority?  Revenue, of course!

This should come as no surprise, but the underlying message of these trends is how telcos can combat slow revenue growth and find new business models that can drive future, more expansive financial growth.  We’ve been discussing this for awhile, but new emerging models are finally beginning to take hold.  Yes, average revenue per user (ARPUs) will continue to decline and become a thing of the past, but the rate at which new opportunities are unfolding is picking up speed and this should be apparent at the show.

Take, for example, the massive eruption of the Internet of Things (IoT).  The sheer gargantuan number of devices and the mobile connectivity needed for each of those will create new revenue streams.  The cloud, smart cities, smart homes, Internet TV, mobile advertising, mobile payments, and video-on-demand are driving up the need for the core services telco provide – and these topics will be the buzz of the show.

Many of these opportunities will require that telcos create new kinds of relationships and what better place to initiate these relationships than at MWC?  Look for potential cross-functional and cross-industry partnerships (TV and cloud, or smart cities) that will allow you to tap into the emerging market opportunities.  These are key – in fact, a global EY survey of telecom CIOs found that more than 36% of the respondents see that digital services will account for more than 20% of their revenue by 2020.

And yes, the customer experience still rules

What else is key?  Yes, you guess it  the customer experience.  It’s no surprise that the EY survey found that 68% of the operators surveyed view customer experience management as their number one strategic priority for the next three years.  So not only is this a key trends from the SAP research, but my guess is that it will be front and center at MWC as well.

But that’s not all.  We expect that MWC this year will be full of other opportunities that will help telcos make the digital transformation easier – for themselves and for their customers.  Look for solutions that will help telcos better control costs, create more efficiencies and agility.  In addition, MWC will be a great place to find ways to improve customer service via strong personalization.

SAP will be there to support telcos in many of the areas mentioned here.  You can see more about our presence at the event at www.sap.com/mwc.  I personally look forward to meeting you at our booth in Hall 3, Stand 3M41.

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