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Why businesses must move to digital


Ian Hall

Head of Sales for Digital Business Systems in Ireland, Ericsson

Digital transformation can bring benefits to all areas of a business — but it’s not simply a question of introducing new tech. A mindset change is also required from the organisation.

Digital transformation involving organisation, systems and processes is one of the most powerful drivers of change and opportunity for businesses and network operators, says Ian Hall, Head of Sales for Digital Business Systems in Ireland at Ericsson.

To begin with, a transition to digital services and operations has the power to significantly improve an organisation’s top-line revenue, cost optimisation, and customer retention and growth. It can also lead to new business and partnership models, where new digital assets — such as data from customer relations and operations — form a new base for new services, innovation and partnerships for network operators and service providers.

“Digital operations are more automated, more dynamic, and create an efficiency far beyond the traditional operations processes of today,” insists Hall. “We’ll see more and more of the original human-defined processes being reshaped for machine execution, with greatly improved productivity as the result.”

Transformation beyond technology

Hall’s message, then, is that businesses and network operators can run but not hide from digitalisation. “Gartner predicts that, by 2020, a customer will manage 85 per cent of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human through digital means,” he says. “Also by 2020, information will be used to reinvent, digitalise or eliminate 80 per cent of business processes and products from the last decade; and business executives predict that up to 47 per cent of revenues will be influenced by digital by 2020.”

Don’t resist digitalisation because of fear of change, fear of transformation failure, or a focus on other priorities.

Businesses that continue to resist digitalisation might be doing so because of fear of change, fear of transformation failure, a focus on other priorities or a lack of sponsorship from top management.

But, ultimately, by not embedding new digital technology and capabilities into their organisation and processes, they risk being left behind. These technologies range across both IT (e.g. Digital Devices, Data Analytics, Digital Self Care and eCommerce platforms, Customer Experience Management, IT Cloud) and the Converged Network (e.g. Telco Cloud, Network Function Virtualisation (NFV), IoT, Artificial Intelligence).

Put like that, a move to digital sounds like a must-do. Yet this kind of transformation requires more than just a modernisation of existing IT and network architecture or the introduction of new digital capabilities. That’s because “transformation goes beyond the technology”, warns Hall. For it to be successfully implemented, it also requires a mindset shift from management and staff. Gratifyingly, however, Hall says that Ericsson is driving this change at first hand “through our work in over 180 countries across the key converging areas of mobility, broadband and cloud. This gives us a deep understanding of Telecom and ICT business objectives, challenges and processes, which are key success factors in digital transformation projects.”

The upside for telecom operators

Hall also points out that digital transformation has significant benefits for telecom operators. First, there’s the potential revenue increase they may see from offering new digital services in several areas, such as cloud-based services for consumers or enterprises, entertainment and content, collaboration services for consumer and business, home automation, security and safety, financial services and internet of things (IoT) services.

Then there’s an improvement in customer experience and customer satisfaction; and, finally, by simplifying and optimising their organisation, operational processes, technology, and infrastructure, it’s easier to efficiently and effectively create, deliver and manage services to end customers.

“Many market analysts are saying that only operators who have gone through this digital transformation will be able to survive after this revolution, and that digitalisation can be considered as a mandatory step for survival,” says Hall. “What I do know is that digitalisation is a force that will remain vital for many years to come — and we are just in an early stage of that journey for many operators.”

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