Amit Sanyal, EVP & Chief Operating Officer - Consumer Value Solutions, Comviva

In his current role as the Executive Vice President, Amit Sanyal is responsible for the strategic direction, P&L and product vision of the Customer Value Solutions business at Comviva. His career spanning almost two decades has been devoted towards building strong businesses and unlocking great customer value by transforming customer experiences, primarily through amalgamation of digital technologies and deep customer insights. As a constant learner of business and technology, Amit is passionate about building advanced real-time AI/ ML led solutions that deliver impactful, measurable growth and value to businesses.

 

Digital transformation is not just about technology. It’s the integration of new technologies into all business areas and not just the Information Technology (IT) department. Today, the world is undeniably digital, unlike a decade ago, with new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Cloud Computing, Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and many more forming the backbone of numerous businesses across sectors.

The key advantages of embracing these emerging technologies include operational agility, improved data security, enhanced customer experience, and so on. These technologies are even giving birth to new business models. Business efficiency is another area where digital transformation plays a pivotal role, and organizations can provide consumers with personalized and on-demand products/services more than ever before. 

In addition to these, digital transformation stands essential when automating repetitive yet critical tasks across the company/organization. These transformations will help employees execute their daily tasks more efficiently and focus on complex problem solving and creative solutions. For instance, AI-powered chatbots emerged as a must-have for all sectors, including telecom, IT, e-commerce, among others, so that they can maintain direct interaction with customers and respond instantly as well as accurately on a day-to-day basis. 

Further, to give a deeper perspective, the global digital transformation market size is expected to reach US$1009.8 billion (or more than US$1 trillion) by 2025 from US$469.8 billion in 2020. Hence, it’s a clear indication that digital transformation is the need of the hour for organizations, big or small. 

Trends Transforming the Telecom Industry

Having said the above, a few digital transformation trends are driving innovation for telcos. Like every other industry, the telecom industry is experiencing a digital shift. In fact, with the advent of the ongoing pandemic, there is an acceleration in embracing AI, IoT, 5G Network, etc., technologies. Broadly speaking, the idea is to make communication and content services more digital.

In this regard, let’s look at those trends that are leading this transformation for the telecom industry:

Artificial Intelligence 

The telecom industry is very well recognizing the value of existing data and making use of the same. This is where AI and its software step in to help process and analyze large amounts of data to make the service more efficient. For instance, AI-enabled virtual assistants or chatbots help customers how to install apps and operate the same. A recent market report also highlights that the global AI in the telecommunication market is to reach USD 2,497.8 million by 2022 from USD 365.8 million in 2017, growing at a CAGR of 46.8%. Another application of AI in telecommunications is conversational AI platforms. Also known as virtual assistants, they have learned to automate and scale one-on-one conversations so efficiently that they are projected to cut business expenses by as much as $8 billion annually in 2022,

 5G Network

 In the wake of the ongoing pandemic, remote working became the need of the hour. Today, more and more people are using smartphones and other gadgets to conduct back to back virtual meetings, work, study, watch movies or series online, shop, and so on. All of these need good internet connectivity and high speed. Thus, these have further prompted demand for advanced wireless networks such as 5G with a transmission speed of up to 10 GB per second. This fifth generation of wireless network will kick-start the next wave of innovations in the telecom industry while enabling near-zero communication latency, wherein communications will occur in real-time without any delay. Say, for example, 5G will play a game-changing role in organizing large-scale virtual corporate or sport events   

 Smart Cities

 In addition, the network is going to play a major role in the development of smart cities. These cities will also primarily depend on telecommunication networks to receive actionable insights from real-time data. Understanding the pivotal role of connectivity in a smart city ecosystem, we can easily see several critical ways that telecom companies can empower a smart city. Telecom companies can provide the connectivity that city governments require to become smart. Smart city solutions can be anything from lighting to traffic, from air quality to government performance. Telecom companies can serve as a bridge between the city government and the wider community while providing a one-stop shop for city data.  

 Internet of Things

 This technology in the telecom sector enables the suppliers in the space to track various communication bases remotely. Due to the pandemic, more people are internet-connected devices; hence, Internet of Things comes as a help for service providers to offer impeccable means of communication between individuals and devices. On the business front, it is increasing efficiency, thereby driving smooth processes while increasing revenue. For instance, using IoT, communication service providers can improve their operational processes while efficiently managing their assets.   

 Big Data

 As already mentioned, telecom companies are today flooded with data of various types that are required to be decoded and understood accurately. For instance, Big Data analysis can reveal the peak hours of the day when users use maximum data. The company can prepare itself to avoid any network/connectivity issues during that time. Such data are insightful for companies in the telecom space who can make decisions in terms of their network optimization or to enhance customer experience, etc.  

 Cloud Computing

 Simultaneously, there is a rise in cloud-based communication in the country. And so, if the legacy telecom players aspire to meet this growing demand, they need to undergo digital transformation and switch to cloud-based infrastructures. Such a move will help them in terms of their scalability, agility, and cost-efficiency. Plus, integrating or moving to a cloud-based setup will also allow telecom companies to grow their service portfolio and expand overseas at the speed that today’s market requires. For example, using cloud telecom services, organizations can provide varied solutions, including instant messaging, telephone, email, audio or video conferencing, etc.

 Cyber Security

 With so much essential data available on the cloud, telecom companies are a big target for cyber-attackers. Thus, the focus is to build a robust infrastructure that keeps hackers from stealing confidential data from companies and customers. That’s why several companies are already investing in securing their valuable assets: the data and tracking threats to prevent any attacks. Therefore, developing a real-time security monitoring across the systems is imperative.  

Challenges

Well, it’s no secret that the new-age technologies are on their way to disrupt the telecom industry. However, even though many players want to transform themselves digitally and become a new age company in the telecom space, they first need to eliminate the existing challenges. These include lack of infrastructure, knowledge, employee inertia, meaning younger lot are far more digitally savvy than their previous employees. 

The concern is these challenges may create organizational conflict(s). For instance, older employees may be reluctant to transform, not because they don’t want it, but their fear is “limited knowledge” than their younger counterparts. So, it’s important to train the existing workforce on a new system or technology that will help them stay viable and relevant in the digital-driven ecosystem. Besides, it’s also vital for organizations to identify if their customers are digitally savvy and reimagine existing business models to address appropriate demands.  

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