by Kathiravan Palaniappan (Kathir) is Principal Consultant & Segment head for Central Europe Segment in Communications, Media and Information Services (CMI) Industry

With global lockdowns keeping billions of people at home, demand on the networks of global telecommunications companies (telcos) and internet service providers (ISPs) has increased.

Since 2012, despite investing trillions of dollars in infrastructure, telcos’ average revenue per user (ARPU) has declined between 13% and 36% globally. But some early evidence hints at a reversal of this trend, as office staff, students, schoolchildren and others work and study remotely, as well as replace many of their usual forms of recreation with online entertainment. 

It is perhaps too soon to know whether this will be a sustained change or a short-term uptick in ARPU. But the rise in demand does put the spotlight on the opportunities available to telcos that take advantage of the digital revolution by offering new digital services themselves.

Remote working and education has put a strain in ISPs. Source: Shutterstock

New solutions

Many years of investment have given telcos some of the most robust and reliable networks available. These networks can deliver exactly what a growing number of business sectors need − and they’re all in the cloud. 

It is easy to see how many of the things we once took for granted as being part of everyday life have been turned upside down by the pandemic. International travel is one, and the simple act of working in an office is another. For many businesses, adapting to a world of online meetings and telecommuting has been a necessity – one that has benefitted telcos and providers of online meeting platforms.

The operators behind resilient networks that have been enabling businesses to shift their operations online are well placed to benefit from these changes over the long term, too. Simply having the network might not be enough though – as vital as it is, it is just one part of the solution customers are looking for.

It is not hard to imagine the advantages of being part of an ecosystem that can offer customers a simple, reliable, end-to-end solution that includes network access and the platforms and applications workers will need.

From the telco operations perspective, a shift into this new world could also call for a sharper focus on carefully deployed automation. Part of that should include an ongoing assessment of when it would be best to use AI tools and when to use their human counterparts.

The most robust and reliable networks are all in the cloud. Source: Shutterstock

An intelligent operation

There will be occasions where technology can handle a query or process just as well as a human. Perhaps even better. One of the clearest examples being customer service chatbots that can answer simple questions, highlight relevant information, and route queries to the most appropriate source of further help.

Taking a holistic approach to intelligent automation promises a significant increase in business value by always selecting the right tool for every job. It is a far cry from any desire to routinely automate as many processes as possible across an organization and replace people with robots wherever feasible. Instead, it puts the emphasis on using technology to augment tasks undertaken by human members of the workforce and find the most effective balance between your human and non-human resources. 

It is a powerful combination with the potential to unlock an abundance of business value through the rapid deployment of new services, improved customer loyalty, and richer digital experiences. 

Software companies already offer end-to-end cloud services portfolios consisting of cloud advisory services, strategy and roadmap definition, assessment, deployment and implementation, workload migration and hybrid managed services. A central part of this is the machine-first framework, which has been engineered to help in the provision of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation services. 

This is the kind of service and expertise telcos will need if they are to continue to help support productivity, learning, and much-needed entertainment as the world adjusts to the new normal we currently find ourselves in.


About the Author

Kathiravan Palaniappan (Kathir) is Principal Consultant & Segment head for Central Europe Segment in Communications, Media and Information Services (CMI) Industry and part of the European Management team. With over two decades of experience across USA, UK, Europe and India, Kathir has served as the IT Advisor & Transformation partner for various customer relationships.