Challenges and opportunities for the digital CSP

08 May 2018

In the report, Market Trends: Top Five Disruptions for CSPs, Worldwide, 2018-2023, Gartner analysts see new technologies like open-source software, virtualization, wireless edge computing and artificial intelligence as radically altering the business relationships and competitive structures of enterprises. For many of these organizations, central to their ability to harness the evolving digital innovations is through their partnership with their communications service providers (CSPs).

Jacqueline Teo, chief digital officer for HGC Global Communications, in an exclusive interview with Telecom Asia, noted that it would be difficult for a non-digitalized CSP to support the digital needs of its customers.

And because technologies are continually evolving, CSPs may not have the luxury or foresight to pick the right technology that will bring them to the forefront of digital enablement. Rather they must pick and work on as many of these emerging technologies and hope they made the right choice.

Gartner concurs adding that many CSPs will struggle to become early adopters or fast followers of these technologies. “It remains difficult for them to develop the bold vision and agility required in order to capture market opportunities proffered by these trends,” King-Yew Foong, research vice president, Gartner said.

Teo believes that over the next 12 months, CSPs will accelerate efforts around software-defined environments. She also believes that near-term opportunities will come by way of collaboration among traditional competitors.

“Not one CSP will cover everything, nor offer everything. Like you’ve seen in the OTT [Over The Top], where they created vertical and horizontal ecosystems of what they need, I think you will see more and more CSPs get smart, partner up and try to create those opportunities. Having cross-geography ability to provide process, having cross-technology opportunities to provide service to customers,” she elaborated.

She concedes that as a traditional fixed line operator, HGC Global Communications is partnering with mobile network operators (MNOs) to enable these to be bigger, brighter, smarter and better [in the evolving digital landscape] for their customers.

A view shared by Gartner's Foong who recommends that CSPs strengthen strategic flexibility by broadening partnerships to include new or alternative technology providers. He also recommends CSPs to seize opportunities stemming from new, disruptive technologies by enhancing the organization’s ability to link these technologies with business implications, as well as identify promising, novel use cases.

Also, rejuvenating the workforce by reskilling and retooling existing employees is a must said the analyst. “Revise incentives and key performance indicators to drive change. Increase the ability to attract talents by revamping the traditional CSP image and introducing modern digital workplace practices,” Foong added.

One area that HGC’s Teo stressed is people. She noted that CSPs do not have in-house many of the digital skills, expertise and experience that they would need to harness new opportunities that are natively digital, so looking outside the organization is a natural path to take.

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