Written by Nuno Periquito
In the early 2000’s there was a clear distinction between the online and offline world, the brick and mortars and ecommerce companies. Nowadays, this distinction doesn’t make sense anymore since everything is merged. There isn’t an offline without an online and the opposite is also true, just think Amazon Go.
With very few exceptions, there isn’t a sustainable and thriving business sector which hasn’t, in some way, embraced digital transformation. As the provider of connectivity which enables everything digital, this shift has created a huge opportunity for CSPs to tap into a new business opportunity.
Still, in this new Age, protecting the connectivity business isn’t enough, CSPs must understand the emerging trends and needs from customers and enterprises alike, decide what to tackle and how to capture the value arising from these new digital revenues streams.
The consumer segment has traditionally been CSPs focus when it comes to investment. Economies of scale and network effects enabled scaling standard offers, but, although this segment stills carries significant weight for operators, other players, more noteworthy OTTs and GAFA have claimed a significant part of the pie, leaving CSPs to be, in some cases, not more than connectivity providers.
These new players can be seen as coopetitors and represent a new stance for operators to engage with a wider ecosystem of partners. Because CSPs want to position themselves as trusted partners, they need to complement their offers with expertise from other businesses and co-create new services to meet the needs of both customers and enterprises.
According to forecasters, in the next couple of years, the consumer segment is expected to experience a very modest annual 0,6% growth, while the enterprise segment is expected to grow around 2,6%, fueled by enterprise ICT services demand and digital transformation efforts.
CSPs enjoy a relative goodwill capital and are trusted partners in serving other B2B organizations with deep expertise as connectivity providers and a strong track record in helping organizations, from different sectors and sizes. This privileged context puts CSPs in optimal position to extend their role and provide more services and, in many cases, be the orchestrator, by helping organizations making the journey to digitalization.
The advent of the enterprise opportunity relates to the digital transformation many industries are going through but also new technological advancement, 5G being the most relevant.
Also dubbed the “Industrial Internet”, 5G use cases have shown real potential and value for different sectors. The critical success factors are providing low latency, higher speed and bigger coverage and, depending on the industries, each one has a different impact.
For the gaming industry, low latency is critical while for media, bandwidth is of the essence. Smart cities are concerned with coverage and reliability since connectivity has become a critical infrastructure. Different needs and requirements are leading to the need to have tailor and seamless connectivity where value is captured by proving a custom service and dedicated connectivity.
Another important dimension to consider in the B2B opportunity is the enterprise profile, namely its size. A SOHO enterprise, which will probably lack the necessary resources and knowledge, is very interested in pre-package bundles that can include, for example, cloud and security services. On the other hand, large organizations require a bespoke solution. More than connectivity, there is an untapped opportunity to move from selling products to selling solutions, addressing and adapting to diverse ecosystems.
CSPs already have in place the most critical building blocks to move up in the B2B value chain, from connectivity providers to partners and orchestrators. Still, they are also undergoing their own digital journey which poses new challenges and impacts their agility to fully realize the B2B opportunity.
By nature, the enterprise offer is heterogeneous with companies from different sectors, sizes and specific ways of conducting business. This results in the need of tailored solutions per customer but what often happens is the use of best-of-breed off-the-shelf IT products, none of which are fully integrated. Usually these systems are based on the consumer business needs where automation is key due to the high volumes. The enterprise business is different though.
For the consumer market you build a network with a set of features and activate customers. Any feature not implemented in this network is not available for customers. In the Enterprise segment, customers are acquired and a network is built with the required features, obviously as standardized as possible. The value is not in the volume, but in the ability to deliver according to the customer’s needs.
Taking the consumer business as a blueprint for the Enterprise landscape will end up with a highly automated feature box, but what is needed is flexibility with some standard building blocks. There is a need for a set of systems that provide a solid E2E flow with the ability to adapt to individual requirements without disrupting the overall flow.
So, what do we need? The question is where do you want standardization / automation and where do you want flexibility. When interfacing with other systems or the network you need standardization for it to be able to work and you need automation to prevent errors and be consistent. When interfacing with humans (the customer) you need flexibility because every customer is different and has different needs.
Transforming businesses to become more agile, connected to their employees and closer to customers is what CSPs across the globe are committed to. Although it is a big undertake, Celfocus has the experience, expertise and solutions to help and support this vision.
Celfocus has a holistic vision for the enterprise segment, assisting CSPs in each stage from price to quote to order to revenue process. Acknowledging its idiosyncrasies and leveraging on a strong track record and deep expertise in the Telecommunications industry, Celfocus Enterprise focuses on developing and tackling the challenges faced by operators when addressing the enterprise segment, across the Enterprise Customer Lifecycle, including SALES – DELIVER – RUN.
Let us know if you want to learn more about how Celfocus can support the Enterprise segment.