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Cultural Transformation Demanded by Customers

July 25, 2022 - Anton Palagin

The cultural transformations in services provided to meet customer demands that further expand the industry, business models & opportunities

The industry achieved its next big milestone this summer when Dish launched their 5G Open RAN cloud native network built on top of AWS cloud technology.  This is monumental as it shows that the concept is proven and that the key Lego-blocks are mature enough to realize this ambition. Most importantly, it reveals an opportunity for a completely new business model in telecom as the industry is well-known for enormous CAPEX and long-lasting projects.

In the case of Dish, several tenders were undertaken only 12 months ago and have since made their product available to the public. Granted, this has a limited geographical span and it may be an MVP product rather than something mature and massive. However, many parallels can be drawn here with Amazon’s approach to product launches — particularly with the release of MVPs as soon as it is possible to launch them. While the products may be simple in the beginning, it minimizes the journey to the customer and jumpstarts the build-measure-learn cycle at the earliest opportunity. This is in the hopes of achieving the most important factor for any product – customer feedback.

Another interesting aspect worth noting is that the cost of a mistake with this approach is not major in that it is easy to adopt a “fail fast” principle. This means incorporating mistakes as a part of the learning and development processes. In all, this begs the question of whether or not the telecom industry should the analyze the success of Hyperscalers and apply the same principles. As such, is success measured on taking some of their tools and completely ignoring the principles and solely emulating the business and operation models? If operators only migrate certain elements to the cloud to minimize the cost, are they at risk of ignoring the wider business lessons?

When looking at the cloud stories of the Hyperscalers, there is a clear common pattern – Amazon, Microsoft and Google have all created a cloud for their own purposes. In the beginning, they did not try to be a vendor of cloud solutions to someone else. This helped them find friendly in-house customers to provide immediate feedback to launch a valuable build-measure-learn development cycle. Bringing their cloud application MVPs rapidly to external users, which accelerated development and general availability for public consumption. It sounds like a shortcut to the market, right?

Think back to when it was time-consuming signing up for services, or changing subscriptions, or even terminating services no longer needed, or filing a complaint or process a refund. These days, leaving feedback can be done through forms or automated systems in any cloud application. It is no longer necessary to wait for an operator to answer the call, no need to complete several pages of a form describing the problem and even less need to visit their office to terminate a contract or waste time arguing over crazy bills with a customer care agent. Sounds all too familiar, doesn’t it?

When talking to customers, there is often a reference to a need for “cultural transformation”. This is not limited to only cultural transformation in relation to network operations. In fact, there is a huge difference between a last mile carrier and a digital service provider. As a consumer, there is an expectation from each service provider that the same level of service and flexibility is offered by the cloud providers too. Dish perfectly illustrates this opportunity and demonstrates a prime example of how to achieve this successfully. It is actually our turn to learn a lesson.

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