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Reflections from an engagement workshop in Nice

So came the time for the Digital Transformation World 2019. As usual there was a lot of exiting things to see and Ericsson was there in full force. With the team I was there to drive this years workshop on digital engagement And the outcome was great, so great that I felt like I should share some of my reflections

Digital engagement workshop
Category, topic & hashtags

The agenda was packed, and you could find everything from talks and proof points around orchestration and AI, to customer experience and how to leverage digital services. One common theme that was visible throughout the event was how the majority of these topics could leverage 5G. All in all, there were lots of interesting things to join and see. 

I was there to explore the event together with my Ericsson colleagues, but I also went to lead this year’s Ericsson workshop. With support from TMforum, Ericsson had arranged a workshop around digital engagement. The workshop included a good mix of crowd, we had participants from Tier 1 Telcos, as well as smaller, upcoming players in the market. Many delegates had key positions: we had C-level attendees, Directors, Heads and Managers. With such an interesting crowd joining, and a workshop exploring an area that is under the radar for many CSPs, I wanted to take a moment to share my reflections from the workshop.

 

Background and the agenda

Considering the ongoing challenges that telcos face, such as competitors OTT services or the erosion in ARPU-there is a need for them to increase digital offerings, enter new verticals and be more customer centric. We can all agree that digital transformation and creating digital engagement is currently highly prioritized by CSPs and is part of their strategic objectives.

Based on this background, our workshop was centered around giving delegates a sense of awareness on the current challenges, drivers, threats and opportunities that exist in the market, and offering a view on the current trends within digital engagement. We also had a visit from a prominent analyst to emphasize the industry perspective. Larry Goldman, Head of Networks and software research and senior Analyst at Analysys Mason, provided his view on this matter. Here he is sharing his reflections.  

 

The core of the workshop was to engage our delegates and provide an activity where we could all learn from each other. We came up with an exercise that they could all participate in.  The participants were given a problem statement and needed to come up with a proposal of an action plan to solve it. One of the steps was to pinpoint the challenges, drivers, threats and opportunities from their point of view. To move out of a traditional, business-oriented mindset, we also asked delegates to think outside their comfort zone by applying different personas in their thinking as they were trying to find a solution. They applied the Logical, Creative and Optimistic persona. Applying personas was a way to expand their views on potential solutions and initiate further discussion points. The last step was to come up with an action plan as a solution to tackle the problem statement.

Finally, we wanted to give Ericsson’s view on a future perspective we believe digital engagement could be heading towards with regards to digital transformation and BSS-related technology. One of the things we managed to showcase here was Real time campaign offering that was triggered by AI. Customer intelligence in the system built by AI that could allow you to do intelligent segmentation and churn prediction based on what was measure. The second proof point included AI and a chatbot concept where a product was purchased via the chatbot without manual procedure. I believe both examples truly showed a futuristic perspective of what to expect and parts of what you can do as a future digital service provider.

 The exercise our participants were working on, was of particular interest for me at this year’s DTW. It’s always good to look at the end results of these exercises, to see commonalities and differences from the customer’s point of view. With such a broad topic, you can expect to see differences in the action plans. But if you see commonalities, it can imply that the customers are aligning their view with regards to how the industry needs to tackle problems to achieve digital engagement. As vendors, it’s also a great way for us to see if we’re aligned with what customers have highlighted as their key problem areas, desires and interests. It’s also important to highlight that there are no wrong answers in this exercise – it’s just a great way for us to learn how CSPs are thinking.

Key takeaways

So, what did we learn? Displayed below are some of the results and commonalities regarding CSPs’ views on challenges, opportunities, drivers and threats.

SWOT

 

As a topic, digital engagement is very broad. How you chose to define it can be quite open, and will be based on your industry and business context. As a result, the output of this workshop should be both an eye opener and also something to critique for further answers and considerations. Each company will have its own business context, strategy and history, and we can therefore expect to see differences on a high industry level as well. 

One thing to take with us is that there can be a certain baseline of commonalities needed for CSPs to achieve digital engagement. One certainty is that CSPs are becoming more clear on their strategy and how they would like to run their digital transformation to achieve digital engagement. It was evident during the workshop that many participants had a good view on how to tackle this and had a strategy in place. By bringing forward their vision during this workshop, we could see that in many cases the vision they had was also a part of their own company agenda.

Here’s one of our telco delegates Mila Milenkovic from Telecom Srbija speaking about her experience and views on the workshop exercise.

 

At Ericsson, we believe in collaboration. In the workshop we experienced just that, and it was a positive moment for our delegates to get new perspectives and learn from each other. Hopefully they also gave each other some valuable thoughts and insights. I truly believe that we need more of these engagements between CSPs and more collaboration in order to have a concrete plan and a clear strategy to build digital engagement!

 

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