At WeDo Technologies, 2016 will be a very special year for us, as we will be celebrating our 15th anniversary in February. In addition to WeDo reaching this milestone, we believe it will also be a memorable year for the Telecoms Industry!
So, with 2015 now wrapped up, I’ve taken a look back at some of last year’s key developments and shared my insights for the year ahead:
The rise of the Enterprise Business as a key segment within telecoms
With 2015 behind us, one of the biggest industry developments we have noticed has been the rise of the enterprise market within telecoms. Today, telecoms operators are much more than just consumer businesses. With SMEs and large private and public corporations facing a number of increasingly complex ICT needs, we are now seeing a trend for operators to move towards the enterprise business, as this segment is growing faster and is more profitable, more sustainable and much more prone to successful ecosystem partnerships, where the CSPs can be, and are, the natural leading player.
The growing social role of Telcos
While I do not hold the gift of being able to predict the future, we are seeing a lot of social, political and economic uncertainty in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, US, Latin America and in several countries in South East Asia; the reasons are very diverse and they will not cease in 2016.
The telecoms industry plays a fundamental role in our societies and this presents operators with a huge opportunity for growth and (more importantly) for increasing their contributions towards to social, political and economic development. Telecommunications are our society’s life blood, and the industry therefore needs to embrace this role and live up to its responsibility. While this may not be a technical "development," this is THE development that I see as the most important: Telecoms operators being at the center of our societies as major contributors to world's stability and development, helping everyone to actually communicate better.
Beyond mergers and acquisitions
The number of countries where mergers and acquisitions are occurring is impressive across all continents. There isn’t a single country I have visited in 2015 that is not having some kind of merger and/or acquisition rumor, discussion or activity. Brazil, China, Egypt, Mexico, Spain, UK, USA… It’s a small sample of what is happening almost everywhere.
This is not helping the industry to be as innovative and customer-focused as it should be. Far too many CEOs and other C-level executives are not investing as much time as they could to achieve the maximum out of their teams and resources’ creative power and offer fresh, amazing and memorable experiences to their customers. This is largely because some are worried that they could be acquired, and because some others know they'll achieve a bigger bonus if they finalize a large acquisition. In other instances, it is because they are already engaged in M&A processes, with the associated initial operational entrapments. In the meantime, customers are not being served effectively. Cost cutting, cost efficiencies, scale economies and synergies can only take you so far.
This year we will have the chance to improve on this. I believe it’s a must!
Increasing emphasis on security and fraud prevention
Another key issue I expect to be on the agenda for 2016 will be security and fraud, as it’s obvious at a number of different levels that people want to feel secure. We will undoubtedly therefore see more developments in the security and fraud protection fields – both cyber and not. Freedom and security is a tough balance to achieve, but it is a fact that the above trends also create huge opportunities for wrong-doing. Can Telecom operators become a trusted provider in these areas too?
Digitalization, Omni-Channel and IOT across all industries
Some key cross-industry trends likely to gain momentum in 2016 include the growth of digitalization within all industries, omni-channel customer experience and the Internet of Things (IoT). The impressive thing is that these trends leverage themselves and create more interest for consumers. What Salim Ismail and Yuri Van Geest have described as Exponential Organizations in their recent book is just around the corner! Any companies embracing these trends can expect to grow at a substantial pace. However, the important thing to understand about running a business is that every large company needs to communicate in- store, as well as on the phone, in call centers and across social media channels. Communication is key, but making sure that these functionalities are integrated is a huge challenge for many businesses.
Many of us believe that the IoT will be a key topic in 2016, and as mobile device penetration rises, there will be more pressure on operators to compete for market share and new market models. The quantity and quality of the data to be generated, collected and processed in many different contexts by the IoT will disrupt many sectors and will be a game changer.
2016 may also see huge transformation and disruption within the banking sector. In Sub-Saharan Africa, where 80 per cent of the population is without access to formal or semi-formal financial services, the Telecoms sector provided an innovative solution in the form of mobile money to address the huge market need. Similarly, I personally feel that we could see the emergence of a new type of bank to meet the requirements of those in more financially mature markets who don’t have enough funds to risk buying shares or making other investments besides a savings account, but who are tired of keeping their money in banks they do not trust or like. I feel it could be a real possibility that a proposition is created to meet this consumer demand; will we then see telecoms operators innovate once again, this time in more financially mature markets? Will we be introduced to a cross-border TelcoBank or MobileBank?
Adopting an Enterprise Business Assurance approach
With these disruptive business trends, combined with the uncertainty in the world that we are living in, we see huge potential in what we call Enterprise Business Assurance, which is, for us at WeDo Technologies, using all of the internal and external data being produced in and around your business to be able to make real time decisions that impact your bottom line. Creating business disruption without disrupting the business presents huge opportunities. If you are creating business disruption, you are also increasing the chances of losing some money. Being able to keep track of your disrupted business in real time is of the essence! You can actually track the bigger overall picture. This is something that is easy and straightforward to implement, and can be done in 2016. ! If you find this interesting, it is in fact a good way to start the year. Let’s meet and speak about it!
Two personal wishes
A big part of the world will come together to watch two events in 2016: the European Football Championship and the Summer Olympics. More than predictions, I just have two wishes: let Portugal win the cup and let Rio de Janeiro show the world how wonderful it is!
I will probably continue to travel a lot in 2016, so I hope to get the chance to meet many of you in person. We can start already on the 27th and 28th of January in Malaysia, where we will be organizing our first conference in Asia in Kuala Lumpur. But if you need a good excuse to visit WeDo Technologies HQ and share more experiences and perspectives (and network), May is always a good time to do it during our Worldwide User Group and Summit! With the level of uncertainty the world is facing everyone is looking to focus on two things: meaningful relationships and experiences. We certainly are!