The communications experience reimagined
The communications industry has been suffering from stalled growth, lack of differentiation and risk of commoditization for years, but there are now signs that a new dawn has broken.
In 2020, just when we needed them most, CSPs delivered. Now, by reliably keeping us connected to the services, people and content we need and love most, they are renewing trust and building relevance every day.
Today, CSPs have the opportunity to build on this momentum and leverage their unique strengths to deliver even more for people, small- and medium-sized business owners (SMBs) and society at large.
Now is the time to step up and reimagine the communications experience. This means organizing the whole business around the delivery of exceptional experiences and rewiring the customer-facing functions of the organization: marketing, commerce, sales and service. This allows organizations to become customer-obsessed and reignite growth.
We see three opportunity areas for experience reimagination in connectivity.
The first is aimed at supporting SMBs in today’s digitally accelerated reality. The second is about enabling people to make the most of their new, multipurpose lives in their homes. The third is about how strong foundations can become a greater force for good.
1. A whole new (small business) world
2. The great home reset
3. Connectivity for good
Connectivity is dead, long live
For some time, consumers’ liquid expectations combined with rapid advances in artificial intelligence, cloud and 5G technology have been forcing CSPs to choose between two future business models: the ultimate, most efficient role for individuals, businesses and society at large or transformation into a new growth business built on less regulated digital services.
But with the raised demands and expectations caused by Covid-19, CSPs have realized they may have the potential to do both—and faster than anticipated.
Consumers are adapting their lives around a new home-based reality—36% expect to work at home more in the future than they have in the past, while one in five expect to purchase home electronics as a result of Covid-19.1
Their content consumption has skyrocketed, and they are looking for new ways to connect with each other virtually, and not just during the pandemic crisis. More than 50% of consumers expect to maintain increased content consumption post-Covid, and 74% expect to continue to connect with friends and family virtually.2
Connectivity is not optional—90% of consumers think home broadband is important and 68% think it is more important now than before the crisis. Working and living from home is becoming a way of life, and connectivity is the most critical component of that lifestyle.3
While many digital companies have developed a reputation for playing fast and loose with customer data, CSPs remain trusted stewards of their customers’ lives—62% of consumers trust their CSPs for their data security and 46% thought their CSP’s response to the crisis was above expectations.4
After years of invisibility, CSPs have had a chance to shine and prove they fulfill a critical role in our everyday lives. And with our homes becoming our everything, their legacy presence and reliability can be a competitive advantage against the tech companies.
Further, SMBs are realizing that CSPs could be a trusted growth partner. Meanwhile, at a societal level, there’s an opportunity to partner with the public and private sector to end the digital divide.
The time has come for CSPs to wake up and take advantage of these underlying trends, to fully embrace experience reimagination, and to boldly redefine connectivity to give it a new lease on life. This is a golden opportunity to reposition themselves away from being perceived as just a connectivity supplier to playing a more comprehensive role in society’s future economic prosperity and wellbeing.
Reduced mobility has fueled record demands for connectivity as our homes have become the center of people’s work, study and personal lives. There is a need for connectivity services to adapt to new multipurpose spaces and experiences at home. CSPs can respond by offering a more tailored approach that knows when to dial up or dial down our needs of comfort, safety and control.
More happening inside our homes has had a direct impact on SMB owners, too. In order to survive, they have to radically change their ways of doing business. But most SMBs aren’t experts in tech. For many, ecommerce, digital marketing, cloud or security solutions are overwhelming and confusing. There is a desperate need for simple, tailored services and advice they can trust.
Despite today’s unanimous recognition5 that connectivity is essential for economic prosperity and physical wellbeing, a digital divide still exists. There is a clear opportunity for CSPs to show the way by reimagining access and services in the connectivity domain at a time when customers and employees expect businesses to lead on sustainability and purpose.
Stalled growth and commoditization of connectivity, intensified competition from adjacent industries and evidence of partnership driven growth beyond connectivity are forcing CSPs to face the stark need for a more complete business model reinvention.
The search for value points CSPs towards growth-driving platform business models and the B2B market—the SMB market, especially where there’s plenty of untapped potential, particularly in providing digital and IT services.6
Activating new paths to growth in a disrupted communications landscape is driving CSPs to have a more outside-in perspective, embracing partnerships and looking at how to reinvent their own skills and talent.
Unleashing human growth potential through connectivity
Disruptive forces are at play in the industry, creating the opportunity for new sources of growth for connectivity providers. The potential is real and could be exponential, but can only be unlocked if CSPs make radical, systemic changes to how they think, operate, and engage with their customers.
We see three overarching mindset and operational shifts that need to be embraced for experience reimagination to happen, regardless of which business model or growth segment they choose to prioritize.
From tech-first to human-first
Growth is expected to stem from a more platform and digital services driven strategy. As CSPs continue their digital transformations, the key to winning is doing it while maintaining a human first mindset in place.
CSPs’ advantage versus the big tech players is their existing customer intimacy and access to first party customer data. They need to leverage this and keep fueling a culture that is customer obsessed. Kill the tech jargon and make every experience simple and intuitive. Use this human-first mindset and insight to inform every aspect of their go to market strategies.
From one size fits all to more modular, flexible solutions
The multi-purposing of our homes has impacted all of us, especially SMBs. As a result, services are needed that are more adaptable to our constantly shifting context and needs. People already expect and receive from other industries services and support tailored to their needs and delivered on their preferred channel in a seamless, intuitive way. This now must become CSPs’ new normal.
From a connector of people and services to an enabler of economic prosperity and wellbeing
Ultimately, even greater opportunity lies in shifting the focus away from legacy connectivity services and products towards what connectivity can enable individuals and communities to achieve more broadly in life. By opening up to partnerships, ecosystems and bringing more of the outside in, CSPs can fulfill a more purposeful role in not only keeping us connected, but also helping us grow as a more connected society.
Organizations that set a high ambition level for human experience and embrace meaningful innovation will grow and sustain their mission while leading a positive shift in the communications industry.
Communications and media capabilities
Reimagining business through experience