Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Culture: The biggest barrier to digital transformation

Chris Kelly
Sunday 13 October 19

Total Telecom will launch the Culture Change Award at this year's World Communication Awards in London

As operator around the world rush to deploy their fledgling 5G mobile networks, digital transformation remains one of the industry's hot topics. The technology demands it, and those operators who are to profit most from their next generation networks will be the ones who invest in digital transformation. But what good is digital transformation, if your workforce is stuck in a manual, process driven mindset? With this in mind Total Telecom has launched the Culture Change Award, in association with Zenith Choice…

As operator around the world rush to deploy their fledgling 5G mobile networks, digital transformation remains one of the industry's hot topics. The technology demands it, and those operators who are to profit most from their next generation networks will be the ones who invest in digital transformation.

But what good is digital transformation, if your workforce is stuck in a manual, process driven mindset?

With this in mind Total Telecom has launched the Culture Change Award, in association with Zenith Choice, at this year's World Communication Awards.  The award showcases those companies who have committed to changing their workplace culture, enabling them to affect digital transformation.

"Cultural transformation remains the basis for digital transformation. One enables the other," said Janet Watkins, managing director of Zenith Choice.

"There is massive interest among telcos in digital transformation – they are the first two words on most of their lips."

Watkins believes that the biggest barrier to enabling companies to effectively embark upon their digital transformation journey is culture.

"What we realised is that it is a difficult thing to measure and to quantify. How do you measure something that is so broadly defined and emotional?   

In order to quantify cultural transformation, the judges took their lead from the world of evolutionary biology.

"We came up with the idea of using a coefficient, the Zenith Choice Coefficient, which is similar to what would be used in evolutionary biology. In the natural world, it is used to understand and measure how different species evolve strategies for cooperating in an effective way. We realised that the same principals could be used to look at the big goal that service providers have, which is to be seen as a trusted partner in a company's digital transformation.

 

"By applying an algorithm to the data that we collect, we were able to express that as a single number, using that Digital Zenith Coefficient. If the score is above 100, then you can see that you are evolving into a cooperative culture, you are becoming a trusted partner in the digital transformation process," she added.  

 

Telcos are on board but don't know how to affect change

Telcos are undoubtedly aware that they need to evolve their working culture if they are to become more than mere purveyors of dumb pipes. Speaking at an industry event in London last week, BT's chief executive officer said that his company wanted to become "so much more than just another communications provider". Jansen is by no means alone on this front – with Nick Read having similar aspirations for Vodafone in the wake of their recent European acquisitions. In short, telcos know that they need to change.   

"Telcos absolutely recognise the critical importance of cultural change but they don't know how to affect it. They are all talking about transformation and they are all selling the idea of transformation in the era of 5G and SD WAN. They are completely committed to that transformation internally, so that they can then offer transformational services to their multinational clients. They all know that to engender customer loyalty, they have to deliver exceptional levels of service," Watkins said.  

"Whichever market sector you are in, putting the customer at the heart of what you do is a very difficult thing to achieve. There is a lot of work going on and we've seen some moderate successes but there is still a long way to go on the journey. It's worth pointing out that cultural transformation is an ongoing evolution, so it’s a never-ending process. The question is: during that evolution, are you reaching your key milestones and becoming stronger as an organisation?"

 

Total Telecom will reveal the winner of the Culture Change Award at the World Communication Awards 2019. Held on the 30th of October 2019, the awards will recognise innovation and achievement across the full breadth of the telecommunications value chain.

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