Saturday, 28 November 2020

“Simplify before you digitise,” says UPC’s Urs Reinhard

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Wednesday 28 October 20

STL Partner’s Research Director, Andrew Collinson, had a chance to speak to UPC Switzerland’s Chief of Digital, Urs Reinhard, on the topic of digital transformation at this year’s Total Telecom Congress

There was a period, not so long ago, when telcos had dreams of becoming global IT firms to rival the Googles of this world, but these ambitions slowly faded when the true scale of such a task became apparent. Even with the emergence of 5G, which offers a vast increase in the range of services telcos will be able to offer, telcos ultimately still operate in a different playing field to these international internet behemoths…

There was a period, not so long ago, when telcos had dreams of becoming global IT firms to rival the Googles of this world, but these ambitions slowly faded when the true scale of such a task became apparent. Even with the emergence of 5G, which offers a vast increase in the range of services telcos will be able to offer, telcos ultimately still operate in a different playing field to these international internet behemoths. 

“Telcos are national giants, but they are not made for the global platform play,” explained Reinhard, responding to Collinson’s questions regarding digital transformation in the telco space.

But despite their differing roles in the digital ecosystem, telcos can still learn a lot from the hyperscalers, especially, as Reinhard states, when it comes to simplicity.

“You first need to simplify before you digitise,” says Reinhard. “If you digitise a crappy process, you just get a digital crappy process. What we should learn from the really digital native players is that they are super simple – their product, the way they interact, their proposition, are extremely simple. Netflix has one product with three colours – basic, standard, and premium. With us, even just on the TV side, you can have something like 30 different packages. That’s why it’s so difficult to play in the digital world where customers are used to having a two-click solution for everything that matters.”