Digital transformation: To win, focus on the customer's journey

Service providers’ roadmap for digital transformation must focus on improving the customer experience

Service providers are facing competition from multiple angles, not the least of which are the webscalers, who benefit from a nimble infrastructure and a flexible operating model to offer compelling services. Many service providers, recognizing the realities of the marketplace, have embarked on the long and arduous journey of transforming their companies for the digital age. However, for companies of their size and complexity, which often have legacy systems and a siloed organization structure, transformation is far from trivial. As service providers consider their roadmap for transformation and devise their new operating model, it is essential that they make the customer the focal point that will guide their evolution strategy. Often, companies think of improving the customer experience as a series of incremental changes along the existing operational model. Such an approach will not lead to a significant improvement in the customer experience, nor to the bottom line. Service providers must think of the customer journey, or as Clayton Christensen puts it in his latest book “Competing Against Luck,” to focus on “the job to be done” for the customer. Once the company has aligned around this guiding principle, it will start to create a coordinated effort across functional entities to map out the customer journey end to end. The company will also seek to create capabilities that will enhance that journey. For example, good service will benefit from digitization, giving access across multiple touchpoints, analytics, where the company gains insight into the preferences and history of customers. The company will also recognize that its traditional service development and deployment model (traditional a waterfall model) no longer aligns with the needs of the marketplace and will create a more dynamic and flexible environment that will enable it to offer services that will meet the needs of its customers. Such efforts are still nascent in the service provider community. One example is how Comcast decided to work with its former competitors, namely Netflix and more recently Roku and YouTube, to provide the customer with a fully integrated lineup on the X1 box, thereby enhancing the customer’s experience.

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