4 Takeaways for Telcos from DTW23

 

From communication service providers (CSPs) and software vendors to hyperscalers and start-ups, TM Forum’s Digital Transformation World (DTW) 2023 brought over 3,000 industry experts together to explore the future of telecom.

The collective dialogue centered on innovation at a time of rapid industry change, from navigating complex partner ecosystems to harnessing the potential of AI. Speakers highlighted the need for aggressive experimentation and a willingness to embrace the concept of “failing fast” as part of the learning process—unfamiliar territory for many in the field.

DTW’s theme was “Ignite,” reminding CSPs that the future belongs to those who are willing to evolve with it. Here are our key takeaways from the event.

1. AI at scale will transform telecom

As a dedicated content track at the conference, ”AI at scale” was a hot topic across the board. Even outside of discussions explicitly centered on AI,he subject made its way into almost every session at DTW.

Operators spoke of putting AI at the center of sales and customer experience, as well as network operations and process improvement. Use cases included everything from creating the “ultimate assistant” for customer-facing employees,o creating network slices and providing field technicians with all the data they need to work more efficiently than ever.

High-level leadership emerged as a pivotal driver for AI success. Industry leaders underscored the importance of CEO-driven AI strategies seamlessly aligning with core business objectives, making AI an integral part of organizational strategy. Speakers suggested that a strong AI strategy set from the top would encourage AI innovation across the organization, from marketing to HR and finance.

TM Forum CEO Nik Willets also noted that today’s AI conversation is somewhat reminiscent of the cloud-native conversation around a decade ago. At that time, most of the discussion was focused on the technology itself, which sometimes came at the expense of discussing the human aspect. He stressed that we should learn from this when we look at AI as, ultimately, it is people who will determine the path to AI success.

The collective consensus at DTW was clear: AI has transitioned from the periphery to the core of the telecom conversation. AI’s transformative potential in the telecom sector is no longer a future vision; it’s becoming an exciting and tangible reality.

2. CSPs are utilizing partner ecosystems and monetizing the B2B2X opportunity

In a dynamic panel discussion on monetizing the B2B2X opportunity, industry leaders explored strategies for tapping into new revenue streams through strategic partnerships and agile business models.

The central question that emerged for CSPs: What business model are we going to be performing? CSPs may be monetizing directly, or empowering enterprise customers to leverage the operators’ capabilities. James Kirby, SVP, Global Telco at CSG, made the point that, when it comes to capturing new revenue streams,here is no one-size-fits-all.

Ensuring go-to-market efficiency is essential. While operators focus on new services,hey must also build the necessary capacity for seamless delivery. Interfaces, for example, are pivotal, making it essential for operators to streamline partner collaboration. Simplifying the process of listing products and providing valuable insights to partners can drive success. Similarly, agility resulting from catalog-driven approaches is crucial for rapid product deployment and real-time adaptation to customer demands.

Co-creation with partners, exploration of different market verticals, and strategic agility are key to success in the evolving B2B2X landscape. Telcos must be adaptable and forward-thinking to thrive in this dynamic environment.

3. Don’t forget the fundamentals: Connectivity is key

Amidst the whirlwind of discussions around diversification and the ever-expanding digital landscape, one resounding message from industry experts is clear: Never underestimate the enduring importance of connectivity.

The discussions underscored that connectivity remains at the core of the telecom industry. The potential of AI, partner ecosystems and digital transformation is meaningless without the fundamentals. Ultimately, customers want fast, reliable, safe connectivity. Experts stressed that,o meet these demands effectively, CSPs must offer a variety of options, including high bandwidth, low latency and robust security.

Fundamentally, while diversification is essential, CSPs must never lose sight of the basics. Connectivity remains a vital lifeline, and understanding the diverse needs of customers in this evolving landscape is key to success.

4. To innovate and s쳮d, we must collaborate

TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA) is key to unlocking the potential of adaptability and collaboration across the telecommunications industry, simplifying integration and facilitating strong operator/partner relationships.

CSG was honored to be awarded “Ready for ODA Status” at DTW by TM Forum. CSG has always been at the forefront of adopting ODA key principles and standards, and we continue to pave the way for a more innovative, customer-centric and competitive landscape.

We were delighted to be recognized for our commitment to innovation and industry collaboration. To learn more about the importance of being Ready for ODA, check out our blog.

4 Takeaways for Telcos from DTW23