16 May 2018
| Alan Burkitt-Gray
Telecoms operators’ confidence about successfully achieving digital transformation is plummeting – partly thanks to lack of management support.
A survey by TM Forum, a trade association focused on
telecoms IT and digitisation, says only 11% of respondents to a
survey are "very optimistic" about conducting successful
transformations, compared with 22% in October 2017.
The TM Forum conducted its latest survey in the first quarter
of 2018. The organisation published the details at its Digital
Transformation World event, taking place in Nice this
Mark Newman, chief analyst at the TM Forum, said: "Our second
digital transformation tracker shows that digital
transformation extends well beyond technology itself, and
increasingly we’re seeing concerns about
organisational and cultural readiness."
The organisation told delegates in Nice that increasing
cultural and organisational obstacles are slowing down industry
progress. It reported 42% of respondents saying there is a lack
of clear aligned vision and goals in their companies, followed
closely by 40% reporting cultural and organisational issues,
and 37% saying there was a lack of top management support.
These were "very serious" barriers to transformation, said the
Despite this, over 60% of respondents have already embarked on
or are about to embark on digital transformation, says the
At the same time, telcos have different views about what they
want to transform into. Less than 20% want to remain pure
connectivity providers, while 16% want to become platform
providers, and 30% want to be full digital service providers
and another 36% partnership-led multi-play operators.
Yet only 30% of respondents thought their companies were
resistant to change. Only 10% thought they were risk-taking and
11% thought they were agile and diverse.
The TM Forum sharply pointed out: "Without being clear on the
direction and the necessary steps each company must take
– whether in terms of increased efficiency or
full-scale business model transformation – it is
difficult to execute on transformation."
"Any change is hard to implement, and [communications service
providers] are no exception. Some identify that they are not
risk takers, and making a leap of faith into unproven revenue
streams is not easy," said Newman.
"In order to ready themselves for successful digital
transformation, operators must not only be able to articulate a
clearly defined vision for their transformation projects, but
critically they must communicate their vision throughout every
level of their organisation."
The survey included answers from 176 respondents from 105
telcos operating in 59 countries, and 91 respondents from 45
supplier companies. The full report is available from the TM