MEA telcos on the backfoot for digital transformation

MEA telcos on the backfoot for digital transformation

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They may be supporting the digitalisation of a region with 1.4 billion people, but telcos in the Middle East and Africa are not strategising their own digital transformation.

In fact fewer than 30% of the region's telcos have a digital transformation roadmap in place, but in LATAM and Europe 70% of telcos have established roadmaps, while in the Asia-Pacific region, the figure climbs to more than 80% of telcos.

The figures are taken from a report by the Technology Innovation Council commissioned by Upstream. It concluded that only 55% of telcos in the Middle East and Africa have carried out a technology needs assessment, one of the crucial steps in building a roadmap toward a digital-centric future.

More than two-thirds of telco operators in the Middle East and Africa have no data management strategy in place. Which the report said suggests that "even they had the means and infrastructure to innovate digitally, they may inadvertently put their customers’ data at risk and struggle to retain consumer trust".

Upstream CEO, Dimitris Maniatis, said: “Telcos in emerging markets like the Middle East and Africa are least prepared for digital innovation, yet arguably the ones that could benefit most.

"Since the pandemic began, telcos in the region have had to work overtime to ensure that communities stay connected, but being so dependent on physical sales channels has made engaging with customers more difficult than ever before. By accelerating their plans for digitalization and, crucially, putting an achievable roadmap in place to hit their digitalization goals, telcos in the region could dramatically enhance customer engagement and reduce their costs through automation and self-service.”

On the necessary talent acquisition, the report stated that only one in three MEA telco operators have performed any kind of IT skills assessment.

However, telcos are prepared to invest in the migration to digital sales channels. Eight in 10 telco operators surveyed in the region ranked ‘automation’ and ‘improved customer experience’ as top drivers for digital innovation.

Despite the huge precedent for digital sales, more than one-third of telcos in the Middle East and Africa are still at least 70% dependent on physical channels when it comes to engaging customers and facilitating sales.



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