5G: How Telecom Can Adapt (Part Two)  

Much like Generation Z’s entry to the workplace, 5G will undoubtedly be disruptive both within telecom and the wider world of business. In the last installment of our series, we shed light on 5G and pointed out the key ways in which this technology will require telecom to change their ways of working to thrive in a new 5G paradigm.  Telecom companies can no longer operate as they previously did.  They will need to change their approach to product development, sales, go-to-market, and even customer support.

  1. Become more agile. The shift will enable telecom providers to get real feedback, on real products, from real users as quickly as possible, providing the customer with what they actually want and not what they think they do. This must be agility at an enterprise level, not just in small pockets. Its success relies upon ensuring a behavioural change is instilled alongside the implementation of the new tools and processes.

  2. Harvest a culture of creativity and innovation. For organisations to truly embrace agility, they need to transform culture. This will not happen unless people are incentivised and rewarded for demonstrating the new ways of working. As discussed, 5G will redefine traditional product silos, so companies should consider restructuring KPIs to align to a more holistic customer journey. More importantly, organisations must shift their perspective to that of the customer. The days of “if we build it, they will come” are long gone. Customers will not be willing to pay the higher price of 5G unless they see a reason to do so – so innovating to yield new sources of value is critical.

  3. Build new cross-functional alliances. As we discussed, companies must break free of siloed product mindsets to create seamless experiences and new sources of value for customers. To get there, telecom companies should be focused on optimising the back-end by getting customers online faster, reducing billing issues, promoting self-install capabilities, and creating more robust channels for self-help. To create more agile and responsive back-end functionality, existing collaboration approaches and governance forums may no longer be fit for purpose, requiring new modes of collaboration across the organisation. For example, a technology-led change driven by IT, decoupled from the customer insights that Marketing can bring may lead to missed opportunities. This would require building new cross-functional touch points, communication channels allowing visibility and information sharing, and governance forums that enable agile ways of working and quick decision-making. All this needs to be facilitated by dedicated programme management and aligned to the wider enterprise strategy.


The known amongst unknowns

There is still a lot of speculation around the impact of 5G. But there are some basic questions that will dictate how your company will fare with the advent of this new technology:


  • Are you set up for proactive innovation yet reactive to change?

  • Are your people incentivised to be creative and push the boundaries?

  • Does your operating model support rapid speed to market?

  • As organisations work through these questions, what we do know is that telecom companies must be nimble in adapting and delivering their products to market.  Adopting agile ways of working at scale and breaking down traditional functional barriers require a cultural shift and widespread behavioural change. The effort needed to achieve a change mindset that is deeply ingrained in people and processes should not be underestimated.  Our cross-capability teams at North Highland work closely together to ensure that human-centered thinking is at heart of our client’s transformations whilst implementing solutions tailor-made to each unique situation.


Click here to read part one of our series.