The Retrofuturist Chronicles: Dog Gone
Telco Best Practices for Thriving in an Unpredictable Era

A lost dog named Daedalus and the recollection of another named Hermes (this one equipped with a movie-quoting smart speaker) are the backdrop for Miranda’s and Aunt Natalie’s adventure in Episode 10. While aunt and niece are able to locate their missing canine charge the old-fashioned way, Aunt Natalie’s story shows how telco providers will play a leading role in a more innovative future for consumers and businesses.

To survive in a more volatile and competitive sector, telcos are under pressure to operate more intelligently—and to help their customers become intelligent enterprises as well. Following are some of the groundbreaking approaches they’re using to help them do both.

Putting the customer first

Today’s consumers have a wealth of communications service providers to choose from, and they have instant visibility into pricing, features, and the ratings and reviews of each provider’s existing customers. It’s difficult for a company to differentiate its offering in this more competitive market, which is why it’s so important to provide a rich, compelling, and personalized customer experience.

In today’s experience economy, companies have a shrinking window of opportunity to collect, analyze, and respond to the data customers provide on their needs and preferences. To create an actionable picture of customer activity at the speed the business demands, telcos have to combine operational data from their business systems with the experience data that tells the story of what’s happening “in the moment” for customers. By breaking down the data and functional silos within the enterprise and connecting the front office and back office, telcos can create a smooth, seamless customer experience, tailored to individual preferences and history—one that encompasses every channel, every device, and every interaction from the initial sale to ongoing support.

Achieving operational excellence

As the telco services market becomes more competitive, providers also battle downward pressure on margins. At the same time, many face the prospect of huge capital investments related to 5G deployment. To help them strengthen their competitive standing and continue to innovate, the sector’s leaders are turning to advanced technologies such as Big Data analytics, blockchain, and robotic process automation to drive efficiencies in core processes, from network operations to customer engagement to accounting and reporting to talent acquisition and retention.

One key area undergoing a fundamental transformation is the asset management lifecycle. Advanced technologies such as IoT can provide end-to-end real-time visibility of workforces, equipment, network sites, spare parts, cables, equipment providers, maintenance contractors, tower owners — the list is almost endless. This consolidated, comprehensive view delivers new insights into financial performance data (such as profit per antenna) to help squeeze out inefficiencies and identify potential trouble areas before they drive up costs.

Diversifying the revenue stream

There’s no escaping the fact that core communications services are now a commodity. So, the sector’s top innovators are diversifying their revenue streams by adding new capabilities to their service portfolios. Many are developing new lines of business as digital life providers, data brokers, digital transformation enablers, and cloud service providers. This often means expanding through mergers and acquisitions to reach into new markets and geographies. It also means having the flexible digital infrastructure to adopt, support, and retain new digital partners and their innovations, while opening up telcos’ own strengths and capabilities to a broader partner ecosystem.

Building intelligent connectivity

With 5G, telcos will invest billions to expand their infrastructure. But the resulting intelligent connectivity provided will help telcos become intelligent enterprises and give them the capabilities to help B2B clients achieve the same transformation. Their networks will become smarter, more virtual, and approach near-zero latency, and they’ll capitalize on new technologies to better anticipate congestion, predict failures, and possibly self-heal. Telcos will also extend the value of intelligent connectivity through edge computing with distributed processing functions, and they’ll transform their business models to make use of next-generation capabilities such as network slicing—enabling on-demand services and B2B2X models with open marketplace and agile monetization capabilities.

Visit for more on how SAP can help you capitalize on the innovations that are breaking new ground in telecommunications. You can also take our self-assessment to see how far you’ve progressed on your journey toward becoming an intelligent enterprise.