1.   Connect the dots

There are three key pillars to a successful digital transformation journey — network evolution, digital business and customer experience. By ensuring that your transformation efforts encompass all three pillars in a holistic way, you will be able to connect, monetise, and engage your customers to create new digital experiences. For example, video optimisation in the network will improve the monetisation of video content as well as the customer’s video experience. End-to-end security, policy, customer data management and analytics across all three pillars can bring the digital experience to a whole new level.

2.   Integrate. Integrate. Integrate.

Integrated cloud and communications infrastructure, platforms, and services with service-based architectures and open application programming interfaces are essential as more people, devices, and ‘things’ connect, communicate, and transact with each other. This requires that you simplify, virtualise, automate, and integrate network functions and IT operational processes in an on-premise, public, private or hybrid cloud environment. It also requires security at every layer — from data center, silicon chip, database, network, application — to complete monitoring and self-remediation against security policies.

And finally, it requires integration of enterprise resource planning, customer experience, and IoT platforms with monetisation and communications applications to connect your entire business — people, processes, and things — to deliver successful digital services.

3.   Provide a complete concept-to-cash-to-care customer experience

Successful digital organizations put customer experience at the center of every process and operation in their digital transformation journey. They deliver a personalised, contextual and meaningful experience to customers across the entire customer engagement lifecycle, from concept-to-cash-to care. This requires a 360-degree view of what each customer is experiencing, which can be achieved by collecting, analysing and acting on data at every touch point — from network nodes to mobile apps to social media to self-service to contact centers.

By engaging customers on the right channel at the right time, having access to contextual customer data and insights, and quickly resolving customer issues, empowered associates can deliver meaningful and proactive engagement for a better customer experience. Cloud-based customer experience solutions with integrated monetization capabilities will ensure the smooth on-boarding of new customers, with the ability to create, rate, bill, invoice and report on new digital service offers.

4.   Deliver innovative digital services

Innovation is critical in designing digital services. This can mean providing an all-digital service or a product-as-a-service enabled by digital channels. Either way, the flexibility to design innovative offers that provide customers with choices in how to pay for and consume services is key — whether it’s a recurring subscription, consumption-based pricing, pay-as-you-go charging, freemium pricing, cross-product discounts, bundling services together in different combinations, or charging based on creative metrics. The name of the game is having the flexibility to evolve quickly as market conditions change. Predictive analytics that take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), social listening, and big data can help service providers and enterprises present compelling offers based on past behaviors, respond rapidly to social sentiment, and deliver real-time views of business performance.

5.   Take advantage of the latest technology innovations

Innovations such as highly scalable and reliable cloud and 4G/5G mobility infrastructure and platforms, AI, ML, biometrics, and blockchain are all part of ensuring a successful digital transformation journey. Integrated cloud and mobile network infrastructure will need to scale, store, and secure more data, more connections and more transactions.

The use of AI in everything from customer service chatbots and robotics to analytics, will allow service providers and enterprises to deliver customer experiences in ways that are both personalised and automated. ML will shift the burden from the user to the applications, which must find the right answers even if the user asks the wrong questions. It will also provide meaningful insights based on data from devices and applications. Biometrics like emotion and behaviour recognition will further personalise customer engagements. Knowing what people want to buy or how they want to be treated based on their emotions and behaviours will allow for more effective communications. And finally, blockchain technology will make value transactions like payments, sharing IoT and customer data and identity, and tracking customer purchases and billing both instantaneous and secure.

The future belongs to those organisations that can meet these top-five requirements and capture the trillions of dollars in digital transformation opportunities.