The enterprise market is increasingly complex with almost every business at a different stage of digital transformation, with a different set of goals and challenges. Yet, what they all have in common is that they are looking to harness the power of the cloud, mobility, and unified communications and collaboration to facilitate this transformation. They are also looking for their service providers and cloud partners to step up and help them make transformation a success. This goes far beyond just selling a product and connecting enterprises from A to B. It is about adapting to the CIO’s true needs and helping them to deliver and sell business cases to multiple stakeholders, including not only the rest of senior management but also procurement, marketing, finance and legal – all of which have their own priorities too. To succeed, service providers and cloud companies need to build deeper customer relationships that are focused on longer term outcomes instead of just quick wins or cost savings.
While enterprises might be in different stages of digital transformation, I see four key business challenges that they look to address through technology. It’s in these four areas where service providers and cloud companies need to build their capabilities around to be able to establish deeper, longer term – and more profitable – customer relationships.
Drive growth across geographic borders: The cloud has lowered the barriers for enterprises to expand into new markets with ease, and to launch new services with less risk and CAPEX. This means that service providers and cloud players need to be able to stretch easily across borders depending on their customers’ needs, giving employees ubiquitous access to enterprise data and applications through Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services or Google Cloud Platform, for example. Instead of investing in their own network infrastructure and services in different high-growth emerging markets, for example, which requires a lot of investment and takes a lot of time, they should find partners with capabilities in these geographies already. This enables them to go where their customers need to go and generate new revenue streams in an agile manner.
Boost productivity and efficiency: In many enterprises, the start of the digital transformation journey can be traced back to the adoption of BYOD many years ago. The ambition was to empower employees to be more productive and foster a more flexible work culture. Now, many of these companies want to give their employees another productivity boost through the clouds of Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform, as well as unified communications and collaboration as-a-service (UCaaS) solutions, such as Cisco Webex and Skype for Business. While it might seem like just a mix of IM, email, voice and video, UCaaS represents a massive shift in not only back-end systems, but also how people work together day-to-day. This stage of digital transformation requires a step-by-step, modular approach to ensure employee buy-in and minimise disruption to the business, so service providers have the opportunity to become real trusted partners for enterprises.
Enhance customer experience and engagement: In this always-connected world, social-media-savvy, mobile consumers associate a brand with the digital experience that the brand offers them. That is why adopting an omni-channel customer experience strategy is crucial for meeting these digital consumers’ expectations and supporting the long term success of the enterprise. For example, we have recently deployed a cloud-based contact centre solution for a global consulting business to empower its hundreds of thousands of associates to deliver smoother customer experiences worldwide. By partnering with a company that has expertise in areas such as cloud based mobile APIs or AI-enabled contact centre services, service providers can offer these seamless omni-channel experiences for their customers and help them increase customer awareness and loyalty.
Manage business risk: Finally, as news of cyber-attacks and data security breaches hit the headlines on a weekly basis, every CIO wonders if their business might be next to be hit – and how they can best protect themselves. At Tata Communications, we have seen time and time again that when enterprises are certain that they have a secure IT and network environment, they can adopt new cloud-based solutions and roll out new services with confidence. Yet, keeping up with cyber-criminals is easier said than done for service providers that offer a range of other services too. That is why their best bet is to tap into the expertise of a partner whose services they can offer to customers on a white label or sell-with basis. This enables them to secure their customers’ data and applications against external threats while growing revenues through a new portfolio of security services.
The success of service providers and cloud companies – and the success of their customers – is rooted in these four things in a market that is changing at breakneck speed. Their ability to address these challenges for their customers through the right technology solutions is key to their competitiveness. Otherwise, they risk being left behind or made irrelevant by competitors that are more responsive to customer needs.
Through the right partnerships, service providers and cloud companies can become true digital transformation partners for their customers and empower them to expand to new geographies, boost their productivity, safeguard their business against threats, and take customer experiences to the next level.
Tata Communications will be at ITW in Chicago this week. Come say hi and hear more about how we can help you address the rapidly evolving digital needs of global enterprises.