It is great working at a software company that has the privilege of working with some of the largest operators in the world. Working with these companies gives us first hand exposure to confirm our own approach to the markets we serve, to experience the way that operators work internally, and understand how their own executives perceive the market changes that are challenging the operator community around the world.
We have seen that almost all of them are focused on digital transformation plans for their B2C businesses. Which makes sense, as they are continually experiencing significant competitive threats from over the top (OTT) players. Analysys Mason recently forecasted a 10% reduction in the volume of voice calls in Western Europe between 2016 and 2021, largely driven by substitution to WhatsApp. And that’s just in the consumer voice area. Operators know that time isn’t on their side as they try to manage the significant challenges in front of them, and they must respond to this while at the same time striving to create happier, more loyal users.
We also know that many operators are experiencing the same challenges in their B2B businesses as well. In fact, in most cases, the need is even stronger in this sector of their business:
- The consumer side of a telecom operator continues to grow at about 0.6% annually, while their B2B business could grow at 2.6% annually or more, as they address the growing needs of small to medium size business customers and larger enterprises looking to outsource IT Services and add more mobile data offerings.
- The B2B side of a telecom operator has often been constructed using a custom technology stack, where each offering has been heavily customized to each business customer. This makes it very difficult (and expensive) to rapidly change or react to competitive offerings in the marketplace.
One of the reasons our company focuses on the B2B space for operators as well is we have seen that many of the requirements of our customers in the B2C space are really not that different than in the B2B space. The paradigms are actually quite similar, although the naming conventions in some cases may be different. Digitally onboarding a consumer to a new service is really not that different to digitally onboarding a new service for a B2B customer. The processes to manage entitlements across multiple services (in this case B2B services) are also similar, and in terms of group management, members of a family in the B2C space simply become members of a department or business location in the B2B space, with the same ability to share, delegate, and personalize. Single sign on across any number of B2B services is important in the B2B space as well, providing federated service access across any number of core or cloud business services for which the customer may have signed up for.
Importantly, from a B2B profitability perspective, the operator gains the ability to standardize on digital identity based processes across their entire customer base, making it considerably easier to manage, easier to launch new B2B product offerings, and finally start to realize some of the savings already being seen on the consumer side (like increased self-care, lowering the usage of expensive call centre resources), and creating happier users in the process.
Our approach in the B2B marketplace for operators has already demonstrated an extremely timely solution for large operators as they start to re-aim their digital transformation activities to include the B2B side of things. In this past year we’ve learned just how big the opportunity is for global operators, and from a corporate perspective it remains a significant business priority for them. In our B2B deployments our customers are looking forward to alleviating some of their competitive challenges and we look forward to enabling the kind of growth they’re expecting to see in this area in 2017 and beyond. Looks like digital identity could enable the growth nugget that has been hiding in their B2B businesses all these years.