MWC17: digital transformation takes centre stage. Thoughts?

Written by on March 6, 2017 in Guest Blog with 0 Comments

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Has Digital Transformation finally come of age? In a surprise twist, digital transformation took the top spot at this year’s Mobile World Congress. The usual suspects, the big handset vendors just couldn’t make an impact this year. With Samsung still reeling, LG and Huawei were left (here) to plug the gap, but the shine just wasn’t there.

Digital Transformation, however, was the showstopper this year. Operators from Telefonica to Ooredoo, Orange to Vimplecom.  Vendors galore – Ericsson, NEC, Huawei, ZTE, SAP and the likes of Accenture….

So why was Digital Transformation so popular?  What does it mean. It has a similar attraction/detraction to the MWC17 theme – “The Next Element”.  What does that mean?  Everything and nothing. Innovation, possibilities, growth, the future. People use the Digital Transformation term to cover everything from 5G to IoT, VR to Customer XP, BSS/OSS to Engagement, and the list goes on.

While some people are not big fans of such amorphic adjectives (Mr. B springs to mind), I think it’s a breath of fresh air for an industry in desperate need of some creativity, imagination and yes, transformation.

The Old World (Halls 1-7) versus the New Order (Hall 8.1)

If you were at MWC this year, and like many old timers you spent your time plodding between halls 1-7, you missed the “new order” up in Hall 8.1.  Hall 8.1, the App Planet, that’s where MWC’s equivalent of Digital Natives hang out. Those folks up there don’t need a Digital Transformation, they were born digital. Back in the old world (Halls 1-7) you have the multitudes of operators wanting to be Facebook, Google, Amazon, AirBnB, Uber, etc…  and the vendors lining up to facilitate their digital transformation.

The big question is, can operators (and their vendors) really rise to the digital telco challenge? If this turns out to be just another marketing tagline, then I must (begrudgingly, of course) agree with the disruptive Mr. B.  However, if we can envisage a world without halls, a single integrated, cohesive ecosystem, then digital transformation could become a journey into something very real.

This article was first published on Pricing Data Plans.

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .


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