The services of telecommunications providers have rarely been as popular as in recent weeks. While the shop doors were closed, hotel beds were empty, the theater and cinema chairs were folded up, the telephone wires glowed and online shops scraped their capacity. Even grandparents can now video conference. And the networks stopped. So all is well with the telcos? Sebastian Spicker, Sales Director, Business Service Provider at ServiceNow, would have a few ideas.
Where are telcos and internet providers in the Covid 19 pandemic?
Sebastian Spicker: First of all, we can say that the telecommunications providers have done a great job in the past few weeks. Without the stable supply of internet and telephone connections, the Covid-19 shutdown would certainly have been less smooth.
So all is well with the telecommunications providers?
Sebastian Spicker: Covid-19 simply made some old topics clearer again. Example: supplying rural areas. Our team is itself affected. Some employees live a little further out. Dialing into the company network in the morning became a challenge.
In addition, there is practically no service automation in the field. Changing connections, reconnecting, troubleshooting, all of this is still highly manual. File cards and Excel lists are likely to replace end-to-end digitization for tens of thousands of employees. The consequence may be weeks with connection problems. From today’s perspective, this means: no home office, no home schooling and no home entertainment. None of the providers can seriously want this or just accept it.
In your opinion, did the Telkos leave great automation potential behind?
Sebastian Spicker: Those who essentially earn their money with networks must work to ensure that they work as smoothly and flexibly as possible. Consistent digitization not only enabled orders to be processed faster. It also enables you to bring together the data you need to understand what your customers really need. This is the prerequisite to support them with new, useful services.
This is where a third topic comes into play: Individual business areas have never really been integrated into Telkos. With our “Platform Of Platforms” approach, the established systems could be connected without having to completely replace them directly. That would be a big step in end-to-end digitization. In order to make data across the established organizational structures quasi barrier-free, very large transformation processes are pending. But that’s exactly what providers need to really put their customers back in the center.
Telcos should therefore be more than just a guarantee of highly automated, high-performance data connections …
The content pipe, i.e. the backlog of processes, must be as automated as possible – and the automation of processes is the core business of ServiceNow.
Then there is the intelligent processing of the merged data. The Internet of Things data pool is huge. The service opportunities that build on this are just as enormous. Each emergency call chip of a modern car communicates with central servers, the tracking of packages and letters generates immense amounts of data. Or imagine how many different assets a German transport and logistics company manages alone, from the rental bike to the laptops of the employees to the trains.
Another big growth market is the use of lockers. The majority of them are now computer-controlled. This means that they are no longer only available for suitcases. You can also deliver packages there or have the key for a rental car deposited. The customer controls the process via an app. If you like, the system behind it is a kind of CRM system for all conceivable goods. All of this has little to do with crisis, but above all with opportunities.
Covid-19 was less a crisis for you, but more of a departure?
Sebastian Spicker: I can fully understand that, for example, working people with children have become annoyed after many weeks of double and triple work. And if sales drop overnight, this is not only economically a disaster, no question.
On the other hand, we have rarely seen the advantages of digitalization so clearly. We should take that seriously and expand it further. Those who establish solid digital structures and processes today create the best conditions for mastering a similarly positioned next crisis.
How does ServiceNow help the telecommunications industry in this regard?
Sebastian Spicker: Complex workflows are ubiquitous in the telecommunications industry. With 5G, the industry faces new challenges and, at the same time, great opportunities. We have therefore provided new industry-specific solutions that enable companies to meet increasing customer requirements and offer new services and technologies without losing control over cost management.
The solutions Telecommunication Service Management and Telecommunications Network Performance Management combine customer service and network operation, including proactive customer care and automated service assurance. This creates new workflows, which are not only the basis for a continuous digital transformation, but also significantly improve the employee and customer experience. The solutions build on our Now Platform® and will be generally available later this year.