The age of “best-effort delivery” is coming to an end. The telecommunications business is being driven more than ever by network and information technology innovations, with high-tech companies entering telecommunications markets with their offerings. Independent new sales markets, “blue oceans” of telecommunications, are developing from individual economic sectors and specialized industry verticals.

After years of stagnation, these new markets offer a unique opportunity for telecommunications providers to be the digital backbone of society and the economy with new network technologies and a return to sustainable, profitable growth. At the same time, these B2B markets pose fundamentally new challenges for the quality and reliability of telecommunications services.

With increasing cross-sector competition, developing new markets is a strategic imperative for industry providers. Given the market potential and ongoing technological transformations, shaping an attractive and largely uncontested market environment through specialization and diversification should be one of the industry’s most pressing tasks.

However, there is a range of other strategic and predominantly new challenges. The management of a dynamic range of increasingly complex telecommunication solutions, the associated development from a pure scale business to a scope business, focusing investments despite diversification pressure, the path from commodity provider to innovation leader, new operating models for new technologies, and urgently needed changes in organizational culture are only a selection of the topics on the strategic priority list.

The comprehensive and profound understanding of these interrelationships forms the starting point for our projects. Our experience since the liberalization of the telecommunications markets, from the subsequent growth and consolidation, helps us understand the industry and its current challenges. The accompaniment of other sectors in developments comparable to those experienced by the telecommunications industry today informs our decisions.

With our team, we provide our partners in the telecommunications industry with a consulting portfolio aligned with ongoing developments, helping them shape their path in the new markets and the technological and operational orientation that goes with it and offering them guidance in the process. 

1. Location, market analysis and positioning

Telecommunications providers have different prerequisites for entering the markets of the future. These prerequisites are essentially reflected in their profile characteristics in the following dimensions:

  1. Network infrastructure (technologies, spectrum, network levels, coverage, etc.)
  2. Offer (infrastructure, connectivity, platforms, services, etc.)
  3. Market access, especially to different business customer segments
  4. Skillsets consisting of internal organization and extended ecosystem access

This profile forms an essential basis for assessing the prospects of success for entering individual markets.

We analyze new markets horizontally and the different business sectors’ needs for specific digital application scenarios and integrative telecommunications components. The analysis of these needs, the added value of solutions for the further development of affected industries, and the development of the required ecosystem form another building block in our assessment of the markets.

An assessment of application scenarios, user industries, a solution’s components and values, and a provider’s role in the specific ecosystem of a solution are what lead us to the target markets to be analyzed in more detail.

2. Business model development and market entry planning

Our market entry planning approach is not about repositioning in the existing, overcrowded markets. It is primarily about developing new markets. This focus, which is unusual for network operators, is achieved through a systematic process that aims to address known customer needs in a defined market with a fundamentally new and better solution approach. Or, preferably, creating entirely new needs with appropriate solutions.

Both require a “founder’s perspective” and consistent identification with the targeted market and its customers, which is only achievable with deep insights into these markets. With our close-knit network of industry experts, we support our telecommunications clients in structuring this process, which is usually new to them, and seeing it through to the end.

Our approach provides the framework for business modeling with practice-oriented methods based on the pre-qualified target markets. The final decision-making basis for a market entry is supplemented by a monetary evaluation and an opportunity and risk profile, which is elementary for strategic investments in preparation for tactical and operative market entry planning.

3. Service development and market introduction

In the transition to the 5th generation of mobile networks, our market research shows that with the availability of new connectivity, installations prototypically developed for selected customers are often integrated as a “service” into the offering portfolios of business customer sales organizations. Given strategic context with prior market analysis and entry planning, this practice makes sense in iterative and agile development approaches. Our observations also show that this often does not happen this way, with offering portfolios more or less randomly manifesting from promising prototypes.

Therefore, our approach to service development starts with a portfolio and pipeline review. It can be modularly integrated into an existing customer context for product development. We apply principles of agile development processes, design thinking methods, and rapid prototyping. Based on the assumption of vertical markets, we involve a panel of experts from our network in the proposed definition to ensure the necessary market expertise. The early involvement of start-ups from our network depends on the proposition and the customer situation.

We plan and implement go-to-market and life-cycle management based on portfolio planning. From an implementation point of view, the problem today is that previous offers on the configuration level are not comparable with complex 5G-based offers. For a system-side implementation, different levels of a service architecture corresponding to the standards must be configured, which have not yet been mapped in OSS/BSS systems. Our organizational and technical integration creates the basis for this.

4. Organizational strategy and cultural change

Organizationally, telecommunications providers today face two significant challenges. The sweeping change of the sales markets requires intelligent assimilation of the suppliers in the direction of the demand side concerning market behavior and understanding solutions. To this end, the providers, which until now have operated mainly in horizontal markets, must overcome different cultural hurdles in demand-oriented vertical markets.

The change in the operational business that goes hand in hand with the technological and market changes also requires structural and process-organizational adjustments to master this new business. Depending on the verticalization of the offer, structures are created in pre-sales/sales and delivery, respectively DevOps, which have to achieve a sustainable integration of different vertical markets. We apply a hybrid approach that combines intra-organizational restructuring and collaboration with appropriate forms of cooperation for an expanded business ecosystem.

In this phase of strategic organizational alignment, we are already flanking the foreseeable structural changes with processes and systems that simulate new offerings of the 5G era, the processing scenarios for vertical markets, and the administrative and operational business operations aligned with them. As part of our strategic organizational consulting, we create the basis for a successful organizational transformation.

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