Telco: No turning back

 

Market review

As you might expect of a utility service, the telecoms industry has come through 2020 relatively unscathed, The market for IT systems supporting telecoms providers barely declined in 2020 and is returning to low single digit percentage growth during 2021.

Many telecoms providers have significantly invested in customer engagement systems (CRM, mobile apps etc) to ensure a positive customer experience. Cloud-based telecom providers are stepping up their game by introducing smart features that will enhance internal collaboration among teams. Shared call logs, call comments, tags, etc., are the types of features they offer for ensuring smooth and friction-free collaboration between team members and establishing a clear workflow. In these times of remote working, adoption of these tools is high.

Artificial Intelligence is everywhere in 2021, and the telecoms sector is no exception. AI is adding value to VoIP and cloud-based telephony, and automated customer service is an area where AI companies are seeing heavy investment. In addition to customer interactions, the coming year will also see the widespread use of AI in other focal areas such as network optimization, predictive maintenance, and more.

In recent years, businesses have been opting for solutions that enable them to have all information in one place. This trend will continue through 2021 with cloud-based solutions offering easy and seamless integration between business/communication tools and business phone systems.
These include tools like CRM, helpdesk, ERP, other business management software for planning and tracking the customer lifecycles and project lifecycles. The multi-functionality of business phone systems and the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to be a major focus area in 2021 as it has been in this year. Fuelled by the remote working model, service providers will also be enhancing unified communication solutions that can be used on connected devices for calls, videoconferences, chats, and more.

Predictions for 2021

The likely long-term shift is to greater remote working resulting in increasing pressure being placed on rural infrastructure as workers move out of cities. This will no doubt highlight the challenges in communications faced by rural communities and will put pressure on leaders to put rural Britain first for a change. As well as constantly investing in hard-to-reach connectivity, all the major operators, the UK Government and Ofcom will have to deliver the “Shared Rural Network” (SRN).

What has been the impact on hiring decisions?

With an amalgamation of some of the larger telecoms providers and increased M&A activity within many of the SME operators, the sector has attracted significant capital investment from Private Equity/VCs. Demand for critical hires across both Board, NEDs, and Chief Financial Officers has been at an all-time high. Many PE/VC investors have been luring PLC professionals with significant equity to join their fast growth businesses.

How do I recruit at pace and de-risk critical or project hires?

Clients have been opting for Interim professionals rather than defaulting to Big 4 management consultancies. Typically, these roles are very specific and provide clients the security of delivering C-suite hires at short notice or delivering significant transformation and change programmes across the following areas;

  • Finance Change and Transformation projects
  • M&A Specialists
  • ERP System implementation specialists
  • Interim Project / Programme Managers

In many cases, the savings clients have achieved have reflected 40% of the cost of using ‘Big 4’ management consultancies. However that was just a fringe benefit – for many clients, the key for engaging a seasoned interim was more geared around hiring a professional with significant expertise in multiple organisations, with immediate availability and the effective delivery and knowledge transfer and development of their own staff.

If you would like to learn more about this topic or discuss a particular challenge or need, please contact Jonathan Stringer via jonathan.stringer@normanbroadbent.com / 07483 015 307 for an initial confidential discussion.