Telecommunications Is Strategic - Executive Sponsors Secure Competitive Advantage for Enterprises (Part 1)

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Today telecommunications impacts virtually every industry and sector. As more executives see opportunities to use communications to gain competitive advantage, it should become an area in which they take a more active role. Strategic deployments of new telecommunications applications include unified communications, cloud computing, mobility, Machine to Machine (M2M) and the Internet of Things (IoT). These deployments improve collaboration, mobility, new ways of doing business and productivity gains.

To be clear senior level executives do not need to become involved in all the ground-level details of implementing telecommunications networks, unified communications deployments, cloud computing, mobility applications, and TEM programs. Nonetheless, there are a number of areas where executives can have a significant impact in the success of their programs. The best practice is to have all or multiple senior level executives involved with telecommunications programs.

In this three-part series blog, TEMIA will identify the roles that executives can play and the value of these roles to telecommunications management programs. These blogs are for senior executives, the managers that work for them, and other stakeholders who are involved with telecom. TEMIA is providing information to secure executives’ involvement in telecommunications. This involvement will help to ensure better results for deployments of new communications technology, utilization of the telecom infrastructure, and competitive advantage for enterprises.

The Case for Executive Involvement

A premium is placed on real-time data collection from the field. Communications enabled technology makes it possible to receive updates and exchange information in real-time to maximize responsiveness to market conditions. This allows decision-makers to do their jobs more effectively and find new ways to improve employee productivity. The corporate network and communications are indispensable to the success of organizations. As the world becomes more connected and mobile, telecommunications technology provides ways to meet customer demand with innovative applications and new ways of doing business.

Chetan Sharma, a mobile strategist, believes that the next 50 years will present unprecedented opportunities. He writes about the Connected Intelligence Era with the “confluence of mobile broadband network, smarter devices, pervasive connectivity, and our ability to program the intelligence around which will dramatically change every industry vertical from the ground up.”

Organizations that use telecommunications most strategically to drive business processes and innovation correlate with C-Level involvement. An enterprise mobility survey from SAP found:

  • 40% higher revenue growth for companies that provide users with mobile access to cross functional applications;
  • Two times higher revenue per employee for companies with mature mobility best practices
  • Four times higher operating margin for companies with mature mobility best practices

In addition to the gains from strategic deployments of telecommunications technology, there are financial considerations. On average, enterprises spend between 1% and 2% of all corporate revenue on telecom services. This means that telecom expenses are one of the top three expenses for most organizations. It would seem natural for executives to play a significant oversight role for telecom expenditures. Large expenditures contain opportunities for cost control and optimization, yet many organizations indicate that executives are not playing a role with telecommunications programs.

Perhaps lack of technical knowledge makes Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and executives from Human Resources reluctant to get involved with telecommunications. Other executives like Chief Security Officers (CSOs), Chief Digital Officers (CDOs), and Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) often don’t see telecom as their area. Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and Chief Technology Officers (CTOs), may delegate telecom to other members of their team. As telecommunications becomes more strategic to enterprise success executives’ need to take a more active role in this area.

Critical Steps to Gain Executive Involvement

Below are four critical steps to gain executive commitment and stewardship for telecommunications are:

  1. Sell the vision of how telecom can positively impact the organization and potentially transform it.
  2. Unify telecommunications technology under one department or steering committee.
  3. Establish metrics to measure performance gains from telecommunications.
  4. Promote the results that telecommunications produces.

  1. Sell the vision for ways that telecom can positively impact the organization and potentially transform it. Managers should learn how other firms are deploying technology. Let solutions providers know the goal is to find ways to transform business processes and provide new ways of doing business. Telecom managers should identify these goals and their impact to help attract executive interest.

  2. Unify telecommunications technology under one department or steering committee. Many organizations have decentralized management of their telecommunications infrastructure. A decentralized approach can lead to problems where mobile applications and other technology do not integrate with network infrastructure and backend systems. While some corporate cultures and executives may resist creating a new department or unifying the program, a steering committee can help to unify the effort.

    Regular meetings with peers can help provide visibility into different initiatives. In some cases, different groups have their own agenda. It is important to align different priorities to avoid conflicting agendas. Working with cross functional teams can help ensure that technical requirements and performance expectations are identified. This is critical to avoid missteps where the organization fails to establish internal alignment.

    Some groups may not understand all the requirements. In some cases, implementation of one initiative may need to wait until other projects are complete. Executive sponsors can help ensure everyone works together. Establishing a consensus will ensure the organization gets what it needs. It will ensure that technology purchases integrate with network infrastructure and backend systems.

  3. Establish metrics to measure performance gains from telecommunications. Executives can help identify what areas should be measured and rules for tracking gains. With cost savings projects try to establish an ROI upfront. For projects that seek higher operating margins measure revenue per employee or revenue growth. Different departments: finance, technology, sourcing and human relations can report specific contributions from deployments of new telecom technology.

  4. Promote the results that telecommunications is producing. Telecom managers should work with marketing and human resources to develop the most effective ways to promote how the organization is benefiting from telecommunications innovation.

Have you considered how your executive team can get involved? The second blog will focus on the involvement of Finance and Technology Executives. The third blog will be geared towards Human Resources as well as Procurement and Sourcing Executives.

The content of this article was provided by TEMIA. For more information, visit www.temia.org.

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