CxO Insight

FutureNet Middle East & Africa, Speaker Interview with Ayedime Amadi, MTN

Ayedime Amadi, Group Senior Manager Enterprise Architecture & Customer Channels, MTN is a panel speaker at FutureNet Middle East & Africa on 26th January. We recently caught up with Ayedime to get her thoughts on the panel topic: The intersection of Cloud, Edge, 5G, IoT and AI: The real growth opportunity?


Telcos have been talking about searching for new revenue streams for years – how close are we to enabling them now?

Digital transformation has been accelerated in a number of dimensions, this has especially been sped up by COVID and the global need for all day, every day, everywhere real-time experience driven by consumer appetite. Telcos now have an opportunity to offer new services and delve into new lines of business which are not core traditional Telco but more into the facets of being able to provide Digital and lifestyle services. This is the evolutionary progression from a Telecommunications service provider (Telco) to becoming a Technology Company (TechCo)
Also with the decline of traditional service revenues such as Voice, SMS, Data, etc expanding the scope beyond just being a pipe becomes a big necessity to remain competitive and to future proof the business. Taking into cognizance the sophisticated infrastructure and connectivity which is cire niche for telcos and has given them more scale and depth in capabilities that these industry verticals are unable to match.
GSMA intelligence in a study that was done in 2021, has highlighted that the verticals of Manufacturing, Fintech, Retail, Healthcare, Oil & Gas, Agric and Mining have the most potential for being core revenue drivers for Telco services beyond just the traditional connectivity services in the next 5 years.
Edge Cloud, AI, IOT are key enablers which these industries require to drive their businesses, and the Telcos are strategically positioned to provide this and it becomes a new revenue stream.


How important is the combination of these Technologies to generating new growth?

These powerful dynamo of Cloud, Edge, IOT, AI & 5G are critical catalysts and forces for industry convergence and a connected world. These five forces will together rapidly accelerate cross-industry use cases across both consumer and business segments to create new business models and lines of business and these translate to new revenue streams that future proof the Telecom Business.

With 5G comes the enablement for high speed and a large volume of data transfer, with Edge and Cloud comes the power to run, deploy and manage application workloads closer to the source of data and the ability to run auto parallel and at scale

Edge computing and AI are at the core of internet of things applications and are driving a number of use cases, due to the fact that AI requires extremely fast processing of data which edge computing enables while AI enables higher performance of compute resources and intelligence at the edge. Cloud has also become a key enabler for Edge AI as it enables inexpensive powerful intelligence at the edge without the need to transmit or transfer data back and forth for processing.

There are a number of very commercially viable use cases that enable rapid decision making which is key to any business’s evolution – Smart devices, Analytics at the edge for Rapid insights, Voice recognition, Smart cameras in production facilities etc. The opportunities are endless as are new areas of business growth for Telcos to expand into as they solve and automate real-life problems.


How can we define the right slice of parameters for the right customers every time?

Determining the right slice for each customer needs to be personalized to get the maximum benefit for both provider and customer, there is no one size fits all for these kinds of services

We must leverage analytics and insight to segment our customer needs, this needs to be done based on Demographic, Psychographic, Behavioral and Geographic segmentation – data needs to be analysed to identify patterns that can be used to create customer segments.

To succeed in these new lines of business, it is important that it is driven by insight – key customer inputs are usage, spend, macro-environment, competitive landscape, digital maturity index, customer propensity and appetite.

All these need to be fed into an Analytics and Intelligence engine to properly create nano and micro-segments based on customer behavior and propensity to adopt and to ensure the right mix for targeting.

The decisions around product propositioning need to become data and insight-driven because customer needs change and evolve over time hence it is important to leverage analytics and machine learning to create algorithms based on current behaviors and metrics to predict future use and appetite, hence customer value management is also key for these new-age offerings.


How do Telcos working practices and corporate culture need to change to make the most of this phenomenal intersection of Technologies?

The Evolution from a Telco to Techo requires a paradigm shift and mindset surgery as the thought process and culture is quite different from the Traditional Telco – pipe mentality, and to succeed in this area it is important to embrace Technology Intensity and the platforms based model of thinking.
Satya Nadella defines Tech Intensity as the fusion of cultural mindset and business processes that enable the propagation of digital capabilities that create end-to-end digital feedback loops, tear down data silos and unleash information flows to trigger insights and predictions, automated workflows and intelligent services.”
Nadella says” the world is becoming one giant computer” hence only businesses that are best positioned to take full advantage of that massive scale and connectedness will remain competitive “Digital transformation will help a company exist but embracing tech intensity will help a company thrive.”
I measure Tech intensity in bands based on the degree to which an organization has an appetite to make Technology core to its offering and the internal reengineering they are committed to, enable this.
The key pillars that require engineering in an organization’s ecosystem to support this new business model are the culture, people, process, structure, business model with a key focus on injecting new skillsets, culture transformation and operating model reengineering.

Key areas for focus for recalibration

1. Modern platform architecture – platform-based capabilities, low code software development, Modular Platforms & APIs, Cloud-native Applications, Disruptive Innovation. Simplified & Agile architectures
2. New Operating Model – Agile DevOps Way of Work, New Engagement Models, Realigned Governance and Operating Model.
3. Talent & Sourcing – Insourcing / Outsourcing Strategy, Future Proofing skills, Partner Optimization,
4. Culture – Experimentation & launching new services in “beta” mode and supporting a “fast fail” approach, Innovation, indoctrinated as part of the mainstream business, Start-up incubation and venture funds mindset, Cocreation mindset

The DNA of a Techco Organization is driven by a number of characteristics a few of which are Collaborative processes, Technology Savviness, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Organizational Agility, Data-Driven Customer engagement, Software Development and Online Anywhere – hence to enable the sustainability of this magnitude of change, an Organization-wide Change & Culture management program is required to entrench this change and ensure that it reaches the required maturity levels.

To hear more insight from Ayedime register for FutureNet Middle East & Africa here

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