Can Telcos Become Platforms?
Telcos can become “Integrated Digital Service Providers” (IDSPs) that function as platforms, Accenture argues, essentially getting out of the “communications” business.
In yet one more iteration of the “moving up the stack” strategy, Accenture suggests telcos can become “platform companies” that use social, mobile, analytics and Internet of Things tools to build a business architecture and set of services that enables other businesses to rapidly develop and deploy the products and solutions needed to drive their digital strategies.
That probably sounds like “middleware” to some; “operating system” to others.
Time will tell whether any firms actually will be able to become “digital platforms,” or whether, in the end, the effort will fail.
For more than a decade, we all have heard, seen and read commentaries suggesting that “digital disruption” somehow can be turned to a traditional telco’s advantage. Not all of the advice is wishful thinking, but let us be honest: nothing has really worked all that well.
Accenture consultants argue that “transformation begins when operators update core technologies to digital and leverage existing assets—strong and trusted brands, unique locality, established billing relationships, robust networks, and a large quantity of unique customer and usage data—to compete more effectively.”
Let us be honest: we have been saying that, in different ways, for more than a decade. One might argue that telcos simply have not had time to make the full transformation.
Others might argue the transformation is growing exceedingly unlikely, based in part on the ability of many other entities--device, app, commerce, transaction providers--to bundle their own “access” as part of their services and features. In the end, it always will be difficult to compete with “free.”