The telecom sector is going to face major strategic challenges in coming years. A scenario planning study by Atos Consulting shows that telecom executives face two dominant strategic decisions that they cannot ignore.
First, they need to create more vertical integration within the TMT value chain, including in the areas of content, software and hardware. Secondly, telecom companies must develop new business models to commercialize the explosion of Big Data.
The past decade has seen an explosion of data in the telecom sector. According to analysts from IDC the amount of data will, triggered by thirsty consumer demand for mobile emailing and surfing, grow 44 times this decade alone, reaching a whopping 35.2 zettabytes by 2020. In addition, data is also getting 'personal', partly due to the exploding number of users of social media and the fact that consumers are increasingly willing to share personal data for commercial use.
New revenue models
The consultants say that this trend will lead to the emergence of 'mammoth' content organizations or 'media hubs'. With the current degree of monitezation, telecom companies are making large losses on data. And if new revenue models are not quickly introduced then - given the speed of data consumption increase - data could even turn into the downfall of operators.
"One thing is clear: data is increasingly becoming part of new business models". Organizations realize the potential of a smart use of these data for the purpose of selling personal content" says Michel van Buitenen, Managing Partner TMT at Atos Consulting. "Traditional telecom companies will have to focus on the processing of huge amounts of data and commercializing them".
How to commercialise?
Telecom companies can capitalize on Big Data in a number of manners. Firstly, they can use data to improve the quality of their services, such as more personalized offers as well as other up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Secondly, they can cooperate with social network players (eg. Facebook, LinkedIn) in monetizing big data. Thirdly, they can sell data to 3rd parties in so-called 'Data markets'. And lastly, they can 'democratize' Big Data - provide SMEs with Big Data insights for a particular (small) subset of data, insights which small players would otherwise never have been able to receive.
Despite the clear strategic importance of data monetization, Atos Consulting highlights two uncertainties. The TMT sector is faced with the question whether the commercial use of data is accepted by everyone. "The question is: how are the consumer attitudes towards government and the commercial use of personal data", says Michel van Buitenen. Moreover, the consulting firm doubts that the more traditional players in the TMT sector are "fully ready" for this development.