Mohammad Rizvi
Mohammad Rizvi 20 December 2017

How To Digitally Transform A Telecom Service Provider

Customers expect differentiated omni-channel (and now omni device) customer centric experiences - be it online, in a retail store or from customer service. In a saturated market Telecos need to deliver exceptional customer experiences that create value for the company as well as their customers. To deliver such experiences may require a comprehensive digital transformation. But how do you do that?

Digital Transformation means different things to different companies. To some, it means new ways of doing business, for others it could mean enhancing customer engagement using digital platforms.

This article will cover enhancing customer experiences using Digital platform capabilities and engaging customer on new channels (Devices) by using power of the platform and integrating it with real time analytics capability tools.

  1. Digital Customer Engagement
  2. Transform Integration Layer
  3. Leverage Social, Analytics capabilities
  4. Integrate with IoT Devices

Implement Digital Customer Engagement

While Internet based Sales and Customer service continues to lead digital expectations, mobile devices are not far behind. Customers expect the brand to have mobile application as well, and also expect omnichannel experiences where a connection is initiated on one channel but concludes on another channel. Some Telco providers have gone to the extent of offering their full product range  online for purchase with pickup in person from retails store in an hour. On one hand such an experience promotes online (reducing the direct sales cost), on the other customer will have to visit the store and be able to get expert advice. At the same time, retail stores will get a customer visit, and an opportunity for cross-selling other digital products or services.

Customers expect innovative and relevant brand experiences across geographies, sites, and devices. Digital platforms can enable this by leveraging built-in responsive design.

Path to Transformation

1. Define Scope & Capabilities

As a first step of the Digital Transformation journey, define the what you want to achieve, functionalities and the KPIs to quantify and measure the success.

Define high level scope first, followed by key foundational capabilities first. Once foundational capabilities have been developed and deployed, then, start building on it one step at a time.


For the above capabilities, below mentioned KPIs can be a starting point.

Service KPIs

Right first time

Time to serve

Call ratio (Calls per customer per month)

Average wait time

Issues resolved (self-service)

Marketing KPIs

Offer success rate

Campaign convert ratio

Upsell and cross-sell opportunities

Sales and e-Commerce KPIs

Time to onboard new customer

Time to serve – Sales

Time to market (TTM)

Orders submitted digitally (self-service)

Field Service KPIs

Right first time

Average technician time per visit

Common KPIs

Satisfaction (NPS) score

2. Platform Selection

Many off the shelf SaaS platforms offer Digital User experience at fraction of capital cost and opex compared to traditional on-premise hosted solutions. It is faster to implement and offers Mobile experience out of box. Mobile experience can be further fine-tuned with small additional effort, cost and time. Typical Sales or Service Transformation projects can be completed in 6 months with $1-3m upfront, and Capex in pay-as-you-go model, where price per user varies based on used features. Many of them also offer natively integrated eCommerce capabilities.

3. Reference Architecture


4. Releases Scope and Planning

Each release is 3 to 5 months long project depending upon how much out of the box platform capabilities and UX (User Experience) are used.

User Experience: Personalizing self-care and service experience should be part of each release for the in scope functional areas. Experience is as important as the functionality itself.

The below table slices and dices the capabilities into releases and the rationale. Depending on business priorities, the scope should be aligned.



Scrum Teams: Two scrum teams of 8 members each.

Story Estimation: Estimate all the stories using a Fibonacci sequence (1,2,3,5,8,13,21) to represent points. With points, one knows generally if he is going to meet his iteration commitments. Estimation should be done using an Estimation Board application (e.g. JIRA Estimation Board). Estimation is a collaborative task and should be done with the entire team in collaboration with product owner. For stories deep into the backlog, give a rough estimate. This will provide a ballpark that product owner can use to prioritize the product roadmap appropriately. When a story is estimated above the team's 20-point (or 16-hour) threshold, break the story down into smaller pieces and re-estimate them.

Sprint Dashboard: Use out of the box dashboard for visual representation for the stories progress.

Story Dependencies: At a thumb rule, dependencies should be avoided. The good user stories are written the INVEST way (Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small, Testable). Dependencies are important to handle in the right way. If not handled correctly, it leads to chaos and blockers during execution of the end product.

Dependencies can be one the following:

  • Inter Story: dependencies between user stories within the same team
  • Inter Team: dependencies between teams
  • Inter Product/Release: dependencies across products or releases of the same product
  • External: Vendors, third parties, customer dependencies, people

If a dependency can’t be avoided within a sprint, then, ensure that such stories are assigned within one scrum team for better collaboration. Dependent stories on external vendors should be split between Sprints.

6. Implementation

Implement one capability at a time and release it to users. Each capability implementation will follow the same development model.

As a guiding principle, use power of the platform to the maximum by doing design using configurations, use minimum customization.

a. Define Epics and User Stories. Focus on functional capability considering big picture.

b. Define UI elements and UX pages using 80:20 rule. Convert them into User Stories.

c. Story prioritization. Stories that implement data model should be of high priority, followed by UI, integration and analytics in order. This will help in avoiding re-work.

d. System Design

e. Implement & Unit Test - Three demonstrations should be planned for each sprint cycle during Implementation phase:

  • Demo 1: Story playback to the business, IT users and all stakeholders before starting the sprint.
  • Demo 2: It should be done in the middle of the sprint to demonstrate the so far completed, in-progress stories.
  • Demo 3: Last demo of sprint should be done at the sprint completion.

      System Integration Test. Two testing teams should be planned.

  • Team 1 should focus on Sprint functionality
  • Team 2 should focus on Regression

f. Demonstration - This end to end business process demo should be done prior to the production release.

g. Release

h. Operate



8. Migration and Roll-Out

Pilot roll out for small set of retail (for example 1000) and business customers (for example 20), followed by incrementally and quickly rolling out to more users to the platform works well. The faster roll out helps in keeping the maintenance costs down and synchronizing old and new systems to the lowest possible extent.


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