Telecoms services providers have no choice but to transform if they are to remain relevant to consumer and enterprise customers, and achieve growth, according to a new EY report, Accelerating the intelligent enterprise.
In a survey of 27 telecos for the report, 69% of respondents said that they expect 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) to drive digital transformation over the next five years, followed by automation (62%) and AI (58%).
Telcos’ current use of digital technologies is heavily weighted toward customer-related rather than network-related gains, *EY found*.
Nearly half (48%) of those surveyed said that improving customer support is the main catalyst for adopting automation and 96% cited customer experience as the main driver for analytics and AI use cases over the next five years. In contrast, only 44% see network-related use cases as critical during the same timeframe.
Despite their reluctance to move beyond customer applications, however, 76% believe that IT and the network are most likely to benefit from improved analytics or AI capabilities over the next five years.
A lack of talent and skills is a key barrier to deploying analytics and AI according to 67% of respondents, while a third (33%) cited poor quality data. Nearly half (46%) feel that a lack of long-term planning is the biggest obstacle to maximising the use of automation.
Tom Loozen, global telecoms sector leader at EY, said that firms need to think about rebalancing their digital transformation investment.
“While the network accounts for the lion’s share of industry investment and operational expenditure, telcos continue to focus the power of emerging technology around the customer,” he said. “It is now critical that they take a holistic approach to the adoption of AI and automation by shifting their investment priorities and applying greater focus to use cases in less advanced areas like networks.”
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