It’s fair to say telecommunications serve as the backbone of modern connectivity, with a growing market size of over £2,420 billion ($3106 billion) in 2024.

However, as the telco industry continues to boom and the needs of a hyper-connected world continue to soar, the pressure is well and truly on for telecom companies. With a surge in new technologies, a growing need for more personalised customer interactions, and an emphasis on data security and compliance, any telco that wants to stay competitive must provide optimal value for its customers within the digital realm.

The solution? Digital transformation.

Digital transformation for telcos refers to adopting digital solutions, technologies and processes to enhance traditional services, improve customer experience and offer new services.

From integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to utilising big data and cloud computing, leveraging state-of-the-art technologies is essential for telcos to keep pace with evolving market trends and prioritise their customers.

Wondering how to keep your telco competitive? We’ve compiled our top five tips for successfully undergoing your digital transformation…

1. Define and assess your goals

Before diving headfirst into building new strategies and investing in new technologies, you must step back to understand your telco’s goals and current capabilities.

First, decide what goals you have for your business and how a digital transformation will help you achieve them. Do you want to accomplish higher productivity, efficiency and cost savings? Are you aiming to improve the customer experience? Where are you trying to boost customer value — marketing, finance or new services?

Identifying these objectives will help you understand why a digital transformation is right for your telecom company. Then, you can set objectives describing the technologies you need to implement and create specific milestones that’ll give an insight into the success of your new processes.

For example, if you’re implementing new automation tools, how are they streamlining your operations? Are your customer reviews more positive?

Next, examine your organisation’s current capabilities. Does the telco have enough resources to support the digital transformation tools you want to implement? Are your services mostly online or offline, and will they be compatible with any new software?

To facilitate your impending digital transformation, you may have to make some changes to your infrastructure. This leads us nicely to…

2. Upgrade your telco infrastructure

It’s not unusual for telecommunications infrastructures to become bogged down with increasing data traffic, higher bandwidth requirements and the rapid development of new technologies. So, if you want to ensure a seamless experience for your customers, modernising your infrastructure is vital.

After all, who wants an expensive and difficult-to-manage set of discrete network elements when you can have virtualised communications?

When you invest in scalable network technologies and upgrade to an autonomously managed cloud infrastructure, you reap the benefits of reduced maintenance costs, reliable connectivity despite increasing demands, improved data-handling and information-sharing technologies and bolstered 5G, internet of things (IoT) and AI capabilities.

3. Make cyber security a priority

As your telco expands its digital infrastructure, the attack surface of your business and its data grows.

A secure digital transformation requires a proactive and comprehensive cyber security strategy — every step of the journey must be underpinned by robust measures to ensure the integrity, confidentiality and availability of sensitive data and critical systems.

Make sure security is embedded into the design of the digital technologies, systems and applications you’re introducing. What are their data handling practices and encryption methods? Do your new technologies include firewall protection and intrusion detection and prevention systems?

It’s also essential that your digital transformation recognises the importance of data protection.

With vast amounts of sensitive customer and business data being passed around between third-party applications and suppliers, encryption, data classification and privacy-preserving techniques must be employed to keep malicious actors at bay. These measures also keep your telco on the right side of data protection regulations like GDPR.

4. Implement RPA software

By now, we all know how AI and automation tools can save companies time and effort by filling in operational gaps, sorting data at scale, handling repetitive tasks and solving complex problems.

But robotic process automation (RPA) takes things one step further…

By harnessing the power of AI and automation, RPA software can audit your workflow and identify which processes can be automated with artificial intelligence.

Not only can RPA software streamline the operations of telco agents by automatically distributing data across departments or steering them towards sales, but it can also be utilised for a better customer experience. Customers now expect first-class service at any time — and RPA software can help to improve response time, automate answers to frequently asked questions and update customer information (almost) instantaneously.

Start by taking inventory of all your telco’s current non-automated processes, like billing, contracts or data entry and create a strategy for improving these tasks with RPA solutions.

5. Deploy and improve your new tools

Once you’ve found the right software and tools for your business, it’s time to integrate them into your operations. Start by rolling them out into one or two areas where they could have the biggest impact, trialling their functionalities with a team ready to deal with any fallout…

Of course, undergoing a digital transformation isn’t a set-and-forget process. You’ll need to continuously monitor and evaluate your solutions to ensure they work properly — analysing relevant metrics to measure their impact and effectiveness.

But once you’ve got the ball rolling, this data will help identify improvement areas, keeping your telco business optimised and running smoothly.

At Invosys, we keep our finger on the pulse, adapting to market changes and offering solutions that are one step ahead of the curve. Want to make sure you never miss out on the latest? Sign up for our monthly newsletter and enjoy regular access to blog posts, service offerings and product updates.