The transformation of the telco industry

The transformation of the telco industry

Microsoft's Rikke Helms explains how modern cloud-based services are enabling telco firms to transform

Caspar Herzberg |

This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of The Record.

Today’s telco companies are at the epicentre of the digital revolution. Recognising that they need to transform into digital service providers if they want to succeed in the future, they are increasingly turning to the cloud in order to rapidly deliver the services that customers demand.

Microsoft is at the crux of this change in the industry. In fact, 11 out of the top 14 telco companies are using Microsoft Office 365 to help them stay ahead.

Take Telstra in Australia, for example, who is enabling its customers to have the full scope of Office 365 cloud productivity and collaboration apps, video conferencing and meeting broadcast capabilities, along with Telstra’s voice services, delivered either in the cloud or on-premise. Skype for Business will be paired with Telstra provided managed voice services and network assessments to deliver a comprehensive productivity and collaboration solution.

Vodafone in India, meanwhile, is also enabling its enterprise customers of all sizes to access Microsoft Office 365 from the cloud. “We are confident that the pay-per-use Software as a Service (SaaS) model will make our customers’ business future-ready by giving them predictable IT costs and taking care of the technology upgrades and scalability worries,” said Nick Gliddon, director of Vodafone Business Services.

And Canadian telco Telus is committed not only to effectively delivering Skype for Business to its customers via Office 365, but to supporting its adoption with a range of services to help companies create a more collaborative workplace.

By transitioning in this way, telco firms are securing themselves a successful future. While I’ve heard many people comment that the end of the telco is near, I would argue that the opposite is in fact true. Telco companies have two big assets: their massive infrastructure and networks; and their datacentres made up of years-old customer billing relationships. By transforming ­themselves – and extending solutions like Office 365 out to other parts of their business, for example to over the top (OTT) services, they can keep hold of these assets and truly thrive.

Rikke Helms is Microsoft’s managing director of industry solutions for communications and media


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