Keeping pace with tech in telco: A strategy consultant talks

Stuart Webb


You need to be agile. There are so many companies out there who are ready to eat your lunch.

This is an approach to keep at the forefront of your mind when it comes to utilising the technology available to us in business. As an independent strategy consultant in the telecoms industry, keeping an eye on ever evolving, rapidly improving technology is paramount.

It was only a few short years ago that I was in a meeting with a major telecoms supplier when I heard of the release of Skype. I remember my initial thought process was that one of the major projects I was working on was dead and beaten by a couple of kids. They came out of a virtually unknown part of the world, and they were onto something, and on to something BIG!

These days start-ups can grow and evolve a product from their bedroom and can be in the market-place before anyone has a chance to challenge them. That's great as we often want to use the technology, but it provides a lot of competition. 

As an independent I am free to move quickly. Independents have the advantage of not being wedded to a particular business model or business unit, as a permanent member of staff would be. It is possible for an independent to break through the politics. 
There are lots of new technologies that are rapidly advancing – It doesn’t feel so long ago that a mobile phone was simply used for calls and texts, however, 4G is upon us and already we are making things ready for the next wave.

A day in the life of a telecoms strategy consultant

Today I have three meetings…

  1.  A product team who are supplying telecoms for the launch of a third-party satellite. The telecoms need to work, but we will need to make sure that we move quickly, with all the safety features we can manage but we can’t miss the date to launch. We must trim down the systems to the minimum set of requirements to meet launch and then build out the systems after. As an independent I have the advantage of being able to cut through the wood to see the trees and help the engineers to build a best fit solution.
  2. I’m meeting a group who are launching a new product and we’re talking pricing strategies. As this is a regulated part of the business, I must be aware of the regulators influence on this price, as well as the customers and stakeholders so we can strike a balance between of all these parties in the price. Often the balance is trying to interpret the regulations as there is no direct instruction, but a framework to work within. We should make a risk-based judgement of how the regulator may view our efforts and move forward taking an element of risk into the project.
  3. Finally, I’m with a team who want to move their contact centre back from off-shore. This is to counter negative customer comments, but will result in slightly higher costs. I am here to help them balance the various advantages and dis-advantages and help them get the right balance of on-shore, near-shore and off-shore, matching price to customer benefit.

I spend my days spinning a lot of plates and trying make sure I get the balance right with all of them.

There are few more rewarding careers than that of the independent strategy consultant in the Telecoms industry. The emphasis is on listening to requirements, being in ‘the know’ and innovative thinking. 

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