The question of ‘digitalisation’ for OTT providers and for consumers


In recent times, “digital transformation” has become a buzz phrase used in many different contexts to refer to the transformation that many businesses in the world are either going through or trying to achieve. It’s more or less a reference phrase within telecom businesses today, used to package many things together, with the main focus being on technologies; from new ways of customer on-boarding using multi-channel interfaces, through to e-invoicing, video-on-demand and IPTV. While from a technology perspective, it absolutely makes sense to talk about “digital” or “digitalisation”, does it really reflect the business problems that many of today’s organisations are facing?  

These challenges include the need to experiment with new services that provide new or enhanced consumer experiences.  What’s more, businesses want to be able to try them fast and use the results to evaluate whether to scale-up or ramp-down services, in order to resonate with the rapidly changing demands from consumers.

Agility, speed, scale – these are a few of the words that will most probably haunt your mind if you are a business owner. However “digitalisation” will not provide organisations with business benefits if it cannot also enhance consumers’ lives and provide the agility required to enable them to embrace the new technological innovations that are changing consumers lives radically and thus survive in this competitive world! 

Of course, digitalisation is also a tool which will enable organisations to face these challenges and cope with the continuous innovation in technology that internet companies and OTT providers are bringing in to the consumer space.  This will ultimately influence consumer habits in mobile communications, social media and media consumption, as well as the do-it-yourself freedom that reduces dependency on others. Today there are new paradigms emerging around consumer habits which are experience oriented and arguably enhancing consumer lives – be it Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook or Amazon.

For example, the whole paradigm of real-life window-shopping in a superstore or mall is now happening in a browser, together with the ability to find what we want ourselves or through location and social media based recommendations that mimic collaborative shopping with a friend. By virtually trying out how we look with a dress and finally completing the transaction, the consumer shopping experience has evolved to new heights, offering enriched consumer experiences. 

Only by enabling digitalisation of a store’s offerings, will both the consumer’s life be enriched with new experiences, while also providing business benefits to the service provider.  So, instead of referring to “digitalisation challenges,” why not talk about “enabling new consumer experiences” when referring to what companies are trying to achieve? True “digitalisation” or “business transformation” is not about tools, but about the need to become more customer-centric in order to provide the enhanced customer experiences their consumers demand. 

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