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Telcos can ring in profits from the business sector

Telcos can ring in profits from the business sector

In the MENA region, this business segment is yet to generate profits for telco operators even though the regional enterprise ICT market is sizable.

October 11, 2011 3:27 by



PREPARING TO COMPETE IN THE ENTERPRISE ICT MARKET

With stiff competition almost certain to emerge for the enterprise ICT market, MENA telecom operators need to consider the business market in a fundamentally new manner and adopt differentiated approaches to succeed in securing and maintaining clients – whether SMEs, large enterprises, or government agencies. Telecom operators will have the ability not only to gain a foothold in these emerging businesses, but also solidify ties with individuals who work in these organisations, bolstering their consumer business.

Focus on SMEs to Capture Emerging Opportunity

To serve the SME segment effectively, regional telecom operators first will need to group customers based on behavioural characteristics such as telecom expenditures and service sophistication. “Operators need to design bundled and converged solutions that offer SMEs a one-stop-shop experience. Telecom operators could also provide SMEs software-as-a-service (SAAS) cloud applications, allowing them to meet their business needs with minimal up-front investments. To offer SaaS, telecom operators typically partner with application providers,” explained Hadi Raad, Principal, Booz & Company.

Because SMEs are scat­tered throughout the region and not clustered in one city, they are hard to reach through retail outlets. As a result, operators might consider using outbound telesales, as well as resellers that have the wide­spread coverage necessary to reach SMEs.

Locking in large accounts

Large enterprises and key accounts typically have a large number of employees and will likely spend significantly on ICT. These customers increasingly demand turnkey solutions that address their specific business needs, such as increasing productivity, improving customer satisfaction, and cutting costs. They typically prioritise service levels over price. Large enterprises and key accounts also expect a differentiated sales and customer service experience that only dedicated account and service managers can deliver.

“To service large enterprises effec­tively, regional telecom operators will need to migrate from being provid­ers of basic voice and data services to providing full ICT solutions. That entails initially expanding their product portfolio and service offer­ings to deliver complete, targeted ICT solutions. The portfolio offerings need to be comprehensive and specific. In targeting large enterprises, telecom operators also need to shift from a typical account manager sales approach to a consult­ing relationship, acting as partners with the customers and designing turnkey solutions rather than offering off-the-shelf services,” stated El-Darwiche.

Leverage Government Relationships to Capture Digitisation Opportunities

Beyond the traditional enterprise market opportunity, regional incumbent telecom operators should also seek to position themselves as enablers for digital economies by leveraging their privileged government relationships and becoming the provider of choice for government ICT requirements.

Raad commented, “Applications such as smart metering, intelligent transport systems, ehealth, and education are driving transformation in traditional economic sectors. To capture large-scale projects, telecom operators need to build a deep knowledge of the economic sector they would be serving and propose ICT solutions to address their specific needs. To deliver these services, operators will need to have strong solution design, systems integration capabilities, and large-scale operations. Operators in other markets are already using partnerships and acquisitions to build these capabilities.”

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