6 ways connectivity providers can win when supporting digital transformation - Neos Networks

6 ways connectivity providers can win when supporting digital transformation

Sarah Mills, MD of Wholesale and Smart Infrastructure, Neos Networks

Much has been learned about the needs of the market when it comes to our recent investigation. The subsequent report, Core connectivity: The key enabler of digital transformation, has brought to light information surrounding the major challenges faced, as well as the extent to which network infrastructure is prioritised in transformation programmes. It has also surfaced some common characteristics in those organisations enjoying high levels of digital transformation success.

But in questioning the service provider community concurrently about their expectations of the market, it became apparent that not everyone is on the same page. Here we reveal some findings which may come as a surprise to connectivity providers in the UK…

Less attention is paid to competitors
There is no debating that improvements in efficiency of IT functions and operations is the number one motive for organisations embarking on digital transformation journeys, followed closely by the need to increase productivity. But failing to make the top three priorities was the need to improve digital readiness compared to competitors. This will no doubt be a shock to the 54% of service providers surveyed, who cited that they expected it to feature. While still important, our research indicated that in fact, enhancements of customer experience and the need to enable flexible or remote working as more impactful driving forces. This suggests that organisations are actually looking to ensure they meet their own standards, rather than worry about keeping up with the Joneses.

High quality and rapid delivery are a bare minimum for customers
It won’t be surprising to hear that organisations are looking to better deliver for their customers through digital transformation. But what is it their customers demand? The service provider community suggested a high reliability or quality of service to be the number one requirement, followed closely by speed of delivery. But the market is taking a different viewpoint, suggesting customer choice regarding preferred methods of attaining support and strong reassurances around cyber security and data protection are front of mind. This suggests digital transformation projects are now more focused on delivering beyond the basics of the product or service offered; delivering those differentiators might provide a competitive edge.

E-commerce technology is taking a back seat
When considering the range of technologies being used by organisations working through their digital transformation roadmaps, almost two thirds (64%) of service providers expected e-commerce initiatives to feature. But this is far less the case in reality with just 45% implementing this form of technology at present. For most, the priority technology embraces cloud infrastructure, platforms or applications. With limited budget in turbulent times, the probable reasoning behind this is to focus on those technologies that are more likely to deliver the aforementioned need for greater efficiency and productivity. It may also signify that e-commerce technologies are evolving at a slower pace.

Impaired customer experience is a common problem… but less so in the future?
The data gathered suggested that service providers are slightly underestimating the extent to which clients are reporting issues causing their customers difficulty in connecting to online services and apps. This reinforces the notion that vendors and service providers must develop a greater understanding of what it means to be the end-customer, and what makes up their expectations. Alternatively, it may just indicate a need to gain awareness at a faster rate, as almost six out of ten (57%) service provider respondents suggested these kinds of issues would continue to be a problem in the future. Meanwhile, just 35% of those in the market feel as though the solutions they have sourced to address the cause will fail later down the line. This may be indicative that organisations are moving a little faster than service providers to ensure a fix is found – such is the magnitude to which customer dissatisfaction can impact business performance. A gentle reminder to us all perhaps, that empathy is crucial in delivering for our customers.

Security is not to be underestimated
But that appears to be exactly what is happening! More than half (51%) of respondents cited the security of networks as a top connectivity challenge, equalled only by obstacles created as a result of the hybrid transition. Just a third (34%) of service providers recognised security as a priority challenge however, with it only just making the cut of ‘top ten barriers to overcome’. The disparity here is surprising. In a world where the demand on data is growing exponentially; where connections are growing faster than ever before and the transfer of information becomes evermore commonplace, one would surely expect the risk of interception to increase. Our research would certainly suggest this to be the case.

There is much work to be done
Of all the discoveries made through this research, this is perhaps most critical. Respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they believed their current plans would enable them to overcome the connectivity challenges faced, many of which have been touched upon above. In all but one instance, service providers overestimated the extent to which companies believed they would. This could mean that organisations have largely failed to put in place solutions capable of achieving their objectives. Alternatively, it could mean that they have been sold a solution held in high regard by the vendor, but which in reality does not deliver on its promises. Either way, the onus is on us as providers to not only truly understand the needs of the market, but to better advise and deliver to ensure confidence is much higher. A similar pattern arose when respondents were questioned regarding their levels of satisfaction with the various solutions their connectivity providers had installed – the market is simply not as content as one might expect.

We hope to change that. As an organisation with higher than average Net Promoter Scores for the sector, we welcome you to take advantage of our approach in providing simplicity in design and expertise in delivery of services, when embarking on your digital transformation journey, or indeed managing those of your own customers. With just a third of respondents content with the advice offered by their network infrastructure provider, perhaps the time is right to speak with the UK’s premier choice for B2B only connectivity.

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