Multi-national Communication Service Provider’s (CSPs) are learning much from their new competitors— the ‘Gang of Four’—about tools and ideas to redefine business. These tools and ideas include a number of things; platform creation, the building of ecosystems, embracing developers and providing developer tools, the economics of the long tail, leveraging the power of data and the cloud, and fleet-of-foot innovation culture amongst others.

But how do top-tier CSPs even begin to adapt these lessons to their own circumstances when perceived disadvantages of being ‘behind the curve’ stand in their way?

The approach I’m putting forward here explores Gerschenkron’s take on answering this question.

Five ‘perceived disadvantages’ are covered and to each a ‘Gang of Four’ lesson is applied to reveal a possible ‘behind the curve advantage’.

1. Network – The Platform

Billions invested and billions more planning to be invested (e.g. LTE/4G). Data network build costs are mounting to meet the explosive rate of data traffic growth. The challenge is to make good on the mounting investment with data revenue growth. Exacerbating the revenue growth challenge is the ‘Gang of Four’ ecosystem, which has enabled Over-The-Top (OTT) players to freely take advantage of this investment and a number of these services, such as VoIP, IM & social networking, are even eating directly into CSP SMS and voice usage and revenues.

2. Vertical relationships – The Long Tail

The ’Gang of Four’ have largely enabled the consumer internet revolution as we know it today. Industry verticals have not been a great focus for them due to the continued growth levels within the consumer sector and ease of serving that market comparative to the fragmented industry verticals.

3. Multi-national – The Ecosystem

The ‘Gang of Four’ transcends geographic boundaries. Under current thinking, to run such a business based on geographic presence and not just by country but by country region, would be a gross inefficiency.

4. Customer service –The Community

The ‘Gang of Four’ in the main don’t ‘do’ customer care to the extent CSPs do. What’s more, in the environment ignited by the ‘Gang of Four’ CSPs have now become care agents; not only for their own services but by default also for when problems occur with the output of the device manufacturers, OS providers and application developers!

This blog post is an extract from The Now Factory’s blog site. Click here to view the complete article.

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