Nokia Innovation Forum: Enabling Digital Transformation Through Telcos

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia uses its strength and experience in network solutions as well as its strong relationships with telcos to drive digital transformation.
  • In emerging markets where digital transformation is slow, Nokia needs to work more closely with the telcos and focus on particular solutions and verticals.

Nokia held its Asia-Pacific Innovation Forum in Singapore on the October 24, 2017. Various topics and use cases around IoT, 5G, cloud, network and security were discussed by not only Nokia executives, but also its industry partners, its telco customers, start-ups, government agencies and end users. Despite the diverse topics, the presentations and discussions throughout the event focused around digital transformation themes.

Nokia’s Roles in Digital Transformation

Digital transformation has been a hot topic for many years. From an industry perspective, it means using digital technologies to transform organizations both internally (user experience) and externally (customer experience). Nokia’s role in digital transformation is mainly in enabling the latest network technologies to address the rapid change of users’ demands, leveraging its leadership and experience in network services. Having strong relationships with telcos, Nokia uses them as its main channel to enable the digital transformation for enterprises through: (i) sell-to telcos, where the latest technologies, such as 5G, SDN and cloud, are be deployed within the telco’s network; as well as (ii) sell-through telcos, where Nokia partners with telcos to provide vertical-specific solutions such as IoT and SD-WAN to enterprises.

The Challenges with Its Main Digital Transformation Channel in Emerging Markets

Having its own network infrastructure and carrying a high brand value in the market, telcos are no doubt in a good position to digitally transform enterprises with Nokia’s products/services. While telcos in developed markets have been successful in leveraging latest technologies such as SDN and IoT to address enterprise challenges, telcos in emerging markets are not moving as fast as technologies. For example, a Malaysian telco launched public cloud services ten years ago, but struggled with the take-up rate; the same struggle remains today. The slow ICT adoption is mainly due to the market perception (enterprises still see telcos as connectivity providers, not as digital transformation partners), economic factors (lower purchasing power compared to developed countries) and passive actions taken by governments to regulate and drive new technologies.

Recommendation for Nokia

However, the challenge in the emerging market could also be seen as an opportunity for Nokia. The vendor needs to work more closely with the other business units within telcos such as the marketing team (to further understand enterprise personas and spending behaviours) and the product team (to develop integrated solutions and/or use cases that specifically address enterprises’ challenges). Also, as Nokia is strengthening its position in the enterprise market, it is important for the vendor to continue to focus on particular solutions and verticals, such as IoT in energy, the public sector and transportation, instead of going across all industries.

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