Who could forget the viral BBC clip with Dr. Robert Kelly being interrupted by his children during a live interview? At that moment everybody thought it was funny or cute. But nobody could have predicted since that moment that COVID-19 would make this a more regular occurrence, as life as we know it changed dramatically; the way we live, the way we work, our purchases, our routines – every aspect of our lives.
At Telefónica, we lived it in the same way as many other companies at the beginning: concerned and uncertain about the future while working hard to use our technologies and networks to benefit society and our people. From one day to another, 95 percent of our employees were teleworking around the world using exactly the same tools we sell to our customers. And now we are really proud to say that we were prepared for the unexpected crisis and we are prepared to face the arising situation. Throughout our almost century-old history, Telefónica has experienced crisis situations at different times and in different countries, but now it’s time to look forward and #StartOver.
Our Role Post-COVID-19
While the impact of the global pandemic cannot be understated, as telecommunications providers we have been identified as essential services, which means our role in society has gained value and importance as we help the world adapt to the “new normal.”
At Telefónica International Wholesale Services (TIWS), we are committed to ensuring business continuity for our customers. Looking ahead, I believe we also have a responsibility to provide them with the right tools to help them safeguard their own customers’ business and drive digitalization in a post-COVID-19 world.
Change Starts at Home
If you are going to take your customers on this digitalization journey, it stands to reason that you have taken that path yourself. Although the pace of change in our industry means it is a continual journey, we have already started our own transformation making us well-placed to support our customers. Our experience will be invaluable to other companies, particularly when the new market landscape creates so many other challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
The wholesale market is characterized by constant change and evolution, and as wholesalers we must reinvent ourselves to stay relevant when our traditional products and services are being commoditized. I believe it is critical that we redefine our strategies to take advantage of the benefits that digital transformation brings.
Equally important is to reinvent ourselves through innovation. At TIWS, by leveraging technologies such as network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN), we have become more efficient and flexible to meet our customers’ demands.
A Customer-centric Strategy is Key
Digital transformation also means that we need to change the way we interact with our customers and deliver a fully digital experience. We believe that having the right tools to enable customers to consume services and products in a more dynamic and flexible way, such as real-time provisioning and self-ordering through web portals is key.
We have also transformed our internal processes through automation and simplification to be more efficient and agile, while adding services to our portfolio that respond to our customers’ needs.
To ensure the continuity of our customers’ companies and their enterprise customers, we offer the following approach:
- Ensure the operation and revenues of the current business
- Prepare companies to successfully emerge from the COVID-19 crisis
- Improve and optimize current processes
- Update management models
- Reinforce existing capabilities
2020 has brought significant challenges on an unprecedented scale. I am optimistic that the work we have done, the solutions we offer, and the strategies we have put in place will allow us to be the partners our customers need to be able to navigate the world after COVID-19 and continue to be successful.