9/23/2009 1:02:00 PM
Consolidation of services – essential for modern business
If UK businesses reviewed and consolidated essential services such as communications, they could stand to save a staggering £1.2bn. This sounds almost unbelievable, but it’s true.
Business in the UK is failing to consolidate its technology, telecom and utility services at a huge cost. Yet in our industry, we are hearing more and more from customers who tell us they no longer want multiple suppliers – they want one who can give them everything they need.
Earlier this year, Telefónica signed a deal with DHL to provide services to its European business across 28 countries, bringing together over 80 suppliers into one home, providing cost savings of around €150m over five years.
This showed us that business across the world is looking for ways to drive efficiency and cost savings by reducing the number of suppliers and consolidating their services. Telefónica is now providing managed internet access, fixed and wireless local area network (LAN) services, fixed voice, mobile voice and data as well as network security, service management and billing.
The deal with DHL is only the tip of the iceberg. Whether it is voice, data, fixed line, mobile or other technologies, we now need to supply multiple services in a way that business wants and needs it. It is no longer good enough to tell a customer: ‘This is what you need’. We must embrace these changes and become even more customer centric – no more one size fits all.
As an industry, we have to start creating teams of specialists in this area, i.e a sales team that is non-confrontational and listens to what customers need – and acts on it.
The £1.2bn figure I mentioned earlier comes from research that O2 recently carried out with Henley Business School. This also highlighted the complexity of deals on offer and a general apathy towards change within the business community, two of the key drivers that stop businesses from consolidating and making potential cost savings and efficiencies.
Offering converged solutions sounds simple to us in the industry, but in the current financial climate we have got to listen to our customers. What they want are simple, straightforward solutions that take away complexities.
Consolidation is happening in the marketplace both for networks and dealers. As a result, customers are demanding better service and suppliers that can deliver multiple services not just locally but internationally. This will inevitably mean that the strong will get stronger and the weak will get weaker. It will also force us all to up our game in order to deliver the best customer experiences.