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3 Digital Things Mobile Operators Aren’t Doing for Enterprises but Should

Solely providing basic mobility services to businesses can make operators more similar to digital gatekeepers than enablers.

The mobile industry’s overwhelming attention on 5G issues tends to obscure even more pressing opportunities for mobile operators. Enterprises have been accelerating their own innovations on top of mobile technologies for years, and any delays by mobile operators increase the risk of missing a substantial opportunity to act as a critical strategic technology partner. This may cause enterprises to view operators as gatekeepers that suppress innovation rather than partners that enable it.

Here are three things mobile operators are not doing for enterprises today but probably should.

1. Change the Consumption Model

Most discussions relating to the goals for digital transformation include a focus on simplification. Making it easier for customers to access networks and services is a common strategic goal. And yet, these discussions frequently do not address the idea of changing the consumption model to align with enterprise demand.

Enterprises already consume IT services via APIs and have come to prefer and expect a high degree of automation and self-service capabilities when they want to access data or functionality via the cloud or integrate these capabilities with their own processes and IT stacks. Mobile operators have not yet successfully shifted the way they provide services to enterprises to align with this new approach. This could prove to be the biggest hurdle in winning new market opportunities in which the operator acts as the enabler of cloud- and mobile-connected applications. No matter how much or how useful new embedded tech is in the network, mobile operators will miss an opportunity if it’s not easy for enterprises to consume or aligned with the methods and skillsets enterprises now employ.

2. Integrate On-Device AI and Voice Control Features

Mobile technology becomes really interesting as it expands beyond network connectivity and introduces new capabilities that combine mobility with ease of use, instantaneous access to data, more hands-free capabilities and digital assistants. A simple example is voice control and AI-driven assistance, which can eliminate the need for field techs to thumb-type commands or data into forms on a tablet. Once users can talk to mobile devices, assign tasks to them using natural language and expect those tasks to be completed nearly instantaneously, it will radically change the breadth and depth of mobility’s role in the enterprise workplace. The problem is that service providers have not yet made these types of capabilities part of their commercial product catalog. The longer they wait, the more outdated their offerings will appear to technically adept enterprises with increasing demand for mobility tech. Over-the-top competitors are already leading the way to bring these new technologies to market and make them easily consumable for large enterprises.

3. Provide Data Management and Analysis to the Enterprise on Its User Base

As mobility continues to become increasingly central to enterprises’ day-to-day operations, there’s a mountain of data related to it that is useful to enterprises, particularly if that data can be boiled down into actionable insights that meet specific customer needs. From basics like usage and cost data to metrics derived from changes in location or corporate policy enforcement around app usage, information about how, when, where and why enterprises are using mobility services and devices has substantial value. Many service providers today don’t offer much beyond billing, usage and device inventory information. Engaging with enterprises around data management and analysis and subsequently finding ways to cater to those needs with value-added services, not just the raw data, represent a market opportunity and an important customer experience factor.

These are just a few ways mobile operators can improve how they serve large enterprises. This white paper on growing revenue in B2B markets provides more detailed insights on how service providers can rapidly deliver valuable B2B services to enterprise customers.