Fast track to the future
by Yogesh Malik
In my twenty years of living and breathing technology, only one thing remains consistent: this industry never stands still. Customers’ needs are forever changing it. Software and devices that were cutting edge and innovative a few years ago are now commonplace and normal. My children’s generation can’t imagine a world without an internet connection or a smartphone. The pace of change is simply breath-taking, and to stay ahead, we must embrace change, looking far beyond the immediate future and instead of playing catch-up we must now prepare to cater for the next generation of customers.
Technology has already disrupted the way that industries as diverse as retail, financial services and telecoms operate. Advances such as the Internet of Things and customer data insights are changing the game for telcos now, too. To stay ahead of the curve we need to leapfrog existing industry models and legacies. There is no room for complacency in any industry.
This is especially true for technology companies such as VimpelCom, operating in a variety of markets where the needs of our end customers are diverse but where participants need to have a new mindset. In these markets, there is no blueprint for success, and innovation can be implemented instantly. For VimpelCom this means we can embrace the opportunity to start from the ground up, building an operating model that’s agile, adaptable to the needs of each of its markets and at the same time is future-proof and resilient enough to roll with the punches.
It is against this backdrop that VimpelCom is launching its new Digital Stack, an ambitious digital technology that will completely overhaul the way we manage business support systems across 11 markets to date. It is the largest transformation project in the industry up to now and the first to take place on a global scale, implementing truly innovative solutions built with our customers in mind.
For the most part, our footprint has developed country by country, with different technologies, partnerships and protocols. Put simply, by migrating all software systems that VimpelCom currently has on to one cloud-based platform, we will be able to analyze data in order to offer our customers streamlined services in real-time. And imagine, we’re talking about the data generated by over 200 million customers each second of the day; data that, with this streamlined approach, really does matter for making our services tailored to customers’ needs. This is the only way we can really get closer to them.
The Digital Stack will turbo-charge our product and service development, giving us access to near real-time analytics that will open up a host of possibilities to provide truly personalized services and a better customer experience on all levels.
Working in frontier markets is hugely exciting because of the tremendous opportunity to roll out innovation that reaches more and more people, and bring many of them online for the first time. Our heritage as a technology pioneer is now more inspiring than ever, as we prepare to serve the next generation of customers, who are first-time smartphones owners. For Generation Z, services like Uber, Whatsapp and Viber are an obvious way to request instant service response. To be in the same space and meet customers’demands, we need to be able to provide the same level of smart data management on a huge scale. We are reinventing our systems to make that happen. And this is a fundamental part of VimpelCom’s digital transformation journey.
As I watch my son’s generation interacting with each other using smartphones and tablets, it’s clear to me that even as devices come and go, connectivity and services delivered in the right way, at the right place and time are only going to become a bigger and bigger part of our future. Only companies that understand their customers’ digital lives , and deliver what they want, will have a place in that future.