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Upgrading infrastructure to build and drive customer experiences

October 6, 2021

Andrew Yeong   

Head of Sales for APAC

In this blog Andrew Yeong, Vice President and Head of Sales, APAC region, Tata Communications,  shares how network transformation is helping create the customer experiences that businesses need to remain competitive in an increasingly digital world.

The acceleration of digitisation experienced by the consumer and public sectors over the last year has fostered a brand-new landscape, one that many business leaders are still trying to wrap their heads around.

As a digital ecosystem enabler, we have moved closer than ever before to our customers. We’ve had to offer unique support and guidance through these uncertain times, as many undergo rapid network transformations.

However, no one has been exempted from the disruption caused by this crisis, and we are all benefiting from each other’s experiences. That’s why events such as the CIO & CISO Challenges roundtable are so beneficial –  it’s not only an opportunity for us to share our knowledge with an audience, but also with each other.

Cloud, customer experience and agility

During my years as Vice President and Head of Sales for the APAC region at Tata Communications, I’ve been lucky to witness growth across the region, even before the pandemic supercharged everything.

In the last year specifically, businesses have seen a huge shift in their operating models.

“With a new digital focus and a hybrid working model to contend with, organisations had to re-evaluate how they enable their employees with tools and technology to continue to collaborate and drive customer experiences, while upgrading infrastructure to meet this new demand.”

This intense clamour for more last mile remote access and bandwidth access has left businesses seeking solutions with speed, accessibility, mobility and security. We’ve focused on three broader trends that we believe will best enable this.

The first is the need for enterprises to move away from traditional business solutions, such as remote VPN access to corporate networks, in favour of faster, more secure access solutions, such as Security-as-a-service (SaaS), that offer more seamless experiences. Next is the need to ensure that the experiences that businesses have worked so hard to develop and mainly for their customers are now delivering the highest quality of service across the network. This is to ensure seamless high availability and ubiquitous access to their products and services that are now progressively digital and borderless. New forms of competition are taking shape to challenge legacy companies and customers would not hesitate to cross over to products and services with better customer experiences.

“The customer experience can’t afford to be subpar as we have customers in banking, manufacturing, and in healthcare that demand the highest service levels in quality from us. And they want it omnichannel and ever-present – anytime, anywhere.”

Finally, every application or platform we build needs to be agile, responsive, and self-service to a certain extent. And with the dissolution of the office perimeter, along with the rising popularity of hybrid working, there is increasing priority being placed by businesses on building security into every element of their product line.  However, getting too tight on security hampers the ease of adoption and customer experiences.

Organisations pursuing these goals often lack the skill and knowledge to bring them to fruition. That’s why you need to constantly work along with your customers. At Tata Communications, we want to bring businesses closer and have a ‘single pane of glass’ across their network, security, and cloud, and provide what we truly believe in – seamless communication.

Creating the right tools                                      

Understanding how best to implement the above elements is different in every business across different industries across multitude of countries in Asia Pacific. Moving closer to the customers allows Tata Communications to better understand those individual enterprise business challenges and find the best approach to address them. Working across multiple local Telcos or vendors will fail to get the necessary synergies, synchronisations and services levels that are required for transforming into an agile Internet-first and Cloud-first organisation.

For instance, we will soon be shipping out low-cost customer-premises equipment (CPE) that allows for a pop-up store to have a pop-up network. We created it for a luxury brand because they wanted agility to have newly pop-up stores but wanted the ease of setting this up back as an integrated solution. We are able to ship centrally to their HQ for their deployment anywhere in the world with the shortest lead time to get connected and running. It can be re-deployed once the pop-up store moves to another location. This use case is relevant to many other industries like property showrooms, health-screening centers, edge field laboratories etc. we understood that this form of agility will fundamentally change the way they are able to do business in the future.

“As we go forward, the experience of the last 20 years which has seen us go from 2G to 4G, and 5G and 6G soon, will mean things are going to change. Will 5G replace Wi-Fi at home? Will the home become the new subdomain of the office?”

That’s why it’s crucial that businesses keep a keen eye on the trends impacting the industry, whilst remaining open and agile. That way, you can really listen to the customer and better understand the right innovations to pursue.

Success is ultimately determined by how customers perceive the service provided, regardless of how tall an order is. For instance, one of our customers in the automotive industry had a dream of being able to have their content and applications distributed across all the countries they were in, through cloud.

To achieve this, we developed a predictive network innovation that was able to source new networks for the vehicle 30-minutes-in-advance. This created the most stable network service for the onboard entertainment systems.

However, we also considered the regulatory angle of the innovation as data governance is a crucial element. So, after we acquired all the securities and protections we needed and conducted an innovation job development, we were able to implement a Scenario Service Provider (SSP) solution that they were happy with and this is being deployed as we speak.

And it’s the same across other industries, from media companies to manufacturing – customer success is when one enjoys a seamless omnichannel experience. And that simply can’t be delivered without strong, consistent connectivity.

Remaining flexible for the future

There are still a lot of questions in the near future to be answered, including questions on sustainability and security issues but the bottom line is data will continue to play a huge role in business performance. That’s why we’re working to be as agile as possible and ensure our technologies enable enterprises to do the same.

I’ll end with a quote from George Westerman, a research scientist at the MIT Center for Digital Business. I think this encapsulates the need to always make sure we’re keeping a long-term focus on the challenges people have, and not just on the technology we’re creating:

“When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. But when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”

To read more about how the workplace is changing and how network transformation will be integral to that change, check out this blog on secure-by-design networks for digital transformation.