It’s that time of year again – when otherwise sane and intelligent people decide that for the next 40 days they are not going to eat any chocolate, drink any alcohol, have more than one coffee a day, or order chips with their burgers. It’s going to be salads and water all the way for the period known as “Lent”.
And while the religious heritage of Lent is only loosely remembered by some, and counted differently by others*; the 40 days beginning this year from February 18 (after Shrove Tuesday, aka Pancake Day), have become closely associated with various acts of abstinence.
And as the Mobile World Congress this year falls right in the middle of Lent, we turned our minds to what the delegates, and the operator community in particular, might decide to give up – not just for Lent or MWC, but maybe for all time.
Let’s be honest – alcohol, chocolate, chips and coffee are pretty much the staple diet of MWC week, but there are plenty of other things that the operators and vendors could look to forsake.
Staying with the diet theme – how about operators giving up those unprofitable “all you can eat” tariffs. Problem is, consumers love them – so operators need to give up delivering the endless feast at a loss, and look for ways of keeping their finance director happy as well as their customers.
Should operators start giving up hardware? Well, the completely virtual network is some way off yet, but more and more functions are being delivered by software so maybe operators should start giving up their reliance on the big boxes, and reduce their hardware intake to become more flexible, more able to deliver rapid innovation – and more profitable?
More profit means more to invest. Operator networks are getting more and more complex; and in a LTE world the line between voice and data traffic is blurred to say the least. We think it’s time to give up ‘patching the trousers’ – the practice where IT systems, sometimes originally designed for an analogue world, get “upgraded” to cope with today’s digital content, consumers and communities.
It’s not really an ‘upgrade’ at all; it’s more ‘let’s put off making this properly fit for purpose’. Networks shouldn’t be designed to ‘cope’ – they need to be the seamless conduit for today’s connected world. Operators need to give up putting off the decision to renew rather than repair.
And speaking of getting with the digital programme – isn’t it time for customer service practices to give up being so bad and enter the 21st century? Isn’t it time that the assistant in the retail store knows our last online interaction with the brand, and can see the last service complaint we tweeted or the Facebook like we posted?
Isn’t it time both the call centre and the self-service app had our identical history to hand? It’s time for operators, vendors, retailers and service providers of every description to give up multiple, disparate, customer profiles and harmonise all their consumer channels into one unified view.
Of course, one thing nobody is going to give up for MWC, or for Lent, is selling. There will be plenty of that going on in Barcelona. And to be truthful – if we think the operators should be giving up some of those “vices” listed above; that’s because we have some tools that can help.
You’ll find us in Hall 7 if you want some “dietary” advice…. And we have beer, coffee and chocolate. But no chips. We’re giving them up for Lent.
Note: *It is generally agreed that Lent starts after Shrove Tuesday and ends at Easter. Many people believe it ends on Easter Sunday, and unwrap their Easter eggs to renew their acquaintance with chocolate accordingly. This is because they don’t count the Sundays. Actually counting 40 days from February 18 will take you to March 29 – the Sunday before the Easter weekend.
Author: Kevin Taylor