Derek McManus recently spoke with Ralf Dreischmeier of BCG about technology’s role in the rapidly evolving mobile-communications industry, how O2 is using technology to its advantage, and the transformation he is leading to drive that effort—in short, his company’s use of technology as a strategic weapon.
Derek, the mobile industry’s competitive backdrop continues to shift. What do you see as today’s key challenges for industry participants and in particular for O2?
It’s all about data. We’ve seen a general explosion of data over the last several years, and over the last 18 months or so we’ve seen that explosion happen in mobile. This has three implications for the industry and O2. First, customers are now using data completely differently—they’re on the move, and they’re always connected—and their expectations are changing very quickly. So the first challenge for us is to understand and deliver what customers need—and to do so in a way that’s different from our traditional model. Challenge number two is about the economics of data. How can we monetize customers’ demand for data? And how do we change our investment in technology to support the necessary delivery capabilities?
The third challenge is a combination of the first two. Because of data, we have to change how we run our business—how we market, how we service, and how the technology teams underpin the capability. And we need to do this in a way that keeps us apace of the changes happening in data while we simultaneously run our business from day to day and continue to be successful in our marketplace.