As an industry, telecommunications is not very successful when it comes to customer engagement, according to Dr. Khaled Biyari, CEO, STC group.
In his opening keynote at the Telecoms World Middle East 2017, he spoke about the transformation of the telco industry in the evolving digital paradigm. He said that it's essential to ensure that customer experience becomes a major KPI for all the telco executives across the board. "That's the only way we can act as digital players," Dr. Biyari added.
He further spoke about how in spite of a huge need and interest in transformation across the region, the reality unfortunately is not so good. Recent studies by McKinsey have shown that the contribution of digital economy to Middle East GDP is less than 5%. The digitisation index shows significant disparity between the various countries. Digital governance still has a long way to go. The Middle East region has a minimal 10% of the VC funding as compared to US, relative to GDP. And in all this time, the region has only two unicorns to its credit- Careem and souq.com.
With a note of optimism, Dr. Biyari added that amidst all this, there surely is a huge potential for telcos to pitch in and lead on the way to a digital economy. Being the backbone of the industry, they have lots of opportunities to make significant contribution to this, he said.
Going forward, there are five main factors according to Dr. Biyari, which can accelerate digitisation- the governments and their ability to draw digital agenda; businesses and their ability to alter their models with digital efficiencies; funding for innovative start-ups; development of talent and capabilities; and a sound regulatory environment to create a conducive environment for investment.