Could it be possible? Is the telco industry’s biggest constraint a shortage of bridge builders? (part 1)

I’m currently lucky enough to be involved in a couple of vendor selection processes where we’re helping carriers (buyers) to find the best-fit OSS vendors (sellers) for their needs.

Most start a vendor selection process by preparing a looooong list of requirements. This approach takes forever to write, forever to respond to and forever to evaluate. Yep, that’s three forevers and we haven’t even gotten to the detailed evaluation phase yet. It costs a fortune in money and time to run a typical RFP process for buyers and sellers alike.

By contrast, we start off the process by reviewing all 500+ listings in our vendor database and then apply a couple of quick filters to get down to a short-list of candidate vendors.

But I’m getting side-tracked that’s not the main part of the story I want to share.

We’re now down to the really interesting part of the procurement process. The vendor demos. I love this part of the process because I get to see the many outstanding products that are available on the market to service almost every need a carrier / buyer might have.

I’m not implying vendor solutions are ever a 100% perfect fit, but it’s always awesome to see the buyers realise that a great-fit solution is going to deliver capabilities that exceed their current state.

Unfortunately, it also makes me realise that one of the big reasons why the telco industry is significantly hampered today is because so many telcos have sub-optimal OSS tools that are stifling operational efficiency. This is particularly challenging / frustrating because there are almost always better options just waiting to be used out there on the OSS supplier market.

Have you ever thought about the implications of that?

The buyers (carriers) desperately need better tools.

The sellers (vendors) already have better tools, which they desperately want to sell.

So what’s stopping them just getting together and transacting?

Perhaps the picture below helps to tell the story. Each one desperately needs the other but there’s a massive chasm between them. Perhaps the picture doesn’t even do justice to how wide this chasm is in reality.

The chasm between the buyer’s current state and a more desirable future state manifests across many factors, including:

  • Layers of risk and uncertainty and fear around:
    • Costs
    • Implementation time
    • Organisational and operational and individual change
    • Imperfect knowledge of scope
    • Imperfect knowledge of the supplier market
    • Project Complexity
  • Skills and know-how gaps
  • Layers of friction and complexity in the sales cycle

The gap between current state and the promised land for many telcos is as “simple” as being able to find a way to cross this chasm to partner with a great-fit partner.

But the fear and other impediments to transformation is massive.

When the pain of change is larger than the pain of same, no transformation happens.

Buyers and sellers remain separated even though both desperately need each other.

The path to greater operational efficiency and profitability for whole swathes of the telco industry is finding effective bridge builders that can plot a multi-faceted path across the chasm between buyers and sellers.

I’m currently in the process of turning a whiteboard full of ideas about this into our next video for our YouTube channel.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you a buyer? Or a seller? What are the challenges you’re facing? What ideas do you have for streamlining the path across the chasm? Is there even a chasm at all and I’m just being delusional? Leave us a comment below.



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