Over the past few years, digital disruptors have transformed our world. Amazon has disrupted retail, Uber has disrupted transport and Airbnb has disrupted accommodation. New disruptors emerge each year, forever changing how we live our lives, from how we can make the most of our homes to how we can monetise our unused possessions. It’s only a matter of time before the telecoms market is disrupted, so why not get in there first and make your VNO the next digital disruptor?
Regardless of the industry they operate in, disruptors have four common traits that your VNO can emulate:
1. Understand your customers and predict the next big trend
If you ask your customers what they want and follow their recommendations, it is unlikely that you will disrupt the market. As Steve Jobs once said, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Instead, you need to know your customers so well that you can recognise trends and predict the next big thing. Analytics software is essential for getting an accurate picture of your customers and spotting trends. Learn more in our blog post on how analytical insight can transform your VNO.
So, any ideas on what the next big thing will be? Our money is on servicisation - accessing services instead of owning products - and your VNO could be at the heart the access economy.
2. Behave like an outsider
The cliché ‘thinking outside the box’ applies well to the world of digital disruption. It is useful to think and behave as though you have come from a different industry so that you can set aside the perceived wisdom around business models and start to see the opportunities. Industry insiders are less likely to take risks, but as an honorary outsider, you can do things differently. A new approach will enable you to differentiate your products and services in an industry that is on the verge of commoditisation.
3. Adopt an agile approach to product development
Mass adoption happens more quickly these days. As the image below shows, today’s digital ecosystem enables new products to gain a user base of 50 million in just a few weeks; a feat that was unthinkable even five years ago.
But the flipside of rapid mass adoption is that the product lifecycle is now much shorter. This means that you must develop and release new products more quickly and ensure that you are constantly responding to changing market conditions. Luckily, VNOs have an advantage over MNOs in this respect as they are smaller and generally have newer systems that can be configured more easily.
As well as reducing your time to market, adopting an agile approach also creates brand ambassadors as the customers you use for beta testing take pride in having co-created the product. Co-creation is the ultimate personalisation, which is increasingly important to consumers, particularly Millennials.
4. Embrace new technologies and channels
Few people would describe the established carriers as innovative, but once upon a time they were. It’s clear then that you must embrace changing technologies and continue to innovate to avoid stagnating. In order to do this, choose an asset-light approach so that you can respond to changes more quickly. Rather than investing in a core network, HLR and billing system, use cloud-hosted services for real-time rating, billing and CRM. Real-time rating eliminates the distinction between pre-pay and post-pay, allowing you to create exciting new hybrid pay-anytime propositions. It also has the added bonus of reducing your customer care costs by allowing your customers to serve themselves as they can check their usage and purchase bundles whenever they like.
 'Number of years it took for each product to gain 50 million users', Steemit, https://steemit.com/steemit/@penguinpablo/on-the-road-to-50-million-steem-users/