From CSP To DSP: Is the COVID-19 Crisis a Partner or Another Steppingstone? (2020)

By Javier Ger, Telecom Argentina; Claudio Saes, Bell Labs Consulting

The COVID-19 health crisis is one of those unique transformative moments in time, resembling the effects of wars, economic, political, or governmental crisis. After a few months, human beings are trying to adjust to the changes triggered by social distancing effects.

Customer service providers (CSPs) are in the center of this cataclysm, providing the connection between people, entertainment, retail, hospitals, and governments, accelerating the need for more significant usage of digital services. The major part of the CSPs is embracing the journey to becoming a digital service provider (DSP). Being a DSP will require providers to attend to dynamic customers' demands. It will need to be part of a broader ecosystem of participants to offer not only connectivity but a full suite of digital products and agile services to end customers and partners with a complex business model—and finally increasing their value share in the market.

However, as COVID-19 lockdowns extend, the impacts in the macro-economies are profoundly affecting the population and the CSP's cash flows, forcing them to limit or even stop their investments for a few months. This change management process is shifting the CSP's focus to a myopic investment mode and adding to it telecom industry supply chain disruption shortage, this scenario is the recipe for stagnation.

Against all the odds, some CSPs are finding the creativity and the innovation to meet their customer's needs, but still far from the disruption model proposed by the digital transformation initiatives.

In this paper, the authors will examine the impacts and trade-offs of COVID-19 into societies, industries, economy, and the information and communications technology (ICT) market, reflecting on some post COVID initiatives CSPs should embrace to expedite the informal labor economy, meet new digital consumer habits, attend public safety requisites and, definitively, reestablish its course to a sustainable digital service provider path.

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