Businesses across industries are embracing agility. And there’s a good reason for this trend. Rapid changes in competition, ever-growing technological advances, and various regulations have forced organizations to change their business models and adapt quickly. Based on the recent McKinsey’ survey, 44 % of respondents had already started or completed an agile transformation, while another 19 % reported that they were preparing to launch an agile transformation.  

But, for industries like Telco that still heavily depend on legacy IT systems, there are many industry-specific challenges they typically encounter on this journey. While telco leaders are well aware of the fact that agility has become imperative, they are still unsure whether now is the right time to make the transition.  

From our extensive experience working with some of the telco giants, we have learned that telcos fear falling into different traps when planning to go agile. We have also learned that most of them face the same hurdles mostly because they have been using the same business model for decades. In other words, bringing any changes to their existing model seems to be a long and winding road.

We managed to identify key challenges telcos encounter on their digital transformation journey:

  • Extensive network planning processes — Telcos are experiencing a significant amount of network planning work across Europe due to FTTH rollout  
  • High cost of engineering teams — A highly variable workload around network planning requires telcos to have expensive network planning teams that are either extremely busy or often idle, which leads to a large and fixed cost liability
  • Legacy IT Systems and a Broad Network — Most telcos heavily rely on legacy IT systems, a broad network, and antiquated network planning tools that don’t leverage the Cloud
  • Heavy reliance on Waterfall Methodology — Most telcos base their operations on a traditional Waterfall methodology, which can be highly inefficient when compared to an iterative agile methodology.  
  • Historically High Costs of Failure —Traditional telcos tend to see failure as too expensive and recovery periods as prohibitive. Moving from a waterfall approach to agile-driven fast cycles involves a paradigm shift for the organizations

Bojan Sukalo Agile teams in Telco Telco HTEC Group

How can HTEC Help Telcos Lead Agile Change?

HTEC is on a mission to help organizations transform by introducing agile principles and using agile development with our clients. With telco being one of the industries which are lagging behind when it comes to leading agile change, we have been practicing a unique approach to empowering their teams to make decisions to a degree required to foster an agile way of working. We have been quite successful in our efforts and have seen outstanding results in creating agile teams with some of the world’s leading integrated telecommunications companies.  

Powered by the synergy of our Agile Scrum approach and harmonious discovery and delivery teams and processes, we enable product innovation in perpetuity, empowering teams to own the essence of the idea while we translate it into a tangible product.  

Agile Teams in Telco
Graph: Agile Methodology Explained

How we help telcos embrace agile:

  • Our teams are built around a very fast-paced, agile environment, with Silicon Valley DNA, with a good balance of medior and senior people in the team
  • Teams are led by top-tier network engineers with FTTH deployment experience
  • We rely on automated network planning software built on top of AutoCAD plus other open-source solutions
  • We deploy agile methodologies for maximum efficiency

The impact we make:

  • Better systems visibility that significantly decreases unnecessary costs, eliminates damage and increases ROI
  • We are the pioneers of implementing the agile model in working with telco companies and have witnessed a major success
  • We succeeded in enabling innovation in team management and project documentation for companies that haven’t seen innovation in decades
  • Increased flexibility enabling the client to adjust resources over time  
  • Reduced total cost of service delivery through improved methodology, tooling, and resource utilization deployed across a nearshore solution

In most design processes applied so far, a task is usually submitted to designers, who work on it and then send it to the client for revision after completion. Once the client completes the revision followed by relevant feedback (the process which can last for months), they return the documents to the planners who hen have to perform specific corrections in accordance with the client’s needs. As a result, the design team needs to allocate more time to make the necessary and required changes to the project. This leads to a huge waste of time for both parties in the process. On the other hand, an agile approach solves this challenge by allowing the audit of completed tasks and the project on a daily basis which provides the client with a clear insight into each and every step of the design process in real-time.” — Nenad Latinovic, Engineering Lead at HTEC Group  

The leaders of tomorrow will have to practice a holistic approach to transformation and act now. Only by embracing the change, they will be able to transform their organization’s DNA and get ahead of the game. Agility is one of the key innovation enablers that will set the stage for this transition.

“When looking for an ideal solution how to help telcos embrace agility and transform, we at HTEC realized that the entire process resembles the planning process in software development. It requires multiple teams and workstreams, virtual teams, and sourcing top talent from various locations across the globe. We realized that doing the planning in the same organizational way as we do when it comes to building software is the way to go here. So far it has proven to be a great success.” — Bojan Sukalo, Director, Engineering and Delivery, HTEC Group  

Agile Teams in Telco Nenad Latinovic

The whole telco pain point we are trying to tackle is the outdated project methodologies. Most of the telco companies, if not all of them, are using Waterfall methodology. On the other hand, although more than 70 percent of companies report that agile is their top priority, we haven’t seen the extent of implementing agile in telco teams. As a matter of fact, it’s quite rare. This as a result made the whole industry stagnate — the technologies in use are “dinosaurs” and developers are basically non-existent in the job market. Our approach of empowering telcos to make the transition and outperform their competitors by relying on agile teams resulted in better system visibility, significantly reduced costs, much higher efficiency, and increased ROI. We are among the first to succeed in powering up telcos to step up their game with agile teams as their innovation enablers.” — Nenad Latinovic, Engineering Lead at HTEC Group  

Unlock Growth Beyond Connectivity Through Agile

The next generation of telcos will be led by leaders who are bold enough to embrace the change, to be able to seize untapped growth. Implementing an agility model is critical for their reinvention. We have experience working with leading telco companies in Europe and we now witness increasing interest not just among telco companies but in general infrastructure planning.  

Are you a change-maker ready to move to scale fast? Connect with Bojan Sukalo and Nenad Latinovic to discuss ideas on how to help you lead agile change.  

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