Digital transformation within enterprise provides a huge opportunity for telcos
Mike Zirkle, Verizon's executive director of transformation, says telcos must be responsive to the needs of major corporate customers as they adapt to a shifting geopolitical landscape
It’s not only telecoms operators that are facing the
challenge of transformation. So are their corporate customers. And that
transformation affects the services multinational companies want from the big
telecoms service providers – or are likely to want in the future.
That’s why, when Mike Zirkle says his job title is executive
director of transformation at Verizon, he’s quick to point out he’s not leading
Verizon’s advance into the era of virtualisation, software-defined networks and
“What we mean when we talk about ‘transformation’ is the
adaptive enterprise,” says Zirkle. “We’re not crossing boundaries with product
and marketing, but we are concerned about how we think customers will want to
contract and build their services in the future.”
He’s looking not at the next quarter or the next year, but
he has “multiple time horizons”, he says, adding: “I’m focused on large
national and regional customers. I’m really focused on the enterprise customer
base. How is HSBC going to change?” He quickly adds the footnote that he’s not
specifically talking about HSBC, but he’s using the global bank as an example
of the sort of organisation he has to work with and think about.
“Multinational companies are shifting. The geopolitical
landscape is forcing relocation. Some are pausing and re-evaluating.”
Enterprises are not like consumers, which churn from one
provider to another after a year or two. The relationship between a
multinational corporation and its telecoms partner goes on for years – but that
means the telco has to adapt to the corporation’s changing needs.
“We have to be able to respond to how customers want to
react to us,” says Zirkle. “We want to offer a single standard [or services]
globally, but we need to be flexible according to what the customer wants.”
But many of the same needs apply in the world of enterprise
telecoms as in consumer telecoms. “We’re starting from customer experience,
looking at our processes first,” says Zirkle. A consumer-focused executive from
Orange or Vodafone – or indeed Verizon Wireless – might use exactly the same
The full interview with Verizon's Mike Zirkle will be published in 153 of Global Telecoms Business, which will be published on 30 July.