A global marketplace requires global-ready communications. This means that every player in business has had to adapt to changes rapidly – and technology is moving fast. Less than a couple of decades ago, super-fast wireless communication was seen as a major achievement. Today, it’s a basic customer expectation. Nor is it simply a question of portability; good network design, reliability and speed is paramount. People want to stream in 4K, take calls in high def, and transmit gigabytes of data in a matter of moments – especially as the COVID-19 crisis ushered in an explosion in home working.
The key to delivering on this expectation is the large-scale deployment of fibre optics. Remarkably, it’s been 150 years since Field laid a fibre optic cable across the Atlantic; but it took until the 1980s for this glass cable to reach between Tuckerton, USA and Penmarch, France. TAT-8, as it was known, cost $350 million USD to implement and was in service until 2002.
But how the world has changed. Thanks to strategic allies, these next-generation networks are a tangible reality – and their implementation a route to market leadership. Here, we discuss why fibre deployment should be top of the agenda in telco and how to source these so-called strategic allies via agile talent recruitment strategies.
Table of Contents
Fibre in a new business environment
Today, the global fibre network has come on leaps and bounds from TAT-8. Now, a map of the world’s fibre optic coverage is an extensive web of connections. Take the Spanish market as just one example; by the end of September 2018, there were 8.04 million Spanish fibre optic customers in a market with a turnover of more than €24 billion. Now, fibre accounts for 55% of telco’s business in Spain.
These figures account for almost a twofold increase in uptake of fibre optic connections over regular ADSL broadband, which, in contrast, lost over a million customers over the course of the same year. This market dominance continues into 2019, where more and more consumers are switching to the fibre optic network. In Latvia and Lithuania, for instance, market penetration for fibre is nearing 50%. However, some nations are lagging behind; the UK, for instance, still isn’t exploiting the full extent of fibre network potential.
Companies know the advantage that internal fibre optic networks can bring: they effectively guarantee effective connectivity and operations. Today, the organisation and analysis of big data, the cloud, remote working, video conferencing, and the secure transmission of data demands high-performance connectivity. Considering cyberattacks are estimated to cost businesses an estimated $6 trillion USD annually by 2021, this final point is of pressing concern. This is precisely what a fibre optic network provides – and as a result, connecting to the fibre network is a priority. With the right network design, a fibre optic connection can assure efficient data transmission, a reliable network, and maximum bandwidth usage.
The same is now true for domestic Internet connections; the high functioning of devices like smart TVs, which are now considered a fairly standard service, is dependent on fibre. Subsequently, telco players of varying sizes are bringing fibre to the winder consumer market. Services such as these mark a “point of no return” for bringing fibre to the wider public.
In light of all this, Fibre to the Home (FTTH) and Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) technology is a development priority among all of Europe’s key telco players. From research and development through to marketing, network design and technology enablement, a fibre optic network is now the cornerstone of a competitive offering in the telco space.
Finding the right partner for fibre optic rollout
Prior to this significant market expansion – and indeed imperative – fibre optic network design and implementation could be slow, complex and costly. Moreover, it remains challenging to find the relevant expertise on the job market, never mind internally. However, this isn’t to imply the talent pool is totally dry; independent experts can assist with all aspects of network design and technology enablement, both in telco and other markets.
Access to these external experts comes just in time. The demands of a rapidly evolving market – not to mention the impact of the COVID-19 crisis – has substantially intensified the need for fast, reliable connections. Drafting in the appropriate expertise has become essential to digital transformation, not only to design infrastructure and the associated services, but also to effectively project manage the process. This is because freelance consultants have a wealth of specific experience; essentially, bringing in an external expert equips companies with “a player that knows the game.”
It is no surprise, then, that in both telco and the corporate sphere more widely, companies are reappraising their approach to talent acquisition management. These experts need to be multidisciplinary: familiar with the market’s specific needs and the options for meeting them, as well as having a knowledge of system management and the maintenance of a fibre optic network. This means they need to have a good handle on how to distribute resources and optimize their benefits, particularly in regard to short and medium-term development.
In this sense, external experts provide telco with the opportunity to deploy and run fibre optic businesses in an efficient, cost-effective way. By drafting in relevant expertise at key junctures, businesses can access specialised consultation on-the-fly; this allows them to deliver quality services to the end user in the most agile, cost-efficient way.
Basic outline of a fibre network design project
Certainly, the viability of fibre deployment has greatly improved in recent years; yet this isn’t to say that these projects don’t require detailed planning. Hence the requirement for external experts – these profiles are essential to guiding a fibre network project to successful completion. Without them, a company is essentially flying blind, which could lead to inefficiencies, both financial and technological.
Generally speaking, a fibre deployment project can be divided into three key stages: investment analysis, infrastructure and business rollout , and operation management. First, we’ll run through the investment stage then walk you through to completion and on-going management.
Before deploying fibre, businesses need to follow the same procedure as they would with any other significant project or investment. Market analysis and investment analysis are essential; businesses need to have a clear understanding of the investments, costs and benefits in the long and short term. This is all part of effective Business planning – both financial, commercial and technical. It is critical to analyse and evaluate the technology, product, architecture and processes in an organisation to ensure optimal results. Equally, properly navigating the regulatory environment is critical to the project’s success.
Infrastructure and business rollout
Once the investment analysis has been done, financial and business planning is the next essential step. To anyone in the corporate field, the importance of this stage is obvious; after a business case, there must be a business plan. Simultaneously, specialists will begin work on the network design and rollout and the marketing departments can plan strategy and commercial approach. Meanwhile, the PMO is implemented to spearhead the execution.
Manage and optimise
Once the fibre network is fully connected, it must be effectively managed and continually optimised. This means things such as intelligent price-setting, refining sales pitch according to market demands or analysing market position or even a rebrand. Equally, properly integrating business intelligence systems and data analytics will be essential to the project’s ongoing success.
Attracting the right talent for network design and operations
As is evident from the brief outline above, a successful fibre network project requires multiple competencies. The investment stage requires experienced business minds, including strategy consultants, market analysts and regulatory experts. Network design and rollout demands the best technical minds, from network design itself to technical PMOs. Once the system is in place, subject-specific experts in marketing, branding, UX and customer service will be essential to the human aspect of the rollout.
This makes talent recruitment of paramount importance; companies need to attract top talent. However, in a context where the market is hotting up and businesses are competing for resources, it’s getting increasingly challenging to find the right professionals. To draw a parallel, in areas like data analytics, it’s very difficult to find the right person for the job. Same goes for network design.
As introduced above, much of the best available talent are now acting as freelance experts or consultants. This highly adaptable, liquid talent means that companies can now access highly-qualified experts in a much more agile and economical way. However, this approach to talent acquisition comes with its challenges; how do companies connect with these roving experts? How do they ensure that their experience and skills are fully certified?
Outvise is helping organisations with fibre ambitions find these players. As a specialised network of digital and TMT experts, companies can quickly connect with the right experts – no shooting in the dark on huge freelancing platforms, no unverified expertise, no time waste. With specialism ranging from commercial due diligence, to network design, through to UX and customer experience experts, Outvise has the curated talent businesses need for ambitious fibre projects.
Equally, Outvise understands that companies need flexible options, now more than ever. Outvise experts are available for on-site and remote projects – so depending on the businesses specific needs, you can hire on-site technical expertise or draft in remote consultants. For every stage of fibre deployment, there’s valuable expertise available in Outvise’s portfolio of exceptional digital, tech and business talent.
Fibre is the future – move on now with the right network design talent
To maintain a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving market, telecom operators need to provide companies and consumers with next generation connectivity. Companies’ IT infrastructure, which needs to be able to handle high-quality streaming, video conferencing, cloud services and big data. This is equally the case for the wider consumer market; services like smart TVs and smart home services are becoming standard. Consumers expect them to run smoothly and seamlessly, with no loading times or interruptions. As society goes smart, these expectations will expand; soon, many aspects of everyday life will rely on a viable fibre connection.
To keep pace with the market, developing a plan for fibre deployment is essential. Telco companies of any size need to exploit the fibre connectivity available and roll out this technology to this burgeoning market. To successfully execute a project like this, companies require a highly specialised team of experts to steer the initiative from conception to completion, and develop a plan for ongoing management. The key to the effective and cost-efficient construction is in the freelance market – and with a resource like Outvise, companies can get started right away.
Alex Collart, CFO & Co-founder at Outvise. Serial entrepreneur and management consultant, with a focus on strategy and marketing. Has co-founded and exited several companies. Former McKinsey&Co associate. Industrial Engineer + MBA (IESE/Kellogg).