How to chip away at the barriers for digital transformation


Digitally transforming a business is in no way simple. If it were, there would be less posts about how to tackle the process and also less information about how to embrace certain technologies in order to drive business growth.

As many of you know, there are in most cases numerous barriers to overcome when transforming. Analyst firm Gartner has recently identified that in their opinion, there are six barriers that CIOs must overcome to transform their organisation into a digital business.

They are:

  1. A Change-Resisting Culture
  2. Limited Sharing and Collaboration
  3. The Business Isn’t Ready
  4. The Talent Gap
  5. The Current Practices Don’t Support the Talent
  6. Change Isn’t Easy

According to Gartner, “The reality is that digital business demands different skills, working practices, organisational models and even cultures to change an organisation designed for a structured, ordered, process-oriented world to one designed for ecosystems, adaptation, learning and experimentation is hard. Some organisations will navigate that change, and others that can’t change will become outdated and be replaced.” 1

This is the world in which businesses now find themselves in. Some will adapt and navigate the change and as Gartner highlights others will not.

Being a company that focuses on technology and connectivity, it would be easy to think that Colt is ahead of the digital transformation curve, and that it hasn’t had to undergo any shifts of its own. However, no business is immune to the shifts in today’s landscape. One example of this is the shifts Colt has made in the voice sector. The voice portfolio has evolved in capability and price points have also shifted significantly since the early days.

Colt currently transports significant amounts of voice minutes even after exiting the voice trading market in 2017, with Colt deciding to focus on the transport, manipulation and termination of minutes to ensure customer value can be built up, rather than the high volume, low margin traffic which was polluting our network.

This means that Colt was servicing customers as they embarked on their own transformation path whilst at the same time  going through a digital transformation of our own; from TDM based switching, to VoIP and SIP trunks.

Colt is also attempting to transform the way in which it works with other carriers in the voice space. Earlier this year, Colt announced that we were working on a blockchain Proof of Concept (PoC) with PCCW Global and start-up Clear, as a way to simplify the settlement of wholesale voice minutes. The objective of this PoC was to ascertain if the advantages offered by blockchain technology could be applied to make inter-carrier settlements more efficient, reliable, and scalable. The original PoC was a success and now more carriers such as BT, Telstra and Telefonica have joined the initiative.

While Colt has made strides in transforming aspects of its processes, digital transformation is still a moving target for us. We are very much aware that this is a journey, however we feel that as long as we’re aware of the potential barriers to transformation will be able to move forward.

  1. Gartner Press Release, Gartner Identifies Six Barriers to Becoming a Digital Business, 25 July 2018. https://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3883781.
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