#4 – 2020 will be the year when AI is brought into the operator’s value chain

Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic throughout most industry verticals. The banking and telco industries resemble each other with their complex legacy systems, consumer pressure and commodity shaped services – yet the banking industry is ahead of telecom in the AI adoption journey. We expect operators to get inspired by banking, to work around the legacy challenge as fluent stream of solid data is a necessity for reaching the full potential with AI. Therefore, we expect 2020 will be the year when operators ramp up their AI adoption and when they start to implement AI in major parts of their value chain.

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Artificial Intelligence across industries have an expected global spend of $37.5 billion in 2019 (IDC). However, the level of maturity in different usage areas and industries vary a lot. We have seen that the banking industry has progressed more in their AI adoption journey compared to the telecom industry. Banking has a couple of well-defined AI opportunities such as risk management and fraud detection and we have seen deployments of AI in several parts of the value chain; improving customer care and internal process automation. To add on, banking has the greatest expectations on delivered impact compared to other industries.

So why are we talking about banking in a telecom context? Well, the banking industry and the telco industry are similar in many ways. Many players work with complex legacy systems, consumers are pushing for enhanced customer experience and online-based solutions and the services offered are of a commodity nature. Differentiation is as hard as it is important. With banking addressing AI challenges despite their legacy, Telecom can for sure do it as well.

When it comes to complex legacy systems, we believe operators in general have some work to do. With AI, one necessity for successful implementation is data. The right data, the right quality of data, the possibility to combine it and the tools to draw conclusions from it. In other words, a fluent stream of solid data from different parts and sources of an organization is a key component of AI, and this is where the telco industry is struggling as these are the biggest challenges’ operators face when adopting and deploying AI. By that we believe that legacy operators need to strive for data fluency in order to be able to reach the full potential of AI. So far, we’ve seen operators adopt AI in different isolated parts of their value chain. One part has been within Networks, to improve the operational efficiency in areas such as Network planning, operations and maintenance. Another significant part is sales and marketing, to provide personalized offers to customers. Another example is customer care, to increase customer satisfaction, attain new customers and to decrease churn.

To reach the full potential of AI, telcos need to speed up their deployments. Legacy is a challenge but not an excuse, just look at banking. We believe 2020 will be the year where operators realize that they can work around the legacy challenge and by that enable to ramp up their AI adoption, therefore we expect to see operators to start implementing AI in major parts of their value chain.

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