By Pierre Le Corre, Associate Partner, PMP Strategy; Gregorie Clayes, Managing Director PMP Strategy Seattle; Chrystelle Briantais, Partner, PMP Strategy

The ICT market is undergoing significant upheaval. Traditional products such as connectivity, voice services, integration, and managed services are experiencing declining margins. This shift is largely due to the convergence of the telecom and ICT sectors, with major players like GAFAM leading the charge. These products risk becoming commodities and losing their distinctiveness in the market.

Moreover, the industry is not stable yet, as evidenced by major shifts such as the transition from copper to fiber, digitalization, and the move from on-premises to cloud computing. These changes are complicated by the presence of legacy components, making the transformation challenging. To maintain a competitive edge and ensure high-quality service, factors such as customer experience, understanding of the client's business, and proximity are becoming increasingly important.

ICT players are thus faced with a complex equation: they need to regain profitability to create value and invest, while maintaining quality service without resorting to price cuts. This is crucial to avoid disintermediation and loss of client access, which are essential for future revenue opportunities.

Artificial intelligence (AI), when utilized effectively, offers a solution to control costs while enhancing service quality. However, AI must be applied judiciously, with clear use cases, to avoid disappointment. 

ICT companies can benefit from AI in multiple areas of the organization. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Customer Service (AI chatbots, virtual assistants, ticket generation and routing, intent prediction, call summaries, response generation, etc.)
  • Sales (lead qualification, proposal and quote generation, personalized sales pitches, etc.),
  • Marketing (content generation, generation of personalized marketing campaigns, etc.)
  • Product (feedback analysis, product documentation, etc.)
  • Customer (customer needs detection, cross sell and up-sell strategies, etc.),
  • Field Services (virtual assistants, resolution guide creation, issue detection, etc.)

By leveraging AI in such focused areas, ICT players can enhance operational efficiencies, improve customer experiences, and drive revenue growth while navigating the industry's complex landscape.

At PMP Strategy, AI serves both clients and employees based on three pillars: a blend of business issue understanding and strategy, with a thorough knowledge of available technical solutions; tangible results achieved in short cycles (2-to-4-week cycles from need/feedback to Proof of Concept); and specific B2B use cases that are transferable to large corporations and SMEs.

On average, the use of AI in customer services by ICT players demonstrates gains in the 5% to 20% range within the call duration and increased customer satisfaction sectors. Our experience with a U.S.  Fortune 50 company demonstrated AI benefits in use cases such as:

  • Predicting customer call topics and searching in the knowledge base to help care agents to identify the client’s issues and corresponding solutions. Before the AI solution, call center agents sometimes spent tens of minutes per messaging conversation with customers, struggling to understand issues and manually locate information across different systems.
  • Real-time conversation analysis to swiftly meet customer demands, enhancing both customer and agent satisfaction.
  • Automatic call transcription and summarization, helping care agents to record key call information in their CRM solution. Thus, helping to increase both the accuracy and completion rate of post-call tasks while reducing the time required for them.

Such solutions evolved from initial tests with small teams to deployments at scale from 100+ to up to 10,000+ agents and provided estimated productivity gains of 5-10% across 10s of millions of conversations.

While such use cases are becoming common in B2C markets, they are far from being widely adopted in B2B, despite the potential technology available that could significantly support ICT players in regaining margins. 

Many ICT companies are preparing for AI and assessing how it will impact their industry, products, processes, workforce, tools, ecosystems, etc. To embrace change, they are preparing for it.

PMP Strategy emphasizes the importance of innovation and strategic use of technology for this kind of transformation. We believe that by leveraging AI in thoughtful and strategic ways, ICT companies can navigate the challenges of the current market landscape, ensuring sustainable growth and competitive advantage. Our B2B TMT team and AI Lab are dedicated to supporting businesses through this journey, providing insights, strategies, and technologies tailored to meet their unique needs and those of the ICT sector.

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