Sofrecom's SMART Approach: Targeted Digital Strategy

Wed 17 Apr 2024

The SMART approach guides us in developing our digital strategy, where each objective is defined as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound, allowing for clear and measurable tracking of our progress in relation to our ambitions.

In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Claire Khoury, Director of Marketing, Communications, and CSR at Sofrecom, discusses how telecommunications operators innovate and find new value opportunities, talks about Sofrecom's digital expertise and strategies, and highlights the importance of CSR and her views on gender equality.

How is Sofrecom redefining business models in the telecommunications sector?

Faced with increasing competition from new technology service companies, which have captured a significant share of the sector's value, and the investments needed to modernize networks, telecommunications operators are experiencing low or declining growth. In response to these challenges, they must innovate and find new opportunities to maximize their value.
By capitalizing on their technological expertise, infrastructure, and large customer bases, telecommunications operators have significant potential for value creation.

This includes:

  • Capitalizing on the virtualization/softwareization of their networks, and accelerating the digitization of their operations to gain efficiency and agility.
  • Leveraging opportunities provided by 5G and fiber optics by developing new use cases, particularly for the business sector, and taking into account the challenges specific to each sector.
  • Monetizing technical or commercial customer data.
  • Addressing environmental challenges to generate savings in energy consumption and circular economy, and especially to develop new sustainable business models.
  • Challenges in skills and business transformation: emerging digital technologies represent a crucial challenge, as their adoption can lead to significant productivity gains. They open up a wide range of possibilities and challenge the current organization of work. These changes have already begun. It is therefore necessary to anticipate them, to prepare operators and their employees for the upcoming transformations, by answering the following questions: What are the high-impact technologies for the telecommunications sector? What are the main use cases and which professions are impacted? How to prepare for this transition?
  • Finally, continue to enhance their technical infrastructures.

At Sofrecom, we help major telecom operators meet the major challenges facing the sector, requiring telecom operators to redesign their strategic and operational plans.

What are Sofrecom's operational strategies across the entire value chain (business, IT, and networks)?

The increasing convergence of markets between telecom operators' networks, software, services, and content activities is blurring the boundaries between traditional players in the telecommunications value chain. These rapidly evolving markets and uses further accelerate the pace of innovation. DATA AI, cloudification/virtualization, new 5G/6G mobile networks... the challenges are numerous. The future leadership of the telecom industry will depend on these issues. Telecom operators, whether historical or new players, are engaged in this fundamental movement and face increasing difficulties in ensuring a good return on investment in mature markets. They will need to redouble their efforts to consolidate or expand their market position.
The recent increase in competitive intensity will have major consequences for all players, who must achieve profitable growth while improving their operational model, the attractiveness and differentiation factors of their offerings and services, as well as customer loyalty.
In this new era, most telecom operators will need to fight multiple battles: refine their customer approaches, improve customer experience, increase organizational agility, manage their ecological transition, optimize the value generated by their innovations in a sector where only 10% offer a measurable competitive advantage, improve talent management, and also prepare for future regulatory changes related to pricing, population or territory coverage obligations, as well as environmental and biodiversity issues.

What best practices has Sofrecom adopted to improve its digital strategies?

The marketing strategy has a purpose, but it must also rely on clearly defined objectives. The challenge is to develop a meticulously orchestrated action plan.

We design our digital strategy as a path, the objectives of our marketing action being the different steps that lead to our achievements!

That's why we capitalize on the SMART objectives approach:

  • S, for Specific: the goal to be achieved.
  • M, for Measurable: we define the KPI to follow.
  • A, for Achievable: the result to be achieved.
  • R, for Realistic: the feasibility and risks to manage.
  • T, for Time-bound to frame our actions: the deadline and schedule to achieve this goal.

These 5 SMART criteria allow us to focus on the most useful actions to achieve our digital objectives and to mobilize our teams around these actions to move forward efficiently, step by step. They allow us to effectively monitor the actions we undertake and to measure their contribution to achieving our goals. Finally, they allow us to identify sources of problems and success in our digital strategy.

How are digital transformation and CSR integrated at Sofrecom?

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has become essential, allowing companies to address and manage the human and environmental impact of their activities. Consulting and digital transformation service companies have a dual commitment: to achieve their own transition and to encourage/support their clients in succeeding in their digital transformation while addressing sustainable development challenges. We promote this commitment by:

  • Aligning internally employees and managers on CSR issues.
  • Training and raising awareness internally among our teams, and supporting our clients.
  • Actively listening to the expectations of our teams and clients to prioritize our actions and plan our various initiatives over time,
  • Offering value and support to our clients around these issues, with consultants specialized in the field.
  • Supporting and mobilizing our partners around these issues to maximize the impact of these initiatives and ensure their longevity.
  • Regularly communicating on the progress of action plans to reassure and motivate.

Can you share your views on the importance of gender equality in the ICT industry?

In an increasingly digitalized world, our way of living and working has changed. Although these changes may seem insignificant at first glance, they have a considerable influence on our mindsets and behaviors. In this context, gender equality is essential. More than a fundamental right, this equality is crucial for building modern and efficient organizations. There can be no diversity of thought and experience without fair representation of women within organizations: diversity supports business performance and improves organizational culture.

A recent study by the Alliance for Affordable Internet and the World Wide Web Foundation estimates that the digital divide between men and women has cost low and middle-income countries $1 trillion over the past ten years. According to the World Bank, this is equivalent to nearly two-thirds of the annual combined gross domestic product (GDP) of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The European Commission also estimates that integrating more women into the digital economy could lead to an annual increase in the GDP of the European Union of 9 billion euros.

In this sense, promoting equal access for women to the potential of digital technologies should be at the heart of national digital strategies.

At Sofrecom, we work to promote the employment of women in this sector, both as a company and within our own teams, as well as through our missions with various sector players.

Claire Khoury

Chief Marketing, Communication & CSR Officer