We make available to companies what we have learned in our DT
Companies need to accelerate their transformation and now it is the time to do it. That is why Telefónica Empresas was born. To respond to the needs of all types of companies, regardless of their size and sector, in order to help them during this process and provide them with complete solutions adapted to their specific needs. Marisa Urquía is looking after B2B unit of Telefónica España.
What is your vision of the current digital transformation (DT) scenario?
The DT is not a trend, it is a reality, a necessity and an opportunity that companies have to adapt to the new market, to new relationships with the consumer and to the new paths that technology is opening up. It is a priority in order to maintain competitiveness.
The current business environment forces us to re-imagine the way we do business, and digitization is a key tool to face our challenges successfully. That is how we understood it a couple years ago and it has become a key part of our operation.
In recent times, this process of internal change has had a clear impact on various areas, incorporating improvements in our own procedures and activities. For example, simplifying and increasing efficiency in our processes and services has significantly reduced our fixed costs. In addition, we have implemented new ways of working, which are more flexible and transversal, introducing the concept of “smart work” and adopting the ‘Agile’ methodology in ever more areas and departments in Telefónica. And we now have a better digital relationship with the companies for which we work. The latter has allowed us to boost our online channel (1 in 4 sales is online) and transform our physical stores: we have carried out the digital restyling of almost 700 Movistar stores in Spain, that is 65% of the total.
We have done this by leveraging the technological innovations within our reach, such as the Internet of Things, Big Data, Cloud or Blockchain. Of course, we have done this always ensuring security and connectivity. This has allowed us to share with our clients all the lessons learned in our own DT.
Are we talking only about big corporations?
We talk about all kinds of companies, including SMEs. DT provides tools similar to those of large companies, but adapted to their specific needs, which help them to compete in a digital environment.
From Telefónica, we are supporting SMEs in two aspects: on one hand, helping them to understand the benefits of digitalization and the risks of not adapting and, on the other, we are helping them with the technology transfer and training their people in digital skills. All of this will impact their productivity and sales at a controlled cost.
At Telefónica we reinvent and digitize the experience that brands offer in their physical spaces
Is the relationship with customers key?
Of course. At Telefónica we reinvent and digitize the experience that brands offer users in their physical spaces (stores, offices …), opening up new opportunities for communication, connection and relationship with their users. For this, we use digital multisensory marketing tools, such as digital signboards, music and lighting, interactive panels… All of this is adapted in real time to different types and goes through all the channels, from the digital – like webs applications or search engine optimization – to the physical ones.
In addition, we recently launched the smartretail Spotdyna platform, which encompasses and allows a unified coordination of all the necessary tools to digitize spaces depending on the public and the specific moment.
This has a clear application in the retail sector
Exactly. We have many references in the retail sector because, thanks to the DT of the stores, a simple purchase becomes a new and different experience.
In this area, technology helps merchants to better understand consumer behavior in order to offer customized content. The visitors receive a communication tailored to their interests, that is more relevant, increasing their purchase time while enjoying a different experience.
We help maintain security, when data and core applications are processed in a public cloud
What is your vision regarding the cloud?
The current trend in terms of cloud infrastructure is that public and private ecosystems have to coexist. But is it possible to assign a customized infrastructure to each business process to get the most out of it? And, if so, would it have to deal with a multi-provider landscape and, therefore, multi-interlocutor?
At Telefónica we have developed a MultiCloud proposal in order to have a single interlocutor and make the management easier, building an infrastructure in which each application has a customized platform to be hosted. In addition, it allows to combine different public and private clouds, thus reducing complexity and centralizing the management for all of them and therefore facilitate the company’s relationship with its cloud. This MultiCloud proposal includes Private Cloud services, a flexible infrastructure with Virtual Data Centers and a Public Cloud (Amazon Web Service, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud), all managed through a unique interface, the Cloud Broker.
Security is obviously important
Yes. For example, we are helping businessmen maintain high protection levels and threat mitigation when the main data and applications are processed in a Public Cloud, provided by a third party. This way, we help them implement Security in a context of transition towards cloud computing.
We have a team of more than 600 professionals specialized in Security for this, as well as a SOC (Security Operations Center), that provides our main Managed Security Services: cybersecurity equipment management, maintenance, incident monitoring and analysis.
We also provide other services to protect against Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks from Telefónica’s own network and against attacks directed at web applications (Web Application Firewall), in order to ensure Clean Mail Traffic, and security for Internet surfing. We also have Electronic Signature and Digital Identity services.
The strategy we follow is to begin by protecting the basics (networks, cloud storage and equipment), and from there we extend that protection to other, more complex, assets.
IoT is another of the big bets
Connecting everyday things via the Internet is a real breakthrough for organizations. IoT helps simplify processes, increasing simplicity and agility, which in turn yields a better service to businesses and citizens. The application of this technology in companies and public administrations has improved, for example, transport systems, energy consumption – which affects the environment – or city waste management.
It is not only about providing connectivity to ‘things’ or devices, but about the possibility of controlling and keeping these assets connected in an integrated way through a single system.
This is a type of service that companies have welcomed with enthusiasm. The IoT Kite platform has recently reached 10 million lines due to growth in industrial areas (connecting and optimizing logistics and production processes), asset tracking (more efficient, safe, sustainable and profitable goods and people transport), energy efficiency (energy consumption control, generating a positive impact on the environment and significant savings), or Smart Cities (safer, more sustainable, efficient, comfortable and interactive cities).
We have built a network focused completely on business, with best-of-breed capabilities
What other technologies are essential?
At Telefónica, we always highlight the role of connectivity as a key pillar of the DT; Traffic on networks will grow exponentially due to the explosion of new technologies and services.
Therefore, we are leading the network transformation in order to adapt it to the growing demands of our customers (fiber, 4G, and soon in 5G). The network is the foundation of the DT. We have built a network focused on business and made a strong investment effort to get the best capabilities in order to respond to the challenges presented by digitalization. We provide companies with a flexible and agile connectivity that adapts itself to the demands of their businesses.
Another key element is the intelligent data processing. As José María Álvarez-Pallete, Telefónica´s Chairman and CEO, has stated on more than one occasion, data is the oil of the 21st century. This represents a paradigm shift for the current businesses, that have to evolve towards this model.
Telefónica steps in the Big Data world in 2010 and since then we are taking advantage of these capabilities in all company areas, generating new value and making our business more efficient. Any process that either generates massive amounts of data, evolves very quickly or has to take very heterogeneous sources into account, should take advantage of this technology.
Regarding SMEs, they need to incorporate solutions that allow them to compete in the digital environment with tools that are similar to those of large companies, but nevertheless adapted to their specific needs. On top of that, we have to help them manage their infrastructure more easily, at a cost that is proportional to their situation. From Telefónica we propose doing this in two ways: on the one hand, helping them with the technology transfer and, on the other, facilitating the training of digital skills.
Cybersecurity is also key. In our company we are applying it in its broadest sense: the one that refers to the concept of “management, detection and response” and that, in addition to the perimeter protection, includes aspects such as threat intelligence or attack anticipation; and other commitment indicators and protocols for immediate response to security breaches.
How is this DT impacting on employees?
The digitization process goes way beyond technology. The employee is key for the transformation to be successful. It is necessary to implement a cultural change getting nearer to the human resources. We must adopt a new way of doing things, new processes and organizational models, so that the employees commit themselves to face the digitalization challenges.
We must strive to explain to people what the reason for transformation is, and make them feel part of it, training them in the digital skills that are necessary.
Of course we have to put all technological tools that allow them to grow in this new environment at their disposal. The digital workplace must break the usual barriers faced by employees, such as geographical dispersion, the ability to reconcile work and personal life, and autonomous and collaborative work. In this context, Telefónica has designed a service to address this change, providing a new user experience that integrates the entire ecosystem of services and devices that the employee needs to work under the same management model. The company helps them communicate and collaborate, enhancing their mobility and flexibility and ensuring both end-to-end security and success in managing change to a more digital culture.
What advice would you give to a company to accelerate their DT?
Companies and administrations know that they need to be more digital. However, many do not know how to approach this process of change. In fact, according to a recent study by Fujitsu entitled ‘The balance on the digital road’, 68% of companies in Spain are looking for a strategic partner to help them in this process.
At Telefónica, we believe it is essential to have a roadmap to face an orderly digitization, whose objectives must be aligned with the company’s strategic plan. One of the mistakes usually made is addressing isolated digitization projects, with no relationship between them and without following a common strategy.
To take advantage of the full potential that DT can provide to a company, it is necessary to start from a holistic view that integrates all the pieces, so that each action that takes place, can have a multiplying effect. It is also very important to measure what is done, to know exactly what impact the actions we carry out during the digitalization plan have. To do this, we have to define performance indicators that show the progress and the digital maturity, to measure ROI.