digital readiness

Digital Leadership: How We Increased Digital Readiness At Proximus

The telecommunications (telco) industry is seeing clear signs of disruption for some time now. The industry is continuously feeling the pressure from the freeconomy (Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, Skype,…), the rise of voice interfaces and struggles to deliver value adding services (OTT) that are better received than those of the digital competitors. They are feeling the heat from GAAFA (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alibaba) and a number of niche challengers.

As consumers, we are expecting top notch service, speed, convenience and flexibility, yet we are reluctant to pay for telco services which we often consider a basic human right. This has put telco’s business model under pressure.

As an answer hereto, telco’s are buying stakes in adtech (Altice) and media companies (Verizon, AT&T, Singtel,…) in an effort to reclaim their position in the value chain. T-Mobile US has successfully re-shaped its image to speak to a new audience and Veon is going head to head with the digital challengers by transforming itself to a tech company for emerging markets. In order to win the battle of the customer, Telco’s will need to think out of the box and claim new domains. They will have to let go of their traditional business model and need to capitalise on new revenue streams. It should make sense that Telco’s need to go all in on big data analytics and IoT enablement, that they claim the smart city movement, become a prime partner in the new mobility era and play a pivotal role in online security.  

How we helped Proximus in this process:

The Proximus Group is the largest telecommunications company in Belgium, headquartered in Brussels. The group reported a revenue of about 6 billion euro in 2016 and employs over 12.000 people. Its offerings include fixed line and mobile communications through the Proximus brand and ICT services to the professional market under the Telindus brand.

In early 2017, Duval Union Consulting was asked by the Proximus Corporate University and E-Transformation team to help them with the so-called Digital Adoption track. This track, supporting the group strategy, was aimed at ensuring digital adoption by Proximus customers and employees within the scope of the Digital Proximus Transversal. Several programs and initiatives about digital and culture were already ongoing but there was no clear common language or understanding of the impact of digital on the skills & competences that will be needed in order to stay successful in an increasingly disruptive world. Specifically, our objective was threefold:

  1. Create awareness about the impact of digital and the need for digital skills within ten divisions of CBU (Consumer Business Unit) and CUO (Customer Operations).
  1. Assess the digital readiness of our target group, level 1 employees in said divisions (totalling over 900 employees), both in their mindset towards digital as in their digital proficiency on the job.
  1. Provide a list of recommendations for training based on the digital readiness of the employees to increase the overall digital readiness within Proximus.

“Together with DUC, we’ve developed a tailor-made approach to assess and develop the digital readiness of the company. From the start, we were impressed by the flexibility and expertise of DUC.

Throughout the track, we were able to install a ‘digital sense-of-urgency’ amongst our teams and gained many useful insights in the existing an required digital skills of our teams. The report that we received at the end of the study was really hands-on and enabled us to define specific digital training tracks for our main divisions. As a consequence, DUC played a key role in making our company ready for a digital future.”

To accomplish these objectives, we co-created a tailored track for all the employees in the target group with the division heads and consultants of the Proximus Corporate University.

To start off, we organised an introduction workshop with the division heads during which we focused on creating awareness, bringing inspiration and showcasing the impact of digital innovation in the telecommunication industry on Proximus. Through the use of our methodology, we assessed the impact of digital on Proximus’ product & business model, customer relationship, market & competition and internal organization. The identification of opportunities and threats allowed us to create a high-level strategic frame and common language amongst the division heads, that formed the base for the rest of the track.

Transformation Box

We then used the same evidence of disruption we showed the division heads to organize a road show through the ten divisions of our target group. It was paramount to us to involve all the employees and immerse them in the world of digital. During this road show, we gave inspiring keynotes to all the level 1 employees that were immediately followed by a group exercise, allowing them to actually speak up. This group exercise was aimed at making each employee determine for him- or herself which trend would be most important for Proximus in the next 3 to 5 years, as well as a reflective question on the digital skills that would be needed to successfully master these trends.

The next step was to assess the digital readiness of our target group. Each employee would receive two surveys after they attended the road show sessions: one inquiring about the use of digital in their private life (which was the same for all divisions, using the standardized Duval Union Consulting methodology and scoring) and one inquiring about the use of and insight in digital for their job, as well as their overall mindset towards available tools and the added value of technology. This second survey was tailored to each division, which is why we held one-to-one meetings with division heads to determine the focus and topics that would be featured in the second survey.

Through the analysis of over 650 filled-in surveys in total, we were able to identify digital skills & competences that were present at Proximus and those that were missing. We were able to get a clear view of each division and score it on its digital maturity, according to our classification of generations: classic, converted, digital or ruptured. By combining this information with the strategic frame we created at the start of the track, we were able to establish a digital skills gap.

The last part of our mission was therefore focused on scoping the right training and coaching to upskill each individual. The analysis showed us which skills needed to be improved and how each individual scored, allowing us to adapt the difficulty of each training to each individual. We also thought about different types of training and adapting that to one’s digital maturity. Whilst a more “classic” person will generally not mind going to a training center for a couple of hours of class, a more “digital” person will prefer having bite-sized micro lessons through a digital medium.

In the end, we presented our findings to Jan Van Acoleyen (Chief HR Officer) and Guillaume Boutin (Chief Consumer Market Officer) and handed them over a full report that not only stated their digital readiness today, but also featured concrete next steps (i.e. trainings, keynote sessions, coaching sessions, masterclasses) to prepare the most important asset of Proximus, their people, for a digital future.

How can Duval Union Consulting help you?

We are new-style management consultants focusing on transforming and growing organizations in a digital-first world with offices in Europe and the Middle East. New-style? Co-created business strategy, custom-made transformation trajectories and actual experienced business advisors are only some of our differentiators and why clients love to work with us. We design the future of your business together.