Chris Kranky

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Innovation – a how to guide?

Chris KoehnckeChris Koehncke

Kranky is back. Sorry if you missed me, probably didn't though. No matter, I've got lots to report on.

I've been spending time with wireline and wireless operators talking about voice service and it's surprising they don't see a trend happening. I remember well wireline operators looking down their noises at "long distance providers". Oh that is such a crap business with unit prices declining taking revenues with it.

Now of course, the wireline operators are all crying. People disconnecting fixed telephone lines so fast (Verizon over 900k in the last quarter alone), the operators must have teams of people running around unplugging things. So here I sit with a wireless operator, acting all smug about how great life is, and I ask "why don't you think this is going to happen to you?". They snort "because" and start to list all kinds of tom-foolery reasons. For whom does the bell toll? It tolls for thee indeed.

One operator was telling me, "we" (the vendor community), needed to provide them with more innovative products. Let me think. When Google got started did they put out an RFP for "Innovative Search Engine Needed", similarly, I assume, didn't have an RFI on the streets for "Hosted CRM System for Immediate Purchase". Nor did Apple likely get a proposal from vendor ABC on "Really Cool Mobile Phone".

I'm reading a large service provider RFI for a fixed-mobile convergence concept. Twenty something pages long, it looks like a colleague of vendor
brochures all scotch taped together. This is innnovative?

Sadly, you can't buy innovation and if you want it, you're going to have to build it yourself. Most service providers lack the personnel but more importantly the "yes you can fail" menality from management for true innovation to emerge.

So I modify the axiom, innovate, die or figure out what business you're really in for today's telecom operators.