Article

• Oct 12 2022

Frontline: the telco sector’s most in-demand skills

5 min read

If a telco business isn’t driving change, then it’s behind all of its competitors who are. It’s not enough to just ‘keep up’.The only way to keep your business at the cutting edge is to fill it with talent who will put it there. Here is a short overview of the most crucial and in-demand skills that a telco needs to stay competitive in a rapidly moving industry.

Cyber security

It’s a crucial moment for security in telco. Now, you could argue that every moment is crucial, because innovation is so rapid, new technology comes thick and fast, and new threats emerge constantly. However, the specific challenge of the current era is that we’re in the early days of 5G.

There’s new infrastructure, extra data, and more activity and types of usage for mobile devices. All that extra ‘surface area’ means new places for cyber criminals to attack, and new weaknesses to protect.

Here are the skills that telcos need in their cyber security teams.

Leadership

Whether it’s at the head of the organisation with a Chief Information Security Officer or at a departmental level, a telco’s cyber security needs direction. Without a coherent strategy, your cyber defence will be unfocused and ineffective.

Technical competence

It’s obvious in general that your teams need technical ability, but your specific needs can be hard to identify. There’s an extensive menu of cyber security qualifications, and it takes a deep understanding of your skills gap to establish which ones offer the qualities you lack.

Soft skills

- Communication: Cyber security needs explaining to people without expertise, and security teams need to be able to express complex concepts so that everyone can understand

- Creativity: The ‘opposition’, or the cyber threats, will be thinking creatively about how to breach your security, and your teams need to be able to at least match that

- Collaboration: While everyone will need to work with initiative and independence, they can’t work in isolation. Your team’s efforts need to complement each other’s

Data monetisation

In its essence, the telco business is data. It’s easy to monetise in the traditional sense of selling data allowances and access to digital services, but it takes vision to discover new ways, and to deliver them.

Sales and licences

In the data economy, information is one of our most valuable assets, and as a telco, you have data that other companies would love to have. Much of it you can’t or wouldn’t want to sell, but there’s plenty that could be lucrative. A commercially creative mind will always look for new opportunities, like start-ups and new tech whose proposition could benefit from access to telco data, and whose own insights mean that cooperation could be mutually beneficial.

Optimisation

Your data can reveal patterns, strengths, and weaknesses in your operations. Those with analytical skills and a commercial mindset will spot opportunities for streamlining, cost-saving, and efficiency. You could save yourself a lot of time and money in your processes, and offer a better customer experience, more value, and higher revenue.

Ethics, law, and optics

Especially in the post-GDPR world, the public and the authorities are very conscious of data ethics and privacy legislation. Your leaders should be very aware of the law around any data monetisation and the ethical and PR implications of all projects and initiatives.

Software development

Aside from data and connectivity, what telcos sell is experience. Realistically, there are only so many ways that an operator can differentiate itself, but if the service is smooth, the coverage is consistent, and connections are quick, you’ll find customer retention (and acquisition) relatively easy.

Customer service

If the customer is unhappy, they’re probably extremely frustrated — huge portions of our personal and professional lives are conducted with or through a device, and any issues with performance or service can be incredibly distressing.

An intuitive user interface is vital for any apps or portals for managing an account, and of course, the underlying software should function smoothly and effectively. In truth, the same goes for any point of contact between you and the customer, whether it’s a customer service menu, an online chatbot, or simply your website. Your software teams have the power to hugely influence the emotional outcome of a customer’s interaction.

Customer experience

Outages are inevitable and most will be completely out of your control. However, simply because issues are unpredictable that doesn’t mean they’re not preventable. The right software solutions can detect issues very swiftly, or even as they develop, so they can be prevented or resolved swiftly. They can also lay contingency plans to circumvent failed systems and minimise data or connectivity issues.

Streamlining

With greater automation and smoother processes, you can

- run more efficiently, reducing costs and passing savings on to your customers

- improve the customer experience with greater automation and more frequent, better-personalised offers

Talented software developers will be able to spot opportunities for streamlining, and to implement the solutions required.

Gathering the most in-demand skills

Unsurprisingly, skills and experience in cyber security, software, and data monetisation are widely sought-after, not just by fellow telcos, but by most industries. Aside from a competitive offering, attracting that talent requires an extensive network and a deep pool of candidates to draw from.

RPI’s heritage in software, data, communications, and cyber security means we’re uniquely positioned to find and place the experts in all the fields that telcos need. Email people@rpint.com to find out how to fill the talent gaps in your business.

RPI provides access to the top leadership and technology talent globally