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Connectivity underpins different aspects of our personal and corporate lives – from emails and calls up to online transactions and cloud-based applications. Fast connection speeds and reliability are essential to keep a business running smoothly, meeting user demands and expectations.

“Broadband services have ceased to be a mere luxury," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao. “They are a necessity for communication, teleworking, online education, and other essential services.” It has been found that relative prices of fixed broadband services climbed to 3.5% while mobile broadband services edged up to 2% of the gross national income (GNI) per capita globally in 2021.

The digital decade we are in targets gigabit coverage of all households and 5G in all populated areas. Yet, putting universal and meaningful connectivity is a challenge for different lines of business, including broadband, TV, mobile, and business-to-business (B2B) services.

The online experience is at the center of global development, and despite Internet access still being prohibitively expensive in many low- and lower-middle-income economies, businesses globally are pushing to sustain their activities amid the COVID-19 situation.

They are doing this through digital transformation, which is basically powered by connectivity. In fact, 70% of customer engagements will be driven by intelligent systems by 2022, according to Gartner. Without connectivity, businesses’ operations, customers, and product delivery will be impacted significantly.

Some examples of operators providing support for enterprise connectivity are du’s 5G private wireless network in collaboration with Intel; Zain KSA’s 5G B2B leased line; and Intelsat’s FlexEnterprise solution being integrated within the Console Connect digital platform.

For Business Growth

It is a must for companies nowadays to invest in IT modernization. In parallel, connectivity is the key to every business’ success, virtually and within premises. Having reliable connectivity solutions helps any type of business to disrupt the markets they operate in.

From small businesses that are still starting out to multinational companies, high-speed broadband is one of the most basic requirements. From this, a healthy business environment where firms thrive and benefit from ICTs emerge. As per Kearney’s analysis, rapid digital disruption will displace 40% of incumbent companies across industries in five years’ time. But unfortunately, innovation models in global companies across diverse sectors fail between 70-80% of the time. This could be because of various factors such as weak connectivity, incompatibilities, security risks, and an incompetent workforce.

Technologies such as 5G, Wi-Fi 6, IoT, cloud, and AI, have redefined the ways people communicate and interact, and this new reality will be at the core of business strategies. This enables a transparent, open, and competitive business framework. Without ICT and digital applications, costs, time-to-market, efficiency, and scalability are impacted.

Among the companies that embraced innovation with connectivity at the core is Amazon creating Amazon Web Services (AWS) an on-demand cloud computing solution that has become an integral part of other companies’ digital transformation. Moreover, communication service providers (CSPs) are also turning into digital service providers (DSPs) like how e& – former Etisalat Group – has rebranded to encompass all of its brands under one roof and Ooredoo Oman’s digitalization journey.

For Customer Experience

In any business setup, when you lose customers, you lose a chunk of profits as well. This domino effect makes connectivity a crucial aspect of meeting customers’ expectations. Most often than not, poor service in customer interaction – via online, email, in-person, or call – could affect loyalty and retention to a brand’s product.

If a user has a more positive experience elsewhere, they will likely leave and choose another service provider. Churn is a direct reflection of the product’s value wherein a high churn rate indicates customer dissatisfaction. Affecting a company’s profitability and growth, high levels of churn risk canceling out new sales due to the loss of revenue from churned customers.

Billions of dollars per year are estimated to be lost in companies due to poor customer service. Staying connected 24/7 through an omnichannel approach can help a company improve customers’ experience. Particularly in social media where reviews spread quickly, a quick response time in acknowledging an issue and offering solutions can keep customers happy.

Having the right systems and the processes defined can also garner valuable feedback directly from customers. A Salesforce study states that 67% of consumers say that connected processes are very important to winning their business. Having a contactless and digital-first customer experience is common now. This means fast webpage loads and near-to-real-time customer service responses, anytime and anywhere.

In reality, connectivity allows big data to be turned into smart and actionable data and by developing a good foundation of APIs that enables interconnectedness internally and externally, you’ll have better coordination and visibility to create personalized and relevant experiences for customers.

For Automation

From what we have seen in the past few years, AI, quantum computing, and machine learning had a greater impact on professional services, while 3D printing, robotics, and automation are disrupting sectors like manufacturing, real estate, and healthcare.

With connectivity, combining software and hardware technologies results in new products and business models. From sensors, digital twins, next-generation chipsets, and AR/VR-powered components, the exponential growth in technologies have led to faster processing, cheaper computing power, and safer data storage.

Relatively, network automation is the process of shifting from a manual to an automated way of configuring, managing, testing, deploying, and operating physical and virtual devices within a network. Intelligent automation typically results in cost savings of 40-75%, with the ROI ranging from several months to years.  In line with this, network operators are under more pressure than ever to reduce their costs and improve their margins.

A reliable, low-latency, and high-throughput connectivity is vital in keeping everyday tasks and functions automated and repetitive processes managed automatically. When maintained in the long run, a more agile and smooth-running network will be achieved, and transforming a business would lead to a more productive and secure outcome.

By forgoing automation, businesses not only miss out on benefits like error-free data processing, detailed records for auditing, and real-time monitoring but also the capability to scale and free up capacity for employees and customers.

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