As telecom operators evolve to become more than mere communications service providers, a number of them have embarked on introducing new digital services in order to create new sources of revenue and compete effectively with OTT players. Enter the Chief Digital Officer (or Chief Digital Services Officer), a relatively new role that’s been gaining foothold in the C-Suite of telecom companies, and who’ve been charged with the responsibility of transforming traditional “analog” businesses into digital ones using new technologies. In this post, we chat with Joseph Gaol, Chief of Digital Services Officer at XL Axiata, who shares more about his role and what XL has done in the past few years to seize the new opportunities in Indonesia.
Q: Hi Joseph, tell us a bit more about yourself
I am Joseph Lumban Gaol – Chief of Digital Services Officer @ PT XL Axiata (XL). Our Digital Services Directorate main responsibility is to be the locomotive of XL organization to embark the new frontiers of digitalization. My philosophy which I passed it to my team is that in every daily activity, we need to work based on simplicity, speed, and mindfulness. We are not afraid to deconstruct and reconstruct any products or activities in order to create an outward-looking organization. I am pleased that both the philosophy and action resulting in XL won the Frost Sullivan award as the Best Digital Services Company in Indonesia for 2016.
Q: In one sentence, how would you describe the role of telco’s today vs before?
Telco today is under constant pressures (but yet plenty of opportunities) to enable all stakeholders in the various industries including its own organization to adopt digital transformation. Digital is all about interconnectivity across multi verticals, and Telco has the biggest opportunity to become the hub to connect all the dots.
Q. How is XL Axiata meeting the challenges of digital disruption?
First, we need to embrace the change due to this digital tsunami. XL is now constantly transforming into digital ready organization by (R)evamping our core to deliver simplicity to customers, (R)einventing the way to play to deliver relevance with our go to market strategy, and (R)aise up our value ladder from being a smart pipe into a platform that enables all the stakeholders to participate in co-creation of the value to enrich customer value. This 3R strategy includes upgrading people competencies, governance re-alignment and standard operating procedure (SOP) fine tuning.
Second, XL is very active in developing an open platform ecosystem in order to accommodate Collaboration and Co-Creation to continuously create new values to customers’ needs.
Last but not least, we continuously modify our hygiene products, services, and solutions including their Go To Market (GTM) programs with the latest advancement in digital technology. For example, opening our API to 3rd party in order for them to integrate with our hygiene products such as SMS, USSD, Direct Operator Billing, and e-Money. We are also implementing omni-channel marketing in our Mobile Financial Services (MFS) solution.
Q: What are the new services you have launched in order to better meet your customers’ expectations?
We launched several initiatives in 2016 to better meet our customers’ expectation. For example, simplify the 3d party billers on-boarding, that now our mobile payment solution (XL Tunai) enables customer to pay for BPJS Kesehatan (Indonesia national medicare system), electricity bill, credit card, etc. On Digital Economy development, we enriched our iteratively developed Xmart Village concept, with Xmart Village 3.0 . XL created the 1st public library equipped by the virtual reality (VR) devices. This allows children in the villages to explore knowledge with rich media experience.
Q: What have been some of the challenges?
Out of many challenges, I would like to highlight these 2 challenges. First, it is to meet the rising of customer expectation with the solutions that are easy to use and on the same time, customer is willing to pay for those. Second, it is to find the business partners rather than technology partners. We solve these digital challenges by constantly develop & implement adaptive business strategies which allows us to deliver a compelling end to end user experience. We also redesign our processes in atomic level to support a multichannel, partner-led world. In many instances, we even integrate our own technology platform into our business partner’s platform.
Q: What do you think is one fundamental change that telcos today need to undergo in order to remain relevant and be more than a “dumb pipe”?
It is about changing the mindset and working to streamline the existing traditional transaction and business process to serve the end users better. This includes activities such as to simplify the existing portfolio, to use cloud technology, and to eliminate the organizational silos that frustrates the customers. In a world of continuously updated digital market, we all have to take these activities as our new DNA to remain relevant.
Hear from XL Axiata on Day Two (22 March) of Telecoms World Asia 2017 in “Monetising Digital Services” alongside speakers from Indosat Ooredoo and more!
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