Amidst the turbulence of 2022, many good things have happened within the telecommunications and technology industry, which will, in 2023, offer considerable benefits to customers across the Bay of Plenty.
Globally, technology and telco providers are putting the power in end users’ hands – so they can tailor make technology solutions on the fly as their business needs change.
Locally, the merger between 2degrees and Vocus, now well-underway with six months of work under our belt, is resulting in Flex, a platform that empowers every customer with management tools so you can control your telecoms services, spend, devices and more. We’re putting the power into your hands, so you don’t need a specialist.
We believe this is a necessary development from a wider market perspective for at least two very good reasons. The first is supporting and enabling businesses with digital technology to enhance productivity (and by digital technology, we mean fixed and mobile networks, a full range of devices, wide area networks, PBX, security and more).
The second is that as we all feel the pinch of digital skills challenges, platforms simplifying ICT procurement, management and billing let you get on with it yourself. The things you once needed ‘the IT guy’ for can now be sorted out fast and easily.
In today’s environment, and the one we’re likely facing in 2023, where a recession is possible, every customer – from a one-person business to the largest organisation – wants flexibility. Whether for growth or contraction, flexibility means predicting the future isn’t necessary. Instead, if you need 100 phones, a PBX and a WAN connecting five offices this month, no problem. Go ahead, log on, it’s all there for you along with transparent billing.
Added another branch? Configure it in, issue the new people with handsets and minutes. Scaling down? Scale down your services, too.
Traditionally, this sort of change came with a headache or two. You’d have an account manager and likely long-term contracts which would provide certainty at the cost of flexibility. Chopping or changing typically wasn’t an option, with contracts reviewed perhaps halfway through and in their last months before renewal.
So, what’s changed? One is that people in their 30s and 40s are generally digital natives. We want and often prefer self-service, choosing it above a contact centre or even an account manager. Then there is the proliferation and popularity of accessing ‘as a service’ software and other commodities we use on a regular basis.
But the real enabler is back-end technology 2degrees has built in our Flex platform. This company wanted a way to manage a fleet of more than 1400 mobile devices – with different allowances for different users. We build a management tool that means they can manage it all in-house, in real time.
2023 will see this platform made available to every 2degrees customer so that you can manage your telecoms services directly. You don’t have to talk to us (though by all means, do if you prefer!)
This is unique to 2degrees and in many respects reflects how we fight for fair, challenge the status quo and provide what customers want – and who doesn’t want simplicity, convenience, and flexibility, especially in an environment of uncertainty. In Flex, you get access, automation, and ease. Telecoms and related IT services are enablers.
With Flex, you enable yourself with no fuss.
I’d also like to mention the importance of networking and human interaction. I’ve seen the enormous value of being back in the office, engaging directly on concerns and opportunities or just generally building understanding. I can’t overstate the importance of face-to-face time and it’s worth reflecting on increasing in-office time and maximising the learning and growth opportunities this brings.
After all, whatever your business, like ours, it is about people. That’s also why we work closely with the Chamber of Commerce and local organisations across the Bay. It isn’t about selling but understanding the challenges and pressures we all face. 2023 could be a tough year; we can make it easier the classic Kiwi way, and that’s by working together and getting the hard mahi done.