The Myth of the Telecom Underground
Telecom management practices have long been the service delivery arm of the business charged with defining, maintaining and controlling the network, services and costs. Historically, the business and business users consumed approved services; and the ramifications of circumventing the telecom group to use or procure unauthorized and unapproved services were severe. The groups that do not follow approved telecom guidelines are known by many names: shadow IT/telecom, phantom IT/telecom or rogue telecom users. They are frowned upon and considered to be part of the underground movement that seeks to unravel the structure that the telecom group controls.
Conventional thinking is that underground groups or individuals threaten the very existence of telecom management practices, but conventional thinking in this instance is stale and inhibits innovation necessary for business acceleration. Conflict between the principles of control and the desire for innovation is the purist’s argument to stay the course and manage technology in the same way that it has always been managed; however, the business does not want to be limited in its use of technology as a business acceleration tool.
Allowing the business to innovate using technology does not mean that control is completely lost, though. Leading telecom management philosophy that embraces the desires of the business by partnering with business unit leaders and users to understand opportunities and enable innovation using technology have the agility to not only provide tailored services to the business, but gain and maintain technical, financial and operational control by elevating visibility into all aspects of service delivery. The key to success in this model is efficient, effective and agile operations. While the telecom underground may appear as rebels, they are becoming more prevalent at adapting telecom management practices to facilitate and elevate visibility into their actions. To better support their innovation is next in the telecom management evolution.
Timothy C. Colwell is a telecom management industry thought leader exploring the impact of technology as a business accelerator and social capital enabler.