HomeMobile EuropeTime to learn

    Time to learn


    It seems to me that anyone employed in the mobile industry today needs to be an expert in something and competent in everything and that is a very tall order. The distinctions between job specifications are continually blurring, while the skills required to do any job adequately only ever increase.

    To be most effective, each group of employees needs to understand the demands and constraints of those they deal with. For example, those responsible for negotiating content deals surely must understand the capabilities of the network over which this content must be accessed and the constraints of the mobile environment, as well as having a clear handle on the demand, market price, profit share and rights management issues that are directly associated with the negotiations. From the other side, it is equally important that the network engineers understand the traffic and loadings that are being and will be placed on the networks they are responsible for.

    However, everyone is under huge amounts of pressure to deliver within their own job function that they have, and are given, no time to learn. It’s a vicious circle — no time to learn, leads to more opportunity for communications to break down and the increased likelihood that departments within operators, or indeed vendors developing products, will pull in different directions.

    The mobile communications industry is just beginning to show signs that it has identified the way out of its slump and is following that path if not with gusto, then with a strong determination to succeed. Data usage is increasing (see pages 16-17 for more details) and costs have been taken in hand, never to escape again. The green shoots of new data-driven businesses are beginning to poke their heads above the ground and take the first bleary-eyed look at the world. However, if they are not to stagnate at an early stage, those in the business of making mobile communications work end-to-end have to ensure that their own businesses are equally integrated.

    This is a process that will not just happen. You cannot rely on the undoubted enthusiasm of employees to understand what is going to deliver a unified view — it has to be built into the business process. It is not a mobile or communications-specific requirement, it is a basic business requirement and one that many organisations large and small get wrong.

    Many businesses get by because key employees make it their business to learn about the entire company and not just their own area of responsibility; few make it a real objective. For the mobile industry at this delicate time in its development cycle, failure to forge links amongst the departments whose work impacts directly on others will cause problems in the medium to long term. Delayed service rollouts, untimely launches and worst of all, services which fail to work effectively, will inevitably result. Time is always the most precious of commodities but failing to find the time to build such cohesion into a growing mobile data business will, I believe, lead only to a surfeit of time to contemplate the consequences.

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