Thought for the day:Face the enemy

Communications and outsourcing expert Martyn Hart looks at a hot issue of the day.Terrible news readers, I've been banned from...

Communications and outsourcing expert Martyn Hart looks at a hot issue of the day.Terrible news readers, I've been banned from the Telecom Executives Club!

Some of their shareholders have complained that it just doesn't do to have end users at their highly privileged meetings. Apparently I have not taken their meetings seriously and have even mentioned - please shut your eyes as you read this - the existence of end users. My God, I now realise my mistake, how could I do such a thing?

I suppose to them it must be like having the enemy within, that's if you consider your customers as the enemy. It seems the companies that sponsor these meetings do and then wonder why they can't make any money out of telecoms.

Let me see, customers are the enemy and you must defeat the enemy so therefore defeat the customer. Gosh that really makes me feel good.

Perhaps the titles of their meetings offer some explanation for this? They seem to be similar, like Back to Reality: How to Make Money in Telecoms - The Sequel and Partnering for Profit: Is Strategic Partnering the Only Way to Make Money in Telecoms? From this we can reasonably assume that most telecoms companies aren't making much money at the moment. Could this, perhaps, be connected to their attitude to their customers?

Based on some of the people I talked to, before being banned, the companies in question seem to talk an awful lot about how their customers don't understand them.

So how could we help these poor blighted telecoms companies?

We could start a campaign to rally support. Perhaps we could get the Government to intervene, à la Railtrack. Alternatively we could take the radical step of speaking to some users. Maybe then we would have some idea of what users want and hence what telecoms companies could make money from.

There are signs that this starting to happen. After all Vodafone has been declared a utility, so maybe all this noise from the executives is the last thrashing of the modern equivalent of gas lamp-lighters.

What's stopping telecoms companies from making money? >> reserves the right to edit and publish answers on the Web site. Please state if your answer is not for publication.

Martyn Hart is chairman of the National Outsourcing Association and practice director at Mantix, a consultancy that delivers value from complex programmes.

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