AB Forum: Osman Sultan says the telecom industry has been particularly slow to adapt to digital changes
Business owners should be more wary of digital technologies that could disrupt their companies, according to du chief executive Osman Sultan.
Speaking at the 2017 Arabian Business Forum in Dubai, Sultan said businesses, including the telecom giant, have not been quick enough to adapt to a fast-moving digital world.
“You will have, whether you work in a corporation or you are an entrepreneur starting something, to get used to the idea that tomorrow, your business might change. I wake up every morning and I [check] if there is a startup somewhere, that no one has been hearing about, that will disrupt the business I am doing,” he said.
“When I was working in the Orange Group in the early 2000s, I entered the office of a senior person, and he showed me something, and he said, our entire voice revenues are going to disappear. He showed me something called Skype. And this is what happened. Whatever you are doing, somebody somewhere might have a new business model [just as] the internet players came and disrupted our entire way of pricing…,” he said.
Sultan said the telecom industry has been particularly slow to adapt to digital changes.
“I can be even harsher on our [telecom] industry. I think we did not have any predictability talent and we did not adapt. We were very slow to adapt. We still are in a lot of things,” he said.
However, the chief executive said uncertainty should not frighten traditional businesses, adding that while ecosystems are becoming more complex and sophisticated, it is up to businesses to find new methodology and new answers.
Du, which rakes in over $3 billion in revenue, announced last year it partnered with Smart Dubai to launch the Smart Dubai Platform, a digital backbone powering the city in its journey to achieving the 2021 vision.