How to Build Effective Business in Digital Age

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BY FUAD ALLAHVERDIYEV

“AZERTELECOM” LLC CEO

Development and expansion of the business, to reach a wider audience, and ultimately to create effective sales of products and services are the important issues that every company include into its Strategic Action Plan.

But not all companies reach these goals or partially get the desired results. This situation is most evident especially during the global economic and financial crises, which creates problem to both regional and local markets.

While the competition between companies increases every day, the Internet and new information and communication services have entered into our homes, changed our daily lives and created a new type of informed person. Under all these circumstances, optimization of a business requires new ideas, clear strategy and building a creative and effective team.

Moreover, one of the major challenges that companies are facing is to create and obtain a reliable customer base and of course, to achieve maximum results at minimum costs.

Nowadays, business has been transformed by the power of instantaneous communication; it reflects new creative ideas and demands revolutionary approach and totally new principles. Start-ups, businesses (such as Google, Facebook, Whats App, Instagram, Amazon), which a decade ago were considered by experts as incapable and incompetent, today are major IT international companies.

While the process of information revolution continues, and digital technology, brought a new level of convenience to customers, the main principles and directions are more frequently updated, new ideas are becoming significant and keynote for every business. Some of these principles consist of creativity, integrity and providing the customers with new entertainment tools.

Companies that cannot influence and ease the lives of consumers, or business areas in which the content is not updated, sooner or later disappear from the markets, giving their places to much more competitive enterprises. Consequently, in the era of modern information technologies and economic cybernetics, digital business models have become essential for each company due to a number of their features.

Companies involved in digital technologies, should not be based on local, but global competitive activities

A business that is based on global competition has also many local capabilities and opportunities that are not taken into account. First of all, under our present social conditions, each person is connected to the Internet and considered as a potential customer. In the age of digital technology, market of products and services is not limited in a local scale, which envisages one single city, country or region – ultimately, it is global, and is designed for any user of the World Wide Web.

The development of such business, which is based on new services and products, can find a potential customer anywhere. In this case, it would be appropriate to talk about a brand new approach in the field of telecommunications – IPTV/OTT market or online sales. Technological development of IPTV/OTT project in our country in the forthcoming years will be even more important.

At the same time, television of our future times will not be based on the traditional TV, antenna or cable. With introduction of abovementioned revolutionary technology, the TV will be possible everywhere. Any user of IPTV/OTT technology can watch the selected content, not only from his home, but also from the office where he works, at the hotel of a country where he travels, at his house which is located abroad etc. There is no traditional antenna, “attached” to the house. On the contrary, this technology is mobile, transportable, overcomes all the boundaries and gives users a lot of other technological opportunities.

In this case, the company may be transformed from a local business into a global business structure.

Not a product, but a customer management should be the main approach

In every business, the basic principle is not a product management, but a customer management that allows the business to develop, be capable and competitive.

Imagine any company that sells a certain product or service. The company’s main activities focus only on the sale of the product or service, which is determined by the price and aim to obtain net income, so that, the company, will not make any concessions to expand the scope of its activities in the market. This eventually, leads to the fact that the profit of company consists only of sale of products and services.  

On the other hand, a company which enters the market and gets the customer management principle as the main direction in its trade activity, in a short time period, this company will be able to achieve greater success.

If we turn our attention to the companies that operate in the field of advanced technology, we easily observe that their strategic work is based on abovementioned strategy. Thus, the company in the second example makes concession to the customer in order to receive even greater incomes in the nearest future. Once we apply this principle on technology IPTV/OTT, we can expand the capabilities of a company through the acquisition of customers and spread a business in a global scale. Thus, how to manage and communicate with the customers is very essential to a company when it comes to selling them new services and products.

The basic approach – activity of company should be concentrated not in obtaining mass customers, but mass users

Another essential approach for a company is to get mass users. This method is largely expressed in the activities and business optimization of many enterprises.

Those projects that began as start-ups (Google, Facebook, Whats App, Instagram, Amazon), are now turned into a big business enterprises, and people’s expression of interest to their products gave them a reason to further grow. Delivering a certain service for free to people generates their interest to that service and transforms them into active users of the certain brand.

By applying this approach to IPTV/OTT technology, one can get additional social services, such as access to social networks, listening and watching video and audio files for free, free entrance to the well-known programs, which eventually lead to the involvement of a large number of users and expand business opportunities of company. This is a clear example of how the business body through provision of free services can attract a large mass of users.

Attraction of a large mass of users and selling services based on this technology are creating new opportunities for getting more profit.

The attractiveness of the product as a measure of value giving to users by company

A company’s main intention after customers/users acquisition should be to provide them with a variety of information and entertainment services. By providing users with a variety of interesting services, company gives value to its own users. IPTV/OTT technology can provide users with a lot of opportunities. It allows free access to TV, radio, direct access to social networks, free voice and video calls, free access to the Internet, as well as various entertainment programs, such as various games, media, and popular audio and video files.

A company can show loyalty to the users in order to simplify their life and provide them with additional tools and opportunities for fun. Of course, a company providing users with such services ultimately gain a lot of users and expand its business.

While speaking about the acquisition of the mass users and business development, and at the same time expansion of the global Internet access, it is worth mentioning that, global giants in the telecommunications industry, like Google and Facebook, actively invest and implement different, even non-profit projects that will make the Internet available for the entire population of the planet.

Internet.org is a partnership between social networking services company Facebook and six telecommunication companies, that plans to bring affordable access to selected Internet services to less developed countries by increasing efficiency, and facilitating the development of new business models around the provision of Internet access.

Project Loon is a research and development project being developed by Google with the mission of providing Internet access to rural and remote areas.

As we see from these examples, the companies, introducing new business approaches to work, get in the future the possibility of expanding their business.

Technological innovations today, such as the project IPTV/OTT, facilitate new start- ups to rapidly turn into big enterprises. The same time, integration of television in social life becomes an inevitable process of our reality. Therefore, a socially integrated TV, free delivery of multiple functions and services on one single platform, development of the company not in a local, but global scale, mass involvement of users, focusing the scope of company on the users, not on the product, should be the main criteria in the development of the business strategy of each company.

The implementation of this brand new technology in Azerbaijan, can significantly contribute to the development of the potential of companies, and thus, create new opportunities.

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 Mr. Fuad Allahverdiyev is the Chief Executive Officer of “AzerTelecom” LLC, a national internet backbone provider in Azerbaijan, which connects the country with Internet. Allahverdiyev, who has built a number of start-ups and founded several successful ICT companies, has over 20 years of work experience in Azerbaijan’s telecommunications sector.  In different periods of his life, he has headed such telecommunications companies as “Caspian Telecom”, “Ailə TV”, “Ailə NET”, and “CONNECT”. Mr. Allahverdiyev graduated from the Baku State University with a degree in Applied Mathematics and successfully completed an MBA Executive program in Lomonosov Moscow State University.