Interview with Lucas Gomez Freige, design director at MDC Data Centers
We have been talking about the digitization of industries for almost a decade. The need for data collection, for a more holistic approach to analytics, for streamlining operations and processes, has become essential for business intelligence and rapid decision making in such a changing world. Nevertheless, not all industries have embraced this digital transformation yet.
The frenzy of digital media has caused the telecom industry to go through massive changes. Despite being the industry that you would expect to be the most digitalized – and for a reason, because it has become the center of the revolution by facilitating the connectivity of an entire ecosystem of people, companies, machines, etc. – is one of the sectors with more opportunities to improve.
According to the study Digital Transformation for 2020 and Beyond, carried out by EY, disruptive competition is the primary challenge in the telecommunications sector. 74% of the global telecommunications companies consulted place it among its most important challenges, among which the lack of organizational agility stands out with 47%.
The results of the study show that the development of digital business models and services will dictate the future of the sector in the coming years. 41% of the companies surveyed said to be focused on improving the user experience.
Network operators need more than just another provider. They need partners and the rest of their system to be transformed to fulfill what is expected of them. MDC has internalized the needs of its clients: accessing information with higher speed, streamlining bureaucratic processes and limiting the mentality and structure gaps of the old organizations.
Lucas Gomez Freige, Design Director at MDC, spoke about the importance of the company’s digital products and the UX to support its customers in the digital transformation process.
Lucas, what do you think about the digital transformation of the industry?
The digital transformation is not something intrinsic to the telecom industry. For some time now, companies have begun to incorporate technologies into their processes, new ways of communication and thinking. This ultimately produces a digital transformation.
There is a need to change the mindset, I believe that technology goes across all companies and transforms them. Thinking about things from a digital point of view fosters innovation; this has made us rethink our processes so that they are faster and more efficient. Now we are better communicating, solving challenges, being more agile. We are ambitious and want to go further all the time.
What solution have we given to help our customers move quickly in the market?
We take into account multiple points of contact, starting with our internal processes, which are undoubtedly reflected in customer service, our ability to respond and flexibility; but we also build valuable digital products, such as the Marketplace.
We have incorporated a product development methodology that actively involves network operators, Internet providers, and content providers, the latter with a particular focus. In our analysis, we consider actors from our hub of interconnection to understand them better so that we can create digital solutions that help our customers to move faster.
How do we develop products? Are we aligned with what the industry needs?
We make products based on the needs of our customers and strive to generate value through things that are useful to them.
The user experience is everywhere, from how you are treated at the door to how they receive you in a meeting. I think that the fact of having such diversity in MDC: engineers, marketing people, sales and design, makes us have a broader perspective, make continuous improvements, and iterations of our processes, our products and our deliverables.
How do we involve our clients in this process?
They are at the core. To give you an idea, let’s talk about the User Testing phase. It has allowed us to involve them directly in the work process, which allows us to minimize the margin of error and lets the client give concrete and real feedback of the platforms we are developing.
We are focused on the needs of our customers, and not only on our customers, because we could be focused on them and give them the best, treat them well, offer a range of solutions, but that may not be precisely what they need.
Has it been difficult to approach them?
We have approached them with a branding purpose, which is not very common, at first we had some pushback because they would think that we were just trying to sell something. However, we do this sessions to understand them better, get to know what they think, what motivates them, what frustrates them. Only when they begin to realize that we are actually there to help them, their attitude always changes. They have been very helpful and we are grateful for it.
What is the most important thing during the process?
To take nothing for granted. All our assumptions are tested with our customers and that gives us direct feedback; customers feel comfortable and become more involved, very active. It’s a win-win for all, we learn a lot from them and they receive a product tailored to their needs.
It is a long process but lets us achieve something invaluable: empathy. Empathy takes time to humanize the client’s problems. It is not only how we approach the customer, but also how we empathize with their questions. In short, we work with people, decision-makers, who need to make informed and fast decisions; they are worried about times and costs, these are our primary drivers.
How can the Marketplace help them reduce times and costs?
The Marketplace is a tool designed to reduce time and costs in the search for interconnection solutions or opportunities. A tool that would make the job easier for our customers.
We have several segments for each problem experienced by our customers, and we then approach them strategically which has allowed us to test possible solutions and iterate. It’s a collaborative work; the client is one of the actors, but clearly, the company is also a great protagonist because these are exercises that involve not only a designer or a developer but other key roles in the company.
All (marketing, sales, operations, the engineering team, the NOC) know different facets of our customers, we have filtered all this information, which comes from different mindsets, distinct sources to make it the best possible solution.
We want to make the Marketplace a place where business can be done. It is a platform that points to a very concrete need by creating a matchmaking platform for key players in the industry. Thinking about the needs of our customers, we have studied how they do business, how they interact, how they communicate internally, and ultimately what moves them, to be able to translate it into a platform.
Is innovation only digital?
We do not want to stay with something just digital. We want to rethink the whole service and improve the entire experience of our clients, with digital products or non-digital. Understanding the need they have so that we can help them make better and faster decisions. The keyword is: genuine. We want to obtain a real knowledge of our clients, of their difficulties and frustrations. Innovating will make us improve and in turn will save the client time. Working on the design of user experience is elementary, bad design is bad business for our clients and us.