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Making change a hands-on experience

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Before Telekom Malaysia could help its B2B customers with their digital transformation, it needed to remake itself.

To see how far traditional telco Telekom Malaysia (TM) has come in a short time, Mahmoud Dasser only has to look within his office building in Kuala Lumpur. On this day, TM ONE’s Experience Centre is playing host to an eclectic range of robots and other educational technology apps and devices. Presenters explain how technology is revolutionising the country’s learning experiences for teachers and students.

“We’re having a workshop with a government agency around STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” says Dasser, who is Chief Marketing Officer for TM’s B2B business, TM ONE. “The floor looks like a STEM workshop.”

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TM ONE CMO Mahmoud Dasser

The recently created 1850-square-metre TM ONE Experience Centre is just one example of how the former national telecommunications business has transformed into a company that promises an engaging experience for its B2B customers. It showcases the Internet of Things and smart services built within experience zones dedicated to home, office, education, retail and other industry verticals.

TM formed its new business-solutions division, TM ONE, last year. It was created to help its enterprise and public-sector clients on their digital transformation by providing end-to-end technology solutions with cloud-based connectivity and security at their core. It also provides business process outsourcing, smart services and data analytics.

TM ONE is now a technology leader for many Malaysian companies and organisations. But before that could happen, it needed to go through its own major business transformation.

“The company [TM] is known as a consumer brand [although] almost half of the revenue is actually from B2B customers,” Dasser says. “But it was not recognised as a true B2B brand.”

He says maintaining TM’s reputation as a traditional connectivity and voice B2C business was fine until management started to look seriously at the B2B ICT market. “It was clearly perceived as a challenge,” he says. “First that market has a lot of competition, and not having a strong B2B brand meant it was confused as a consumer brand.”

“Again, that was OK as far as there was only one brand fronting the market, which was TM Group’s brand. Clearly, we had to actually look at the organisation, our skill sets, processes, tools – all of it. We came to the realisation we needed a stronger integrated division that looked at all elements of marketing.”

“We enable our customers to feel the transformation of our brand. We consider [the TM ONE Experience Centre] as our game changer when it comes to customer intimacy, co-creation and engagement.”

Dasser says the company and its subsidiaries had numerous customer-facing B2B brands. Each had its own digital assets, websites and ways of doing things. “When we decided it was going to be only one B2B brand which is customer-facing [TM ONE], you can imagine the scope of the change management that needed to happen. To first convince all the stakeholders and consolidate and converge the story, as well as [bring together] the elements to support one brand.”

Dasser says an important unifying focus, at least for the software-as-a-service (SaaS) component of the business, is end-to-end customer success.

“We came to this realisation by talking to leading industry players, including our technology partners,” he says. “We found the critical success factor for a cloud marketplace is having marketing, sales and support working extremely closely with each other.

“It’s not [just] about attracting customers, or customers subscribing, using or renewing our service. It’s about that whole customer journey and associated lifecycle that touches all functions. Certain functions needed to be fully integrated, others needed to be strongly linked, but there needed to be a strong linkage between these three.

“Our advantage was that we started this business almost from scratch, hence we had the luxury to design this model in the most efficient way.”

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Inside TM ONE’s Experience Centre.

Another way TM ONE has built its B2B credentials is offering customers hands-on digital experiences.

“When we started the journey repositioning ourselves in the market, we were traditionally very relationship and face-to-face oriented. This was fine when it came to our core business, but we had to reposition ourselves. We had to do something differently, so the customer can really feel the trust that we’re not only talking about this transformation, we’re also doing it.”

This is how the TM ONE Experience Centre was born. It allows TM ONE customers to experience what digital transformation might feel like in their day-to-day activities. Experiences are tailor-made to suit its customers and their customers’ customers.

“We enable our customers to feel the transformation of our brand,” he says. “We consider [the TM ONE Experience Centre] as our game changer when it comes to customer intimacy, co-creation and engagement.”

Dasser says the purpose-built centre has been a great success, with more than 100 business customers visiting within months of opening. TM ONE also runs open days at the centre focusing on industry-related themes – ICT, education, oil and gas or manufacturing. “We made a lot of mistakes along the way, however we think the outcome and feedback from customers are extremely positive,” he says.

Dasser is already seeing customers sharing best-practice procedures and wanting to play a role in the Experience Centre to help other clients. “I’m not talking about technology partners – it’s industry players like logistics, finance or even education,” he says. “They want to be part of the overall customer journey – to learn together and influence the end-users of what is possible.”

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Further information: What digital transformation means for B2Bs (video)

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