How partnerships work in the collaboration era of digital transformation

“Two heads are better than one” is a proverb that underscores the importance of collaboration. When it comes to business, partnerships are becoming increasingly important in the digital economy, as business models evolve and product innovations demand expertise from other industries.

We speak to Pipat Srimattakul, Head of Partnership at dtac and his team  on how dtac is working on this opportunity:

“Under a traditional prospect of partnership, we would o a more horizontal integration by partnering with over-the-top (OTT) service providers and designing a variety of bundle offers. However, digital transformation is putting the telcos industry in a more complex and challenging situation. The emergence of cutting-edge technologies like 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to reshape the industry landscape, which drives us to be prepared in the future holistically as a digital ecosystem,” he said.

“The rapid evolution of technologies causes a different means of consumer competition. We will see various forms of partnership strategy across the industries, not just telecoms.”

This is why digital partnership team has been reorganized under the Business Group. The responsibilities of Partnership team can be divided into three areas:

  • First is centralizing partnership where dtac has already joined forces, which allows us to see a big picture and possibly inspire a new possibility in the current partnerships.
  • Second, dtac looks for strategic partners both horizontally and vertically. When everything is connected, the role of telcos will be more extensive. And that is the “opportunities” out there.
  • And third, dtac looks for partners who can support dtac’s business-to-business market. Basically, it must be something beyond voice and data price plan such as enterprise solutions.

From learning curve to a new business model

Electric vehicles (EV) platform announced publicly in Mar is clearly reaffirmed dtac’s mission on “going beyond connectivity”. dtac has been joining this connected bandwagon for years through dtac’s smart farming program, aimed at using technology for social development.

“Those sorts of smart solutions are like a learning curve for company to develop a use case, which will lead to a new business model,” said Mr. Pipat.

Thailand’s motorbike market size is enormous with around 1.8 million in sales annually. At the same time, environmental concern were raised by the recent haze crisis and electric technology is now ready. This is a huge opportunity.

“EV platforms are in dire need a broad collaboration with partners on power station, distribution, leasing, insurance, etc. dtac will focus on what we’re good at – connectivity and data – to provide a platform. Here’s the importance of partnership in digital era we cannot own everything, but shared value,” said Mr.Pipat.

Currently, dtac is working on partnership and the working team will be set up shortly. dtac adopted the agile methodology for this project, from idea validation, product testing, launch and iteration. It allows the project to narrow down and control risk.

The EV platform is expected to fully launch with sales, distribution, power station and leasing Q4 2019.

Besides EV, dtac is also working with Google to offer a new enterprise product with a focus on th B2B segment. It is aimed at maximizing device sales opportunity and empowers a different segment of B2B customers.

“Successful digital partnerships and business networks or digital ecosystems effectively collaborate to develop innovative solutions that lead to successful consumer outcomes,” he said.

Challenging but fun

Although there are only three members in partnership team with a variety of responsibilities, but it is challenging and fun at the same time.

And one prospect we got from doing partnership is that people strongly believe in dtac brand, especially our accountability and integrity.

In digital era, business requires a rapid pace of adaptive ability to beat competitors and survive the digital disruption. We need to act fast, find a good fit and co-create values. More importantly, the potential partners must hold expertise, be professional and ethical. And that is a digital partnership.