India’s BSNL calls in BCG to help improve its performance

India’s BSNL calls in BCG to help improve its performance

Boston Consulting Group (BCG), an American global management consulting firm, has been asked to prepare a three-year roadmap to improve the competitiveness of state-owned Indian operator BSNL.

BSNL will be paying some 1.3 billion rupees (about US$15.9 million) for the advisory service. The key areas on which BCG will advise the service provider include reducing operational cost, improving revenue, providing better customer experience, leveraging emerging technologies to improve sales, and better sales and marketing strategies.

It's been reported that BCG will both devise strategies and also help implement them. It will also be given performance incentives. BCG will set up a project management office at BSNL’s corporate office. 

Specifically, BCG is to analyse the gaps in BSNL’s current approach across key circles (administrative areas, often equivalent to states) and help it achieve a number of revenue targets as well as reduce its operating expenses by 5% annually. A new sales and distribution policy and a reduction in commissions and incentives are also being targeted.

BSNL seems also to be targeting the need to improve customer complaint resolution and customer discovery, acquisition and retention. Data monetisation, how the brand can be strengthened, and better performance in the enterprise segment through cloud solutions, 5G captive networks and internet of things (IoT) solutions are also seen as important.

Implementing the recommendations will be subject to availability of resources, primarily capital expenditure funds.

According to the Economic Times news service, the BSNL Employees Union calls the engaging of BCG a futile exercise and suggests that workforce talent and experience are not being utilised to their full potential, though reported plans to outsource 90% of the company’s work may have helped to elicit this repose. As we have reported in the past, the union also cited slow deployment of 4G and 5G technologies as a contributor to the company’s problems.

The plan may be ambitious but, if it can be carried out successfully, it could address a number of big problems. It’s a big ‘if’, however. At the moment BSNL is not only a loss-making company but is said to be behind other telecom operators on many key QoS parameters including network availability, BTS downtime, call-drop rate and mean time to repair, to name only a few.

It’s also losing customers. India's Financial Express says that in 27 consecutive months till March, the company lost 26.2 million subscribers, taking its total subscriber base to 88.06 million.

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