Deutsche Telekom’s Dirk Eckert Harnesses Digital Disruption

VMware’s Agents of Change initiative celebrates technology leaders who challenge the status quo. By harnessing the power of digital transformation, they create unlimited possibilities for their businesses. Here’s the next technology leader in the Agents of Change series: Dirk Eckert, managing director of Deutsche Telekom individual solutions and products.

Deutsche Telekom is Europe’s leading telecom provider, ranked seventh globally[1]. Maintaining this position is no mean feat. In recent years, much of this success has been attributed to the company’s digital transformation journey.

“Embracing digitization has been critical to the ongoing success of Deutsche Telekom,” explains Dirk Eckert, managing director of Deutsche Telekom individual solutions and products. “It makes us more agile, innovative and faster—and this enables us to accelerate digitization for our customers.”

Innovating at Scale

Company-wide transformation and innovation can be difficult for businesses the size of Deutsche Telekom. Many are structured to suit their currently successful business model. But the decline of any business model is inevitable, and these lifecycles are shorter and shorter.

“What matters today is whether a company is structurally organized to absorb innovation and take it to scale,” observes Eckert.

For example, Eckert was instrumental in driving a huge transformation in the company’s internal digital workspace strategy. This required a new digital foundation, which enables the company to flex and absorb new mobile and cloud technologies without disrupting business operations. Now that it’s built, IT can easily and securely integrate application and device innovation while employees enjoy a seamless and easy experience.

“We want employees to be as comfortable with their work environment as with their favorite app at home,” he says. He succeeded in delivering his employee-first vision. In fact, it’s so successful that it launched as a service to Deutsche Telekom’s customers.

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The Shift to 5G

Innovation is key to Deutsche Telekom maintaining its market position. The organization is overhauling its network to get ready for the roll out of 5G.

“The shift to 5G is really exciting. It’s going to be special,” says Eckert. “Things will be much faster and take place in real time. 5G will provide a fabric of connectivity between people and objects that we haven’t had before. It will bring us things that we do not even imagine and see today.”

Deutsche_Telekom_innovation_ecosystem

The Sweet Spot for Innovation

Of course, digital transformation and innovation is not only about embracing new technologies. It’s a complex, company-wide effort — and it must stretch even further. “Innovation requires smart collaboration with partners,” observes Eckert.

“I think it’s really important that companies like Deutsche Telekom open themselves up for an ecosystem of partners. In former times, companies were prone to operate alone, and I think this is completely changing. You cannot be successful today as a lone ranger. A good partner ecosystem brings you new perspectives and keeps you on the edge of technology developments.”

For Eckert, innovation happens when the two come together. “When you combine the technology intelligence you gain from your ecosystem of partners with your acumen about which technologies can bring about a disruptive change in your business models, that’s the sweet spot for innovation.”

Learn from Other Agents of Change

This article is the latest in the Agents of Change series, a look at how technology leaders challenge the status quo to discover new possibilities for their organizations.

 

[1] https://www.investopedia.com/articles/markets/030216/worlds-top-10-telecommunications-companies.asp