What I’ve Learned About Business Partnerships From Helping Create ‘Serbia 2.0’

CEO of Telekom Srbija Group, a provider of fixed-line, mobile, television and internet communication services to over 11 million subscribers

Over recent years, Serbia has been undergoing a digital transformation so it can stand shoulder to shoulder with the most developed economies in the world. As part of this shift, my own company has focused on digital transformation in business. This is driven by my strong belief that world-class digital services and infrastructure can transform Serbia’s business environment and help build a digital society for millions of people, creating Serbia 2.0.

As I reflect on how far we have come, I conclude that the transformation into Serbia 2.0 can only be realized through partnerships with respected organizations from around the world. This is an important part of my country’s strategy and aspiration to evolve as both a local leader and global player. I believe it’s critical for global telecoms operators to engage in digital transformation. We have learned much on our journey, and I want to take this opportunity to share some of our experiences.

Funding And Sourcing Expertise For Serbia 2.0

Digitalization is key not only to my own company’s strategic growth but also to bringing about Serbia 2.0, where advanced digital services become embedded in our nation’s infrastructure. It goes without saying that digitalization requires investment. When it comes to funding, there are many options, but our decision-making process prioritizes partnering with organizations who are fully aligned with our goals and have a strong track record in our region.

Funding is only one important part of the transformation into Serbia 2.0; sourcing the right expertise is also vital. We acknowledge we can learn much from expert partners around the world who have already encountered and solved the challenges we face in the competitive telecoms sector. Such challenges include customer retention, digital infrastructure upgrades and procurement. We therefore look for leaders who have firsthand and world-class experience in the telecoms domain, as well as procurement and infrastructure capabilities beyond our sphere. When assessing potential partners for your own business, key considerations should include increasing operational efficiency, optimizing costs and improving the customer experience.

Content Is Still King

Infrastructure is only part of the digital experience; equally important for telecoms companies like mine is the delivery of premium content to valued subscribers. With this in mind, my company looks for world-class content partners to give our subscribers access to compelling, high-quality sports and news programming on our broadcast channels.

We plan for sustainable growth, customer acquisition and retention through continuous value creation for our subscribers. All our content acquisition is backed by market-based business planning and return on investment. Telecommunications businesses aiming for sustainable growth, customer acquisition and retention may benefit from a similar approach.

In the future, we may decide to invest more toward a specific category, like premium sports entertainment, that will enhance our overall brand amplification strategy. We obtain cumulative benefits from value creation across all categories, and our content strategy has proven effective in terms of subscriber acquisition. I hope this will be of interest to other telecommunications companies wishing to achieve similar aims. After all, customers seek premium content, and by partnering with those who provide the best, we are providing exactly that and will continue to do so.

Factors To Consider When Creating Transformative Partnerships

When my company makes board-level decisions regarding potential partners, we always begin by revisiting our strategic and commercial objectives. We ask whether our strategic interests are aligned with those of our prospective partners. Such alignment helps to reassure us that we can truly collaborate in a spirit of mutual trust toward a transformational goal that we both believe in. Our success is dependent on expertise, and we can always learn from others. Finally, we acknowledge the journey to success can be lengthy, so we enter partnerships for the long term to ensure we accomplish our goals.

The Future Of Serbia 2.0

My company sees digital opportunities as a key part of a more sustainable future for the Serbian economy and society. Significant partnerships with global leaders have been instrumental in helping us to achieve breakthrough transformation and growth as a world-class business. We are confident we have opted for the right partner development strategy. We expect this will serve us well as we play our part in creating a Serbia 2.0 economy fit for the 21st century. I hope these experiences will help inform your own company’s transformative journey.

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