AS a former employee, turned customer, I care deeply for the company. And, I am really worried at the current state of affairs.
I worked exactly 10 years at Ericsson. I spent numerous days and nights on flights and in hotel rooms getting ready to meet our customers all around the globe. I loved it. Ericsson was vibrant and its customers were eager to jump on to the next wave…
I also experienced, from the inside, the pathology that led to the current situation. Here are some reflections that you, dear new CEO, can use or dismiss as you please. But, that are meant to provide at least some input for your decision on Ericsson’s future.
- Product Management is world class. Yes, really! You can complain all you want about Ericsson’s products and roadmap. But the reality is that Ericsson’s product people are (-mostly) world class. By now I know this for a fact. No other vendor comes close. The people in product (and R&D) come with great solutions and great product ideas. Listen more to them.
- Services are not the future of anything. Sorry to ruin the party (…Rickard, the party pooper…). Services were a one-way street to misery. Really. Basically all other professional service firms do what Ericsson does, only better and cheaper. Stop this right away. No significant innovation comes from the service business and “cost out”-thinking will lead nowhere.
- Cloud is the future. But don’t get lost in geektown. Operators all around the world are looking for new revenues streams. Focus on this. Working with cost cutting in datacenters alone will not win the game. Innovation and technology leadership needs to be emphasised. Else, just don’t do it.
-Win 5G. It’s that simple. Just bloody win. Grab market share and win share of mind. This will be the last major telecom opportunity of our generation. Just win, that’s it.
- On that note: a winning attitude… Ericsson and the Telecom sector as a whole has a Meta level problem of being a shit industry right now. Telecom is the only significant (and advanced) tech sector that is shrinking year-over-year. Nobody in their right minds would today opt as a first hand choice to embark on a career in telecom. We need to change this. Suggestion: Bring forward your best engineers and product leaders. Bring forward all the experiments that you do. Cost cutting as headline will not do it. Becoming an epicenter of talent requires inspiring product leaders. What if, the next SVP of product, actually knows how to code and can show a demo of the next big thing on stage. That would be new gen…
In addition to the above I could mention all the missed and lost opportunities that happened over the last decade (investments, products etc…). But, this would not help… I care deeply for the existence of a strong telco cluster in the Nordics. I care deeply for the telecom sector being a gravitational force of top talent. And, Ericsson is THE driving force behind much of this. For what it’s worth. Just make a stance at becoming great again.
Head of Innovation at Telia Company – Eisenhower Fellow – One of Sweden’s 101 Top Supertalents – Published Author – MBA