Navigating the Digital Landscape: Corporate Governance Challenges in Telecom

If corporate governance is the task of threading your company through the maze of regulatory and financial requirements to ensure success, telecommunications governance threads a fiberoptic cable through a digital maze.

Telecommunications has shifted from wires and sound to wi-fi and data. New regulatory demands means a change in corporate governance requirements and a new focus for your business.

A Definition of Corporate Governance

Corporate governance is the system of guidelines, rules, and regulations that controls a company’s direction. Corporate governance balances the needs of all stakeholders while maintaining profitability and government compliance.

Corporate governance can be shareholder based, as practiced in America, or supervisory, a system used in Europe and Asia. In the shareholder model, a board of directors and majority shareholders control the direction of the company, and are responsible for ensuring it remains compliant. In the supervisory model, individuals with ties to government or outside interests direct the company.

In both cases, good corporate governance depends on:

  • Fairness. The governing board must treat all stakeholders with equal consideration.
  • Transparency. The board must be open about all dealings and provide accurate information about financial transactions.
  • Responsibility. The board is the one responsible for all corporate decisions and outcomes.
  • Accountability. The board must explain the purpose and results of all actions.

Telecommunications Oversight

Telecom governance is directly related to corporate governance. To achieve quality telecom governance, the governing board must focus their governance program on data governance in the same way they handle the overall corporate structure.

Step One: Merge Business Objectives with Data Governance

A Harvard Business Review study found that more that 65% of target users of data governance programs within a business did not understand how that program impacted their division or what it did for the overall corporate structure. In other words, they were playing the notes without hearing the song. 

Data management must be FCC compliant and meet other federal and state regulations. At the same time, you must reassure shareholders that investment goals are being met. Your business governance and data governance goals must be merged for efficient operations. Maintaining transparency and good communication is only part of the equation. You need to ensure that the data you want is being retained and that only unneeded data is being eliminated. 

Step Two: Evaluate Datasets and Prioritize For Value

Not all data is created equal. Some financial studies suggest that 95% of business results come from 5% of their data. Since that’s the case, your data governance should focus on the top revenue earners first, and second on the lower-tier information. 

What are those top earners? It depends on your company. For some telecoms, it may be subscribers and billing data. It may be network capacity and bandwidth. You will know when you’ve evaluated and ranked your datasets and analyzed their value.

Telecom companies handle a vast amount of customer data. Not all of it is important to the company, but most of it is considered “sensitive” data by federal and state law. When assessing your data and prioritizing datasets for action or storage, you’ll need to keep an eye on security. That means listening to your people at every level of the company. 

Step Three: Get Everyone Involved

Imagine an orchestra where not only did each musician only know their own part, they also don’t even know there are other instruments in the orchestra pit. A company that doesn’t communicate is in about the same situation. Each department does its job, but has no idea what other departments are doing.

Telecoms that don’t communicate cannot provide vital information across the gaps. Data governance needs bottom-up transfer as well as top-down. Information must flow from the IT department to the governing board so they have the details they need for critical decisions.

Many companies talk about “open door” policies.” For working corporate governance, it is essential that you have one, and not merely give lip service to the idea. Every employee and department must know that their input is a critical part of data and corporate governance.

Step Four: Make Data Governance Part of Corporate Governance

Telecom operations are increasingly data-driven. Whenever input is received from a source, it becomes part of the dataset of the company. The entire corporate structure must be geared towards integrating data governance into the corporate culture and using it to enhance the system.

For instance, if a billing office becomes aware of a potential data breach, the office should take steps to resolve the issue. But it should also be able to pass the cause of the breach and the resolution up the corporate chain with assurance that both cause and solution will be reviewed at each step.

Conclusion: Data Governance and Corporate Management

Fitting data governance into your corporate governance scheme takes a robust data management system. Even top telecom companies need assistance when it is time to assess their data stream and determine where and how they need to revise their systems.

Consider the data breach mentioned above. Bad governance would assume that once the breach was sealed, all was well and nothing further needed to be done. Or that the fault lies with the billing office and place blame on the managers at the office. The breach would be seen as a minor issue and not part of the corporate culture.

Good corporate governance with strong data governance will take the report as an opportunity to improve data management and response capability. The facts in the case will be directed to the appropriate departments. The final resolution should be passed back down to the original office so they know if their solution was appropriate or if it should be changed next time.

If you are ready to meld corporate governance and data governance in your telecommunications company, call Athennian for a customized demo. They offer database management systems with automated data collection analysis so you can carry out dataset valuation quickly. Document management software will enhance communication and transparency across all departments. Athennian management software helps you implement changes and update your employees throughout your company as they occur.

Learn More with Athennian

With industries facing disruptions and global challenges, modern organizations need an additional layer of resilience to operate under an increased level of uncertainty and pursue their business objectives. 

Entity management software offers this extra layer of resilience by ensuring full visibility into organizational structure, instant access to all corporate records, automated compliance and efficient workflows. If you wish to learn more about how entity management can help prepare your business to operate at a time of uncertainty, please don't hesitate to contact the Athennian team for a free consultation and demo.

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