CenturyLink‘s top priorities for the new year include completing its integration with Level 3 Communications and making its customer experience digital, from quoting to payment collections.
That’s according to Sunit Patel, CenturyLink’s chief financial officer. He spoke during this week’s Citi 2018 Global TMT West Conference in Las Vegas.
CenturyLink completed its $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 on Nov. 1. Its network now connects more than 350 metropolitan areas with more than 100,000 fiber-enabled, on-net buildings, including 10,000 buildings in EMEA and Latin America.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do in terms of digitizing our customer experience so people don’t have to call to find out why their network is down, how long is it going to take, etc.,” Patel said. “So I think focusing on that will simultaneously improve our customer experience; it will drive a lot of change inside the enterprise in terms of automating workflows for our employees so they can support our customers better. A digital future for us inside and how we interact with our customers is going to be pretty important.”
A third, longer-term goal is addressing how CenturyLink goes to market with its customers and the services they buy, he said.
“Being able to offer your network on more of a shared-services basis as opposed to completely private networks we think is the long-term future of the business,” Patel said. “That’s more of a 2019-20 focus.”
In terms of gaining enterprise market share, CenturyLink already has taken steps, such as organizing its customer segments according to their distinct needs, capital and strategic priorities, he said.
“The other big thing is the scale that we now have in the United States; we are the second-largest enterprise provider in the [U.S.], larger than Verizon and second to AT&T,” Patel said. “I think that scale and the network footprint that we have will allow us to improve our win-loss ratios. We should be able to win in the marketplace a lot more because our network goes to more places than any of our competitors do. And more importantly, unlike our larger competitors whose enterprise business is maybe only about 15 percent plus or minus a few percentage points, that revenue for us is 75 percent and the bulk of our capital expenditures. I think you’ll see our performance in the enterprise marketplace generally improve as we continue to take share there.”
Legacy revenues are expected to continue declining this year, while demand for bandwidth will continue to increase, he said.
“Looking forward, you’re going to have a lot more bandwidth demand driven by machine-to-machine bandwidth needs, the Internet of Things (IoT), etc.,” Patel said. “There’s a constant need for more bandwidth, so while you might have different legacy services going down and new services going up, the backdrop is everyone needing more bandwidth.”