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News for telcos both good and bad when it comes to preparing for market rebound, study finds

Spencer Stuart, a global executive search consulting firm and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), re...

June 3, 2003  

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Spencer Stuart, a global executive search consulting firm and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), released a study today at Supercomm 2003 that focuses on what communications systems and services companies need to do to get ready for a market upturn.

"In talking with the team at TIA, we quickly determined that strategic human capital planning and related board governance issues at communications companies are of great interest to the industry at large,” said John Keller, managing director of Spencer Stuart’s communications practice.

“The quality of a company’s management team may be one of the most important elements of building a successful plan to prepare for the market’s rebound,” said Matthew Flanigan, president of TIA.

Key findings of the study reveal that:

* Even though spending has been drastically cut, new product/service development and the growth of key partnerships and alliances are considered the most important factors affecting company strategy and operating plans;

* Cost reduction is central to current business decisions. Financial constraints and the obsession with stabilizing the business are impeding growth and planning for the future;

* Downsizing has left huge functional gaps in customer-facing functions, particularly sales and marketing, as well as R&D, and

* While leaders are concerned with retaining their best talent, only 66 per cent of respondents said their companies are working on a comprehensive human capital plan.

In summary, companies are struggling to balance cost reductions with a need to review constantly the balance between product and service development, and the selling and marketing of those products and services, the study says.

"The communications industry, challenged to retain its best and brightest people lest they move to other industries such as life sciences and technology, must review carefully current and future functional gaps," it concludes.

"Establishing the vision and supporting the leaders who can reach business goals requires a talent and human capital plan focusing on attraction, development and retention."

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