Tom-Tom Erik Isaksen – Disrupt Yourself or Die

BY Shubham Bhattacharya ON FEBRUARY 12, 2018

Tom-Tom Erik Isaksen is the head of product, Norway, at Telia, a telecom service provider. He leads a department called Division X at Telia which creates next-generation concepts that are validated and adopted into the business lines. Speaking at Product Tank Oslo, he starts off saying: “Division X is building a whole new product in the engineering division. It is adopting lean and agile principles and working with cross-functional teams to build real products.”

How have telco product offerings evolved over the years? According to Tom-Tom, the core product offering of a telco has been connectivity: it’s been the one constant over the past 15 to 20 years. So, while the customers are being sold a wide variety of telco offerings, packaged in differing shapes and forms – the core proposition has pretty much been the same – connectivity. Which begs the question: “What happens to the telco business when connectivity becomes free?”

Looking forward another 15-20 years, Tom-Tom believes that connectivity will become free – and this will seriously challenge the business models of telcos. Looking ahead, there is a need for telcos to disrupt themselves. The path to achieving that, says Tom-Tom, is to step away from being a pure-play connectivity player and become a company that offers additional value on top of connectivity. At Telia, these next-generation offerings are being delivered in the form of improved interactivity experiences, Internet of Things, real-time data processing and analytics, digital identity concepts and artificial intelligence.

The key takeaway from Tom-Tom’s talk is that “businesses need to admit that they are all ripe for disruption and act accordingly”. It is essential to experiment with new product concepts and to adopt strategies building the next vehicle driving new revenue streams.


Shubham Bhattacharya

Shubham Bhattacharya has been working in the technology space since 2003. Starting as a software developer, he moved through different roles for 9 years. Subsequently transitioning to business roles after completing his MBA at HEC Paris, he has worked in product roles in B2C and B2B space. He volunteers for the Product Tank team at Oslo.