By Park Jun-young WIRED Korea
SK Telecom is asking fundamental questions about itself and its business strategy. They include why employees have to spend an hour or so commuting to the headquarters in Seoul’s busiest urban core and why senior managers make policy decisions on services to be consumed by people in their 20s or 30s.
Soul searching has started at SK Telecom as the coronavirus has been replacing business as usual with new normal. It has apparently dawned on SK Telecom, a leading Korean tech company, that it cannot survive if it fails to break the mold of past face-to-face business practices and pursue innovations that would be required in an upcoming post-pandemic era.
Against this dire backdrop, the company’s president, Park Jung-ho, hosted a recent online town hall meeting with top managers of not only SK Telecom but its associate companies focusing on information-communication technology.
With Park and 20 other top managers placed in the conference room, some called in by mobile phone for discussions and others used the video conferencing format in a four-hour conference that was broadcast to 40,000 managers and employees.
In his keynote speech, Park said SK Telecom should break the mold of measuring its competitiveness with the use of conventional variables, such as the average revenue per user, the number of users and the market share. Instead, he said, it has to devise a new model of evaluation tailored for each distinct digital service.
SK Telecom will have to accommodate initial losses from new artificial intelligence- and cloud-based services when they promise to open up opportunities for profitable businesses in the long term.
“Though the coronavirus has forced a slowdown in business throughout the world, we, as an ICT enterprise, have to move and change faster than any time in the past if we are to overcome a global crisis,” he said.
For a change in management, he proposed to create what he called a “junior board” of employees in their 20s or 30s and give it the power to make decisions on services specifically designed for young clients before the company rolls them out in the market.
This would mark a departure from the decision-making process put in place in 2018. SK Telecom created a company-wide service committee in the year, manning it with senior managers from different branches. The committee was given the power to make decisions on a newly developed service after being briefed by developers.
Park also proposed to sidestep his company’s organizational rigidity and make it possible to assemble a temporary “agile” group for a new service when such a team is urgently needed.
Another idea Park proposed was to move offices from the company’s headquarters to key locations in Seoul’s metropolitan areas and make it possible for employees to report to work at the office that is nearest to their home. This would reduce their commuting time to less than 20 minutes, the company says.
The company said work on the proposal is gaining momentum, with suggestions coming in from employees, who have experienced working from home as a consequence of the coronavirus outbreak.
Park Jun-young’s Korean-language article is found at "박정호 SKT 사장, "언택트 시대는 기회, 舊시대 공식 모두 깬다".
저작권자 © WIRED Korea 무단전재 및 재배포 금지
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