The eSIM journey

The eSIM journey

Taking a technology from ideation to global adoption.

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Shahar Yaacobi, Head of Global Marketing, IoT & Digital Brand


12 Jul 2023

The eSIM journey

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It all started about seven years ago, when we first heard about eSIM – the digital SIM card that can be embedded into mobile devices.

It immediately caught my attention, as it was clear to me that the eSIM’s displacement of the plastic SIM was inevitable. All you have to do is look at other digital displacements in media and communications – such as what happened to DVDs when Netflix came on the scene, and what Spotify did to CDs, for example.

It was very exciting. I could see the revolution on the horizon. For, by virtue of its being digital, eSIM would change so much and was sure to introduce so many new opportunities to the industry.

Off to the drawing board

So, my team and I went off to do some strategic thinking and lots of research, to envision what the eSIM world would be like in four to five years’ time, what our customers’ needs would be, what their customers’ needs would be, and what kind of solution we should bring to them to help them capture the opportunity.

We put in great efforts and indeed identified the needs, concerns, and opportunities that would arise for our customers and their partner ecosystem, as well as what all this would mean for the front- and back-end systems that will need to support all the new services and processes.

Taking it to the field

We developed a solution and went to the field to meet with service providers, to discuss what eSIM could mean for them and how we can help. We met with them face-to-face in their offices, in our offices, and at industry and Amdocs events.

We also met with analysts, shared our vision in published interviews and blog posts, and empowered the sales force with information and demos.

It wasn’t easy

Just as with so many things in life and business that are worth doing, it wasn’t easy. To start with, bringing people to realize that a new technology is about to dominate, that it will definitely have a significant effect on their future business and that they should get prepared for it- was just as playing a prophet at the gate. Moreover, making sure that we were engaging with the right individuals in the organization was challenging. This was a new domain, and there really was no single owner for eSIM.

So, we spoke with anyone who could gain value from it – IT, the network folks, marketing, the CIO, CMO, and others. Although the value was clear to us, during those early days, there was a significant gap between what we and others were seeing, both in terms of the opportunity and how it could/should be brought to life.

So, we made it our mission to evangelize the value and opportunity and to make the story as clear as possible to all.

"We believed in our vision for the technology and the approach of our solution. And rightfully so, for soon our vision would come to life (spoiler – in comes Apple)."

An evolving marketing story

At first, our focus was on educating the market about what eSIM actually was (the ‘what’). But interest was low, especially because our target audience thought it was bad to their business. Then we shifted to sharing all the amazing value that eSIM brings (the ‘why’). Again, not enough engagement.

After a couple of years, we noted that the market had caught on a bit and that the eSIM story was no longer about what or why. Rather, it needed to be about “hey, it’s here, let’s get started!” Yet, not everyone was convinced.

As you can see – we didn’t give up! We believed in our vision for the technology and the approach of our solution. And rightfully so, for soon our vision would come to life (spoiler – in comes Apple).

In the meantime, we continued to develop our cloud SaaS platform, tell the eSIM story, sharing with service providers and the industry what should be done so they can be ready for the revolution.

Finally, a great leap forward

The big change had finally come with Apple, which also believed in the same vision, announcing that its devices will be eSIM enabled. However, many service providers didn’t think they needed any help, because they were running an eSIM pilot with the Apple Watch, and had it under control.

At this point, our story had to shift again. This time the focus was on the complexity of moving beyond the smartwatch, and on all the different considerations that may not be obvious. For example, eSIM requires service providers to support multiple eSIMs on the same device. It also means that they need to be able to send profiles across the network, deactivate eSIMs remotely, and to lock specific eSIMs to specific devices. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The good news was that at Amdocs, we did our homework at the very beginning and had created a solution that would take care of all of this and much more.

And today, after this long journey of ideation, development, evangelizing and evangelizing some more, it all paid off and we now have dozens of service providers leveraging our solution which serves millions of eSIM-enabled subscribers all over the world.

More good news- just recently our leadership in the eSIM domain was recognized by a leading research company, Counterpoint research, as the #1 orchestration platform, among 23 vendors checked. This is a great affirmation to the superiority of our solution and the great work we put in our solution.

"If you think you know better than your customer, they’ll pick up on that, and that will likely close up the channels of communication."

My 5 principles of success

Yet, none of this could not have been possible if it wasn’t for the following five principles of success:

  • Secure C-suite support for your vision
  • Don’t fall in love with the story
  • Harness the agility and flexibility of start-ups
  • Be ready to do whatever it takes
  • Be humble

Secure C-suite support for your vision

It was seven years ago that we first presented the eSIM opportunity to the Amdocs leadership team with a projection of four years from vision to revenues.

But as things happen, it took longer. The market needed more time to mature than we had initially anticipated. But all throughout this journey the vision never failed to resonate with the company’s executives. And without their faith and support, we couldn’t have made it. That kind of backing is vital to any successful business initiative.

Don’t fall in love with the story

If there’s one thing that I learned about storytelling through this experience, it’s that you can’t fall in love with your story.

As the market evolves, as it happened with our new technology, customers are going through a process of change. Their beliefs, perceptions, understanding, and desires are constantly changing, and as a marketing expert, you need to tailor the story to their current state-of-mind, so that they will want and need to hear it.

So if you want to bridge the gap between customer perception and the vision of your solution, then you need to let go and reframe as needed, without getting emotionally attached to any specific value prop, killer slogan, or brilliant positioning statement.

Harness the agility and flexibility of start-ups

The IoT division at Amdocs is a very special one. It was founded by a small team of experienced and talented people, headed by a visionary founder who already established and sold a very successful company. We have the freedom to function as a start-up. We’re nimble, agile, and flexible, and have the space to be as creative as we want and need to be to differentiate and lead.

This also enables us to be very close to the market, to engage with our customers as often and as deeply as they need us to, and as we need to, so we can provide them with a solution that’s supremely aligned to their needs.

Be ready to do whatever it takes

Mine is a lean marketing team. At times I’ve had to roll up my sleeves and get my hands directly on anything from strategy, to market research, planning and budgeting, branding and messaging, sales enablement and support, customer engagement, media and events, content and campaigns, partnerships, you name it.

If you want to get the job done, then do whatever it takes to make it happen.

Be humble

I found that throughout my engagements with service providers, what they seemed to appreciate the most is that I never put on the pressure to convince. Instead, I came with an authentic desire to understand their needs and concerns and only then to come with a valuable and viable solution to those needs.

If you think you know better than your customer, they’ll pick up on that, and that will likely close up the channels of communication. The key to a successful engagement is a partnership-first, consultative (and humble) approach.

So, in conclusion, I am proud to say that my personal eSIM journey has been, and still is!, exciting, fun, and even remarkable. Taking a technology from ideation to global adoption is the stuff that marketers’ dreams are made of.

What are your principles for success? Drop me a line and lets get the conversation started.

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