Turkcell As Strategic Coverage & Inclusivenessss Çiğdem Yorgancioğlu

Turkcell as strategic coverage & inclusivenessss – Çiğdem Yorgancioğlu

Turkcell turns 30, and its goals have been quite hot topics in the past week. With a decade of experience as a Contract and Procurement Specialist and a former Turkcell employee who has traveled the world, Economist, Trainer, and Forensic Expert H. Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu offered assessments regarding the dynamics behind Turkcell’s success during its 30th year, including her own experiences and observations. Meanwhile, the company’s CEO’s statements were also referenced in context.

Here, Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu sheds light on the significant features behind Turkcell’s success. Briefly, from the perspective of a TURKCELL employee, evaluations and insights on success stories from Turkcell’s 30-year history are presented as follows:

Remember the advertising slogan? You might not recall it these days unless you pay attention to one of the commercials on TV. Now, let’s transpose the sentence: for 30 years, Turkcell has witnessed technologies that have facilitated lives. Often, in understanding and interpreting one’s experiences and observations, it’s necessary to look at the footnotes and between the lines, not just at one moment but throughout its evolutionary process.

My time with Turkcell was a great professional and life experience for me. It accounts for one-third of Turkcell’s history. I joined Turkcell with the new millennium in 2000. The third-generation (3G) wireless telephone technology was just beginning to emerge globally. While I pursued my goal of traveling the world, I was also working. These were the years I was still with the company; Turkcell Technology was established in 2007. We handled Technical Procurement Contracts both domestically and internationally, focusing on research and development and innovation in the field of information and communication technologies. Turkcell’s IT experience had turned into an academy of sorts. The establishment of Turkcell Academy also contributed to the growth of companies. It was a platform for mutual learning and sharing within different specialties. While Turkey’s digital technology history was being written, software contracts came and went before us, strong contracts born from our hands, efforts, and expertise. If Turkcell Technology now serves over 100 million customers in many countries, it is the extension of a successful step taken with a broad future vision back then. I travel around the world, and Turkcell appears everywhere. The most interesting encounter was in Spain in 2002, where I came across a company called Amarula that had copied its logo onto bags. I reported the situation to the company. I continued to follow the developments after me, sometimes from afar and sometimes closely. Whoever or whatever leads to groundbreaking innovations or plays a role in shaping the future, my perception naturally gravitates towards them. Didn’t this happen in Chi Ci Talks themed discussions? Turkcell Technology receiving the “Local R&D Center” certification from the Ministry of Science, Industry, and Technology in 2013 was also a significant move. It had become one of Turkey’s largest R&D Centers among Technology, Information, and Communication Technologies companies, with thousands of research staff. Conducting R&D studies on new technologies in R&D Centers and commercializing the gains by developing innovative products, services, and solutions was a good idea and a good move. Turkcell Technology participates in European R&D Collaboration programs and continues its membership in ITEA and CELTIC clusters under the Eureka program, growing steadily. In my opinion, these three issues were the ones that most contributed to the growth of the company: closely following technology and investing in technological transformation, which could be called a broad future vision; secondly, developing strategies; and thirdly, capturing people and everyone, reaching everyone, touching everyone’s lives. Although there were changes in management, these are probably the three key points that have kept the organization standing and growing, in my opinion. Of course, I’m not saying that their high-quality services and solution-oriented approach didn’t have an impact. The years I was in the company coincided with one of Turkey’s most important economic and political crises; both supply and demand contracted. Overnight interest rates had soared to 7500%. Then the exchange rate fluctuated. It was 2001, and then in 2008, there was the global economic and financial crisis. While Turkcell was overcoming these, I was following each process. None of these were magic; it was about the strategic management of a process. It emerged stronger from crises, creating value once again. In times when uncertainties began to prevail, perhaps the most important success was continuously developing strategies to optimize predictability and control risk and providing agile responses to change. Nothing is stagnant, everything is dynamic at Turkcell. Therefore, unconventional changes were also well managed and activated. Perhaps it is still the case now. It’s a culture. Those who resist change disappear; those who turn their backs on transformation lose. In our time, we were given BlackBerry phones. It was cool to carry them around. Look at the legendary BlackBerry, the pioneer of mobile technology; see how it disappeared from the market, resisting change, not adopting touch screen technology actually hurt it. Apple was coming full throttle. There was a company called Research In Motion (RIM) in Canada. I used to handle their accounts once upon a time. Anyway, those are leaves from the past. In short, besides security vulnerabilities, it not only failed to adapt to technology but also made strategic mistakes. This accelerated its downfall, and BlackBerry became a thing of the past. There are lessons to be learned from these points.

I think Turkcell has succeeded in touching human lives and encompassing humanity. That is, beyond the coverage area and inclusiveness of a telecommunications company’s mobile network infrastructure. Turkcell’s CEO, Dr. Koç, says, “We are everywhere, with everyone, with everything…” I would like to add one more dimension to his words, and that is the dimension of time. Fourteen years have passed since I retired and began to focus on the education sector, and still, “Turkcell is everywhere.” We can rephrase the sentence like this: Where isn’t Turkcell? In short, I should say; once you become a part of Turkcell’s bloodstream, or to reverse the sentence, once Turkcell becomes a part of your life’s bloodstream, even if you leave the company, you remain a Turkcellian for life. Turkcell employees do not detach from each other. It’s like the graduates of Mülkiye [Ankara University Faculty of Political Science]. Turkcell has become a school, almost an institution in Turkey, over its 30 years. I remember well the projects, launches, Corporate Games swimming competitions, post-workout sessions, social responsibility projects with Turkcell Volunteers, our activities with veterans, our first mentoring and auditing experiences, motivating our ideas, rewarding social activities; I remember them all fondly. I’m glad it touched a period of my life. Turkcell even accompanied me on my world travels at times; in South Africa, children lined up to take photos with snail antennas. In Kenya, during my ordinary communications with elephants, they showed great interest in my yellow antennas. When I watched the football match between the elephants, I had Turkcell antennas over my head. These are other pleasant memories. Now, let’s come to the fundamental motivation behind my statements. Of course, it’s true that I’m satisfied as an employee, but my purpose here is not to praise Turkcell or give a testimonial. I genuinely believe that over 30 years, Turkcell has added value to society. The constantly rising success graph of Turkcell over 30 years provides insight into the keys to success in other aspects of life. Those that touch people win, those that unite people, that inclusiveness wins. That’s the meaning of diversity and inclusivity. The world needs an understanding that embraces all segments of society. And so does our country, inevitably. This can only be achieved by investing in technology, R&D, and science, and by foreseeing future visions and strategies. Looking at Corporate Life specifically, the Business World constantly publishes Guides to fill in the concepts of Diversity and Inclusion. For a better Turkey, a better world, not only in information technologies, energy, or logistics, but in every field. I can say this is the unity of those who do not want to separate or be separated and want to be part of the whole. It’s quite hopeful to see inclusivity, touching people, taking precautions against security vulnerabilities before they occur, developing strategies, and a visionary perspective in every sector, in every field, for a better world. When we look at the principles of the Global Compact based on the Human Rights Declaration and the principles of the Global Principles Agreement, it guides companies on diversity and inclusivity. Turkcell is doing exactly that. In its 30-year history, Turkcell “embraced inclusivity.”

Turkcell 30 Yılda Kapsayıcılığı Kapsadı Çiğdem Yorgancıoğlu (2)

Technology and strategy, inclusivity, in my opinion, are strong and highly secure pillars.

Looking at Technology Summits, I remember they used to bring together hundreds of domestic and foreign thought leaders with tens of thousands of participants, and powerful slogans were chosen at these technology summits. I remember one of them had slogans like ‘Technology for People’ and ‘Turkey Can Do It’. Doesn’t it sound powerful to you too? Two slogans that could capture everyone. Look, in the current speech of the CEO, he says, “Thanks to our end-to-end technology provider position, regardless of whether it’s a Turkcell line or not, we can now say that almost everyone can be called a Turkcell user,” he said. Look, again in his speech, Turkcell CEO, with more than 56 million subscribers including individual, corporate, and connected devices, emphasizes how they touch the lives of all 84 million people today. As Çiğdem, I say this: despite changing managements throughout the long years since the early days of Turkcell, the strongest driving force was UNITING and CONNECTING PEOPLE. Remember their slogans from past years, “CONNECT TO LIFE WITH TURKCELL.”

Economic, technological, and industrial growth, accelerating digital maturity, and increasing the capacity to continuously diversify production and service structures are certainly distinguishing features. Turkcell demonstrates this with its vision of inclusivity towards PEOPLE. Turkcell has truly given “inclusivity” its due in business.

The words of Turkcell CEO Koç, referred to by Yorgancıoğlu, were as follows. Starting a new era in communication technologies with the first ‘Hello’ from a mobile phone in 1994, Turkcell announced its new goals in its 30th year of establishment. Saying that ‘innovative technologies’ are at the core of the company’s future strategy, Turkcell CEO Dr. Ali Taha Koç said, “Just as we started a new era in our country with the vision of ‘Technology for People’ 30 years ago and put forward a strategy beyond its time; In our 30th year, we will contribute to our country’s social, economic, and cultural development with a vision that goes beyond today, with a new strategy. We will further expand our position as an end-to-end technology provider,” he said. Everything works with Turkcell, Turkcell works with everyone, determined to make “Turkey’s Century the Century of Digital.” “Our story, which started with voice communication and SMS, has progressed step by step with MMS, WAP, GPRS, EDGE, 3G, and 4.5G technologies. Along with this progress, the continuous increase in the hardware capabilities of our mobile phones and advancements in screen technologies have accompanied us. In this transformation journey, voice communication has long ceased to be our only business. We host very valuable companies in our ecosystem. With companies like Paycell, TV+, BiP, fizy, lifebox, GAME+, Turkcell Global Bilgi, Turkcell Superonline, our data centers, our energy plants, and many more, we offer innovative solutions to individuals and industries. Just as millions of individuals, hundreds of thousands of companies also work with Turkcell’s strong infrastructure and technology. When we look proudly at our history that leaves a mark on Turkey’s digital journey, we see that wherever there is technology, there is Turkcell, everything works with Turkcell, Turkcell works with everyone.” “As Turkcell, we do not only serve people,” said Turkcell CEO, stating that despite having more than 56 million subscribers (individual, corporate, connected devices) within the Turkcell Group, they touch the lives of all 84 million, whether they have a SIM card or not; “We said that everyone will be a Turkcell user, everyone’s path will somehow pass through Turkcell; today we see that the people and institutions we serve are not only those who have a Turkcell SIM card. For us, those who benefit from our infrastructure in critical areas such as city hospitals, airports, those who use our digital technologies in autonomous systems are also Turkcell users. Thanks to our position as an end-to-end technology provider, regardless of whether it’s a Turkcell line or not, we can now say that almost everyone can be called a Turkcell user,” he said. “Strategic focus areas: Data, Energy, Cybersecurity, Artificial Intelligence,” Dr. Ali Taha Koç stated that Turkcell provides technology infrastructure, digital transformation operations, and cybersecurity for 600 thousand institutions and organizations. Koç said, “While doing all these, we use productive artificial intelligence technologies in an integrated manner with our digital operator competence, test satellite technologies, work on quantum technologies. We will continue to provide end-to-end technology, maintaining our position as Turkey’s leading technology and system integrator. Our research and development efforts, digital business services, energy and cloud computing operations, data center and cybersecurity activities are the strategic focus areas of our 30th year,” he said. Turkcell CEO Dr. Koç made the following statements about the contribution of the company to Turkey over 30 years and its future vision: “We invest what we earn from Turkey back into Turkey,” “Throughout our 30-year history, we have been with millions of citizens from every age group and every segment of society, from education to sports, from culture and arts to sustainability. We have not forgotten the women involved in production, the shining stars of the future youth, and the athletes who make us proud with their successes. We will continue our investments that will increase Turkey’s power in the global arena and present a more beneficial digital future for society. Whether they are our customers or not, from people to objects, from companies to the technology ecosystem and dozens of sectors, from social responsibility to environmental sustainability… We are everywhere, with everyone, with everything… We invest what we earn from Turkey back into Turkey.” Turkcell’s 30th-year advertising face, actor Kerem Bürsin, emphasizes the message “Everything works with Turkcell, Turkcell works with everyone” in the new advertising campaign, the brand narrates its end-to-end provided technologies with different stories. In the film where Kerem Bürsin takes the lead role and shooting lasts for four days, it is emphasized that Turkcell is present in every moment of life. It is conveyed that they connect not only individuals but also companies and sectors to each other; in areas where the brand is not visible such as smart devices, autonomous vehicles, city hospitals, and airports, the message is given that mobile communication is provided with Turkcell. Turkcell CEO Koç states that the new campaign supports the company’s 30th-year strategy.

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