Next-generation 5G networks may appear to be a faster version of the cellular networks we have today, but they offer much more than that.  Technology Leaders (or ‘CIOs’) need to act now and incorporate 5G into their enterprise digital strategy to ensure that new business models and innovative future services can be realised.

5G will have an energising effect and catalytic impact on a vast array of new technologies and services including the adoption of Cloud Computing and Internet of Things (‘IoT’).  The impact of 5G will be broad and deep in a variety of industries and government agencies.

5G is the cornerstone for digital transformation. CIOs need to champion this technology into the business to drive innovation.

The new role of the CIO needs to be the centrepiece in driving and delivering innovation and added value to any organisation impacted by 5G.  Andy Penn, Telstra CEO, said this new technology is a game-changer.  “No technology will do more to shape the 2020s…5G will revolutionise connectivity in Australia at a time when connected technologies have never been more important. Linking up with friends and family, work, school and accessing services has all had to be done digitally during COVID-19 and our recovery will depend on accelerating the digital economy.”

CIOs need to be the Catalyst for Change across the business

With new disruptive technology comes new business models and new value chains. CIOs need to ensure the executive team understands this new capability and how it will impact and add value to their business.

  • Explain to the executive team the value that 5G brings to your business. Try to answer the following questions.  How will 5G transform your business operations? What new services or business functions can be built on 5G? What is the business case for 5G?
  • Insert yourself into the business planning phase. The new role of the CIO will be the centrepiece in driving and delivering innovation and added value to their business.  The CIO must be both a champion and a coach; advocating, training and leading a business-driven digital transformation.
  • Upgrade your skills around 5G. Make sure you understand this new technology and what it will deliver over the next five years.  Talk to vendors, understand the standards and 5G roadmap, and join industry forums.

CIOs need to have a strong digital strategy in place that incorporates 5G wireless

While 5G bandwidth and speed will facilitate a surge in broadband and real-time communications in organisations, it will, without doubt, have a significant impact on an organisation’s IT strategic plan.

  • Incorporate wireless connectivity into your business plan. This could extend to; employee and corporate devices, video services, cloud and edge computing, and enterprise networking (access, in-building and campus), and new technologies of IoT, AR, VR, and AI.
  • Upgrade your communications infrastructure. Today most wireless infrastructure is based on Wi-Fi with cellular being an OPEX cost.  5G is different as base stations have dramatically shrunk in size and will be deployed in buildings and campus environments such as stadiums and train stations.  Additionally, planning is needed to support IoT networks connecting sensors and surveillance equipment.
  • Plan for the data avalanche. IoT over 5G has the potential to generate vast volumes of data. Rigorous data planning is required to ensure only the correct data is captured and to understand if this data needs to be dispatched in real-time or stored and forwarded at a later date.  Also, consideration needs to be given on where the data will be stored, locally or in the Cloud, and therefore what level of connectivity will be required, i.e., bandwidth, speed, quality of service, etc.
  • Update your cybersecurity plans to include 5G. As more devices are connected, there will be a substantial increase in potential cyber-attacks. By some estimates there 75 billion devices online by 2025. CIOs and CSOs must work out increased security measures when adopting 5G. Poor implementations of the current 5G standards can result in security risks.


  • Set new Business and IT Goals and make IT revisions. Based on findings, reset the organisation’s business and IT goals and update the digital strategy.  Review the network architecture and any plans for infrastructure revisions and upgrades.
  • Become 5G savvy by building your 5G knowledge and skills. Build 5G awareness across your organisation and ensure your management team understands the technology and how this applies to their business.  Get your IT organisation trained and up to speed on 5G.  While the networking team will require more in-depth training, it is critical that all members of your IT organisation understand how 5G will impact and add value to current and future IT programs.
  • Create a 5G and digital service sandbox. Incubate new ideas and inspire experimentation of 5G and new disruptive technologies. Try out use cases, build out prototypes and use this infrastructure to train IT and Networking professionals.
  • Build your 5G champions and create a 5G Work Group. The workgroup should include members from both business and IT.  This group needs to explore and identify the impact of 5G in terms of business innovation and transformation and how it will apply to the overall IT architecture.

What’s Next?

With superior expertise and track record in 5G and next-generation technology, Blenheim Partners has created the Technology and Digital Transformation Practice to provide you accessibility to a global network of proven and future leaders. The team consists of accomplished executives with over 35 years combined global experience as Chief Architects, CIO’s and Advisors to blue-chip organisations.

If you would like to share notes or better understand the impacts of 5G on your industry and organisation, please contact us.

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