CSPs need software-driven ops model for digital economy: study

digital transformation
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Digitalization is fundamentally reshaping the way businesses are being operated, which means that businesses – including CSPs – will need a new operational model for the future operational environment to remain competitive.

That’s the key finding of a recently released study [PDF] conducted by Analysys Mason in collaboration with Huawei. And that’s why CSPs are embarking on their own digital transformation journey to increase service agility and operational efficiency through infrastructure evolution and operations transformation.

In developing the study, Analysys Mason worked with Huawei to provide insights into how software is changing the world. The study argues that the success of CSPs’ operations transformation hinges on a new software-driven operations model that is already driving the success of digital businesses across different industries.

The new operational model must support high levels of process automation to the point where predictive autonomous operations becomes a reality, enabling CSPs to automatically pre-empt and tackle service quality issues before they occur.

The study explains several key areas that cover the radical overhaul of the operations model; why CSPs must adopt a multi-pronged transformative approach; the need for continuous innovation, ecosystems and lean operations; and the strategic journey to achieve digital operation transformation.

The paper explains how the current operations model severely constrains CSPs abilities to achieve the benefits of digital transformation and that to remain relevant in the digital era, the telecoms industry must adopt a software-driven operations approach that has been instrumental in the success of major digital companies such as Uber, Google and GE.

“The telecommunications industry is at a major tipping point – as operators embark on important digital transformation initiatives, with NFV/SDN, IoT and 5G still to come, the prevalent operational model and economics severely constrains them to achieve the benefits of these strategic transformation initiatives,” said Anil Rao, principal analyst at Analysys Mason and the author of the study. “CSPs need a future proof software driven operations model that can not only support today’s physical networks but also adapt as the infrastructure transitions to hybrid and virtual networks.”

Rao said that CSPs will need a futureproof software driven operations model that can cater to today’s physical networks but also adapt as the infrastructure transitions to hybrid and virtual networks.

“The new operations model must be underpinned by highly automated operational processes, enabled by analytics powered operations software platform and supported by an operations workforce with the software skills to continuously enhance operational efficiency by developing automation as part of their daily duties,” he said.

The study also says CSPs must adopt DevOps processes to foster collaboration among its departments – such as the engineering and operations – to continuously deploy operational enhancements both to the operations platform as well as the processes. They must also develop partner ecosystems to crowdsource domain expertise and develop innovative applications that can benefit both the CSP and the wider ecosystem.

The study illustrates various ways for the CSPs to transform, whether they embark on the journey alone or establish a partnership, depending on the level of maturity of the vendor’s offer and the level of control and ownership that the CSP wants to retain in-house. That said, the report expects that most CSPs will go the partnership route, as few have the necessary financial backing and high appetite for business risk to execute transformation on their own.

The paper includes various engagement options such as consultative led operations-as-a-service, which relies on the partner to deliver the operations, based on agreed service level agreements using the partners’ operations platform, supplemented with advisory and implementation services to transition to software driven operations.

The overall takeaway from the report: CSPs need to learn from other industries, implement automated operations, and figure out the best partnership model for their transformation journey. Meanwhile, vendors hoping to cash in on the transformation opportunity are advised to develop solutions for software-driven operations, offer innovative engagement models and demonstrate a robust vision of a software-driven operations.

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