Platformisation is a new term coined by Openet, the networking services division of Amdocs. It provides a focus for the almost universal campaign of digital transformation, while showing the way towards monetisation for telcos.
In short, platformisation is the last chance for telcos to be part of the $610 billion that mid band 5G will contribute to global GDP by 2030.
It is easy to shrug the shoulders, roll the eyes and point to a reasonable outlook for telcos but the danger of losing out to others – again – is very real and very clear.
Many telcos have built or are building cloud data platforms (the smart ones are anyway) but they must leverage these platforms through intelligent partnerships if they are to make headway against the legion of digital service providers who will use telcos’ 5G networks to make a lot of money.
The cloud is a new way of business life and the flexibility that comes with 5G provides unprecedented opportunities for telcos to benefit.
But we have been here before.
With every technology that promises more speed and flexibility, industry observers have celebrated, patted each other on the back and said ‘yes, this time the telcos will shine.’
And they don’t. Instead they write letters to regulators, complaining that others are making the money on the back of their huge investments. And we shake our heads in dismay.
It is not as if others are not showing telcos how to do it. AWS is a great example of how to adapt and take advantage of new technology and opportunities (including 5G). Google is another, always popping into the conversation about where the future lies, how to get there and by the way, ‘here is something that will help you.’
The examples and use cases are out there too. Openet has produced (and is constantly updating) an eBook that has over a hundred use cases for 5G type scenarios. And they are not just drones supporting rescue services (although let’s face it that is pretty clever) but they involve education, healthcare and a host of industries that telcos need to be involved in.
It is, of course, easy to be harsh on telcos. They do not instinctively trust a cloud environment, although partnerships with the hyperscalers should be top of the agenda. In fact, a survey from Openet shows that the three biggest barriers to the move to a cloud environment are security issues with the public cloud, lack of internal resources and the difficulties of building a business case (which we have seen many times before). It is not easy justifying investment based on unproven future revenue when the easy option is to carry on cutting costs.
Some operators (the true believers) have embraced the platformisation approach. These are the operators whose examples and use cases are being tracked by Openet and they show the way to monetisation, through platformisation and partnerships.
The time has come. Telcos must platformise, partner up, recruit people from Disney and ask ‘what would Google do?’ as they build their strategy for the next few years.