How to seize the pervasive network opportunity
Analyst firm Gartner forecasts that 8.4 billion connected things will be used worldwide this year. This will increase as we move into 2018 and beyond, and with that growth comes unprecedented pressure on the network, writes George Nazi, the global network practice lead at Accenture – Communications, Media & Technology.
Consumer expectations are at high; in the same way they expect water out of a tap, they expect connectivity and things to just work.Most network technology developments aim to make using connectivity as ubiquitous and simple as possible, which isn’t easy with such a complex environment. The communications industry is making good progress, although many hurdles remain.
The future health of a communications service provider’s (CSP’s) business lies within:
Next generation network platforms
Success lies with the creation of next generation platforms, software-defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) powered ecosystems. Without that foundation in place, CSPs face a risky path ahead. In addition, an application programming interface (API) environment should be in place to allow for multi-vendor open automation. This will safeguard the continued relevance of the platform and health of the future business.
A DevOps and agile approach should underpin the new network models to enable better collaboration and delivery, establishing an environment where building, testing and releasing software can happen rapidly, frequently and more reliably. While this new model is critical, preserving the core is still relevant. Building overlay solutions that allow smooth migrations is one of many challenges that CSPs must meet to get to a dual-speed mode of operation and develop the critical balance between the core and the new.
Provide new services to remain relevant
If they are to remain relevant and drive new revenues, CSPs must innovate and launch new services to market. This is likely the single highest priority on their agenda.
CSPs need to offer consumer-facing services around next generation enterprise, such as IoT integrations, 5G and home security. While the services offer new revenue opportunities, they also create new challenges because the process for developing and launching them is in many ways, a completely new business function. So it has never been more important for CSPs to put tools and processes in place internally, which help to drive efficiencies through streamlined processes. By doing this, time and money can be freed to re-skill or engage with new talent to support the new services and offerings.
While many CSPs are actively moving forward with their digital transformations, existing processes are in place that must be maintained and enhanced. For example, implementing robotics-powered operational processes and tools to enable real-time delivery can leverage best-in-class experiences to create the ultimate customer experience with the smallest operating footprint. It is a question of balancing current business priorities with the needs of the future.
By creating efficiencies, the focus can remain on the longer-term strategy of making the journey to become a platform-based CSP. But it is not just about doing one of these things to be successful. The action has to be taken across all three areas to realize the promise of the pervasive network. Only then, can a CSP feel confident about their health and longevity.