Virtual networks will be majority provider of services in 5 years, says Frost / VanillaPlus survey: Part 2
Analysts at Frost & Sullivan have been working with VanillaPlus to find out from our readers about the difficulties facing communication service providers (CSPs) involved in digital transformation of their business and operations. We asked them to respond to 10 key questions and yesterday we reported on the first five.
In part 2 of our summary, Jeremy Cowan looks at proprietary platforms and automation. (Click HERE to see Part 1 of our report).
We had responses from 71 CSPs worldwide which we shared with VanillaPlus’ independent Editorial Advisors for their insight. Here, we talk to senior figures within Huawei, Openet and Sigma Systems.
Question Six in the 10-question survey was, Will open-source tools be used to support semi-proprietary, quasi-open platforms or will open source be the platform?
According to Catherine Michel, CTO of Sigma Systems, “Open-source isn’t just a platform. Increasingly open source is commoditising functions that were once delivered as proprietary capabilities and infrastructure.
“The value of open source, both to service providers and solution providers, is to augment capabilities outside of the core competencies of a solution. Whether it is something as simple as Identity Management or complex as ONAP for the facilitation of NFV/SDN, open-source has a critical role in allowing organisations to focus on the development of capabilities that differentiate them and deliver tangible value to their customers.”
Then we asked, If Hybrid virtual / physical networks the order of the day for now, when will virtual networks (working combination of NFV, SDN, and Cloud) become the majority provider of services?
Question Eight was, What becomes of the decades-long effort to reduce the need for Systems Integration Professional Services?
This question gets to the heart of it for Aileen Smith of Huawei who says, “For me the two noteworthy items are questions 7 and 8. Virtual Networks are critical to realising an enormous ‘value at stake’ according to the WEF paper both in terms of value to the industry and value to society. Their calculations are from 2016 to 2025, but the slower the transition to using virtualised networks the less value will accrue in this time period. Page 14 of the white paper is relevant here.”
“Question 8 is around Systems integration and professional services, which the majority of your respondents say will either increase or stay the same. The same WEF paper, on page 15, assumes a reduction in “related spend on professional and managed services in build, design, operations and support” which will provide additional value for the telecom industry.
“Without having a crystal ball it’s impossible to tell how things will really evolve, but for me,” Smith adds, “it’s interesting to note that the findings of your survey seem to be at odds with the findings of the WEF paper and are perhaps worthy of further study.”
For her part, Catherine Michel comments that, “The world needs capabilities that support configuration, not customisation. The world needs capabilities that are openly interoperable with other third party systems based on industry-defined APIs. As soon as you entertain the use of monolithic, closed, suite solutions, you cut off the opportunity to employ a modular, easy-to-integrate or replace capabilities. Hence you will immediately preserve the need for SIs (system integrators) to custom build integrations and to custom develop additional capabilities and to custom design business process flows.
Question Nine asked CSPs, Where is the most immediate network-based need for automation?
What is the most immediate business management need for automation?
“Automation is absolutely critical around what service providers do as a business – the definition, launch and operationalisation of new products and services,” Michel concludes.
“The other significant, but not totally surprising result,” says Martin Morgan, Openet’s VP of Marketing, “concerns the most immediate business management need for automation. No great shock to see customer care top of the list. This is pretty much a given, and operators have lots of opportunities to extend automated customer care to include automated next best activity / offer management. It would be interesting to see if automated customer care is used just for in-bound communications. Or, will there be a tie in with real-time offer management and campaign management? Automated, context-sensitive out-bound communications could offer many benefits and provides the capability to provide personalised marketing. The systems are there and operators already have the business intelligence and real-time usage data to drive these systems.”
“Tied into this is the second most pressing area for automation – catalog that supports partners’ offers and VNFs (virtualised network functions). This highlights the increasing importance of partner offers to operators as they want to offer, provision third party services and automatically spin up and manage the required network resource in real time to ensure required QoS (quality of service) is delivered and both customer experience and network capacity is optimised,” Morgan concludes.