DigitalRoute, the leading provider of Data Integration and Data Management enablement solutions globally, has published its Telco Industry 2018 Predictions. Vice President Global Solutions, Lars Månsson, traditionally offers his views on which topics he thinks will headline in the year ahead.
For 2018, Lars anticipates the following trends as being those telcos should take note of:
- Telco infrastructure, gets complicated.
The supporting system (OSS and BSS) landscape is a mess in so far as it’s ill equipped to support the transition to becoming a DSP (Digital Service Provider). This year should be the year for telcos to decide on – and start building towards – a new operational support infrastructure. Using old approaches to address new requirements won’t work. A new lean and agile environment is needed, a platform based approach with data driven decisions and value creation to optimize and enhance.
IoT: ‘How?’ replaces ‘what?’
2018 will be the year telcos recognize that IoT is about how, not what. A digital business requires an entirely new digital business strategy and new IT support system structure, particularly targeted for IoT.
Come as you are, but decide what you are first.
Telcos don’t have a common goal. Across tiers and geographies each has different goals. But whatever these are, they need to be defined before they’re pursued; and then pursued according to the decision made. Telcos cannot, for instance, be both Systems Integrators on application level and the smartest connectivity and bit-pipe providers. Digitization puts many options in play; juggling more than one isn’t the route to success. Some telcos will climb verticals. Some will stay to true to their roots and provide smart connectivity.
The transition isn’t a transition.
It is time telos accept that in their transition they will have a hybrid environment for a long time, both on network and IT-side. Thus, disparate applications will have to coexist and a network communications system will for a long time be a chain of parts comprising hard and soft elements.
Mediation in the new infrastructure is like the bit in The Exorcist where Linda Blair turns her head round 360 degrees.
Data aggregation has come to mean ‘everything from everywhere’, not ‘billing mediation’. A 360 degree view of the service experiences and optimization means you HAVE to aggregate data in mediation, close to the data sources; data from the old world and the new world (hybrid world). In short, let’s accept it: Data is everywhere, execution on data everywhere, turn data smart close to the data sources and take hot decisions.
Operators need to start structuring their businesses differently, to think ‘horizontally’ and not just architecturally per application silo. Today, each part of an organization often owns set of applications and its data in a silo. Few parts take a horizontal approach to infrastructure building but instead own pieces of it. They must organize themselves according to the new world of support systems, not the old one.
Money, money, money.
5G will be a gradual journey (not a ‘big bang’). Particularly when NFV and SDNs take root new business models will follow. But how can new partnerships within ecosystems be monetized? What will be the new charging models? Video streaming/broadcasting, and extremely reliable communication for connected things is just a few things being heavily invested in – but telcos need to be able to make money out of it – for the end subscriber but also for the partnerships involved. Telcos need to decide how they will make it all work, bet on a few business models and execute on them.
Meet complexity with simplicity.
Networks are becoming more complex; more elements – soft and hard – are involved in each network service provided, but the answer to managing things is not to throw more operations people at the complexities. Automation is needed. And that needs to be driven from all the places you have network data that can be collected and correlated for automated decision making.
Expect network quality issues to increase.
We said this last year but in the context of complex networks, customers are very sensitive to perceived network quality and a world more and more depending on mobile data services and bearers, means that problems need to be detected fast – issues mitigated quick and reported upon. Customers will not call customer care anymore – they churn. Proactivity essential, data driven decisions and automation a critical must for telcos.
Learn new tricks.
Telcos need to know how to use mediation to support Big Data initiatives. This means telcos need to recruit data scientists. This is a bigger challenge than it sounds, not least because they have to realize that data scientists can only be effective if they can get hold of the correct data in the correct way, correct way; mediation has an essential part to play in ensuring data collection, integration and equally important data quality for the scientists so they can execute on it.
Editors and analysts are encouraged to quote Lars’ predictions as published above should they wish to do so. Should you wish to interview Lars on any or all of his thoughts, please use the contact information below.