Huawei to pour $1b into digital transformation

20 Sep 2017

Huawei Technologies is planning to invest $1 billion over the next three years on developing solutions and platforms to help telecoms operators speed up their digital transformation and monetize digital services, said Ryan Ding, president of the company’s carrier group.

“Digital transformation is now a common goal, but digital services are different in many ways. In the past three years we used to talk about the architecture and direction of digital transformation. This year our focus has already shifted to digital business and services. This is a very encouraging change,” Ding told audience at company’s annual Operations Transformation Forum in Hong Kong on Monday.

Citing an IDC survey commissioned by Huawei, Ding said 72% of carriers believe that digitalization is a mid-to-long term process which will take around three to five years to complete. And more than half of them are planning to provide products and services in the near future.

While such change will affect telcos’ traditional voice and data business, Ding noted that enterprise IT and private line, video, IoT services will boost operators’ business growth and become the most important new business opportunities in the coming one to two years.

“Communication network is the core asset for carriers, which brings telcos three major advantages: wide coverage, massive connection, and centralized operation,” he said. "Enterprise IT and connectivity, video, and IoT services allow operators to give full play to their network advantages and are also well combined with digital technologies.”

Yet these services present different challenges to telcos. For example, for enterprise private line, how to reduce time to market, whereas for video is high bandwidth and NB-IoT service is battery life.

That said, operators must redefine their network capabilities end to end and adopt new technologies in order to fully tap the new business opportunities, Ding said.

He said Huawei will continue to build solution-oriented business and technical capabilities, solution development processes, and digital business enabler platforms, and realize the implementation and close-loop from strategy and execution.

Howard Liang, senior vice president and chairman of Open ROADS community, pointed out telcos’ focus of digital transformation has now been shifted to the how and where to get started.

“Digital operational transformation touches on many issues, but ultimately it’s about creating values [to the company]. Last year we talked about why we [the industry] need to move into digital transformation. This year the focus has shifted to the questions of how and where to begin,” Liang said at an opening keynote.

Liang indicated that there are three key ingredients needed for the success of digital transformation. First is to follow a “Digital Mastermind”, which he recommended telecoms operator follow a comprehensive set of prescriptive methods for transformation built on the work of the Open ROADS community.

Second is to create an industry reference model that allows best-in-class solutions to be incorporated into the “to-be-solution”. Finally, telcos need to prioritize transformation activities to ensure real value is delivered throughout the process.

Liang said the three ingredients are based on Huawei’s own transformation activities and its experience working with operators over the past few years.

“Building on the experience of digital transformation within Huawei over the past two years, together with findings and best practices identified by the both the Open ROADS Community and from wider industry, we have created a clear methodology to guide us, which we call the Digital Mastermind,” the executive noted.

He said digital operations transformation ultimately is about creating additional business value, while providing a better, more compelling experience for customers. But operators have many different objectives for transforming their digital operations.

Liang said Huawei has already put its Digital Mastermind into practice at HKT’s digital operations transformation project, Project Earth.

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