Intelligent networks needed for digital economy services
Telecom operators face tough competition from OTT application providers. If operators are to remain relevant and provide services that compete effectively in the market, they must harness their existing advantages.
Telcos maintain and operate fixed and mobile networks which are upgraded to the latest technologies and provide large capacities and high speeds to serve customers with high quality data and video connections. They have long-term customer and billing relationships linked to customer identities, and large amounts of data on how their customers behave and use their services. Operators will need to restructure their networks and re-organize their operations - including processes and people - to provide a platform for themselves and their partners. They must then use that platform to provide a range of services to a variety of traditional and non-traditional customers in new B2B2X business models.
Morphing into DSPs
Software-controlled networks (SCNs) represent the most significant shift in communications networking in over 50 years, but drastic change in network operations is needed if telcos are to move beyond being communications service providers to becoming digital service providers (DSPs). One of the hallmarks of a DSP is the capability to provide always-on communications via a cloud-based delivery model, with an operations model that enables fast and flexible service innovation through real-time, automated service fulfillment, and experience management. Visualization plays an enabling role by providing elastic capacity - by employing intelligent service and resource orchestration supported by policy, security and analytics.
DSPs will need to protect potential revenue of $1.71 trillion in 2015 while addressing the wider market for digital economy services. Visualization should enable a flexible operations framework. Creating this framework will be disruptive for operators, but will pay off in terms of increased revenue through digital economy service enablement to obtain new revenue streams while supporting existing revenue streams in a more cost-efficient manner.
Framing the network
Network visualization will support agile service creation, provisioning and management, and CSPs will achieve this if they implement a vNGN-OSS framework on their evolutionary path towards becoming DSPs. The framework must be built around a unified, dynamic inventory that integrates with service fulfillment and assurance functions and allows closed-loop planning; a service orchestration layer within service fulfillment that allows for conversion of customer-facing services (CFS) to resource-facing services (RFS); and a separate network management and enforcement layer that abstracts and controls the virtual and physical infrastructure.
Network orchestration systems play a key role in enabling this agility because they manage the network resources lifecycle and provide the critical link between the customer-facing resources and the network-facing resources: they abstract the network for the customer service layers.
Operators will build private or hybrid cloud-based solutions in order to provide services with a faster time-to-market. The solution delivery must be supported by real-time analytics platforms that provide business and operational optimization, along with real-time convergent billing systems with multi-tenant and comprehensive partner management support. The customer experience can be enhanced through digital techniques for omni-channel marketing, use of social networks in customer care, and linking the outside-in and inside-out data to provide the interlock between the customer-facing BSS and network-facing OSS.
Shanthi Ravindran is a senior analyst with Analysys Mason
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