Outsourcing network ops and planning

Tom Nolle, CIMI
26 Oct 2009
00:00

Telecom network operators have always faced the challenge of matching their technology and infrastructure to related services opportunities in order to generate revenue. But the Internet has changed the planning requirements for infrastructure and network operations planning, and service providers must adapt quickly.

In the past, the challenge of matching services to technology deployments was easier because the project lifecycles and capital cycles of telecom service providers were typically very long (seven-to-20 years), and the corresponding services evolved over a long period of time.

Consumer broadband changed telecom infrastructure and services balance

In terms of major change, the most important service lesson the Internet has taught is that consumer broadband services aren't long-lived extensions of traditional telecom services. Instead, consumer broadband services are linked to the creation and delivery of experiences. As such, services in the Internet era are linked to consumer market trends and fads that often develop and die within a year.

In fact, the Internet's worldwide reach created the perfect platform to develop and socialize new opportunities, which shortened the cycle of consumer interest and opportunity. Over-the-top (OTT) Internet companies evolved to meet customer needs and built a "soft" infrastructure made up of services and software.

This new structure was nimble and highly flexible, and as a result, most Internet opportunities went to the new players, creating "disintermediation" that cut traditional telecom carriers out of the revenue stream.

Traditional carriers face next-gen network operations issues

Today telecom carriers are competing with over-the-top companies that don't have enormous investments in infrastructure and are highly flexible. In light of these competitive pressures, the challenge for facilities-based carriers is to match customers' short-term demand cycles with infrastructure planning and capital cycles that can be 10 times as long as the demand for a service.

The solution is to integrate more IT resources into infrastructure­servers, software and service delivery platforms (SDPs)­and to create and sustain flexible service lifecycle processes that can provision long-lived enterprise services and support Web-delivered experiences that may last only a matter of hours or minutes.

The technology that can provide these capabilities is understood, and most operators are already deploying next-generation networks based on the paradigms of hosted service features and opportunity-driven service plans. Sorting out telecom network operations issues are next on the agenda.

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