The downturn is forcing operators to look at the way they develop and launch new services and the impact they have on their back-end systems and resources. There's a new focus on efficiency that will drive value for both the customer and the operator.
"It's been a wakeup call for the whole industry," said Reach CIO Sundi Balu. "We can't just drop in new products that are resource hungry." He said they have to work on existing legacy hardware and computing power.
Companies are thinking twice about how they spend any dollar and how they can stretch utilization of assets from five to six or even seven years, said Intec VP Asia Pacific Graeme Paynter.
The move to a more rational approach was a key theme of the first Telecom Asia insight roundtable, which pulled together six operators and an analyst last month to discuss the drivers of IT spend in the current environment. The roundtable, sponsored by Intec, was moderated by Telecom Asia group editor Joseph Waring.
With much talk of cut backs and capex being frozen, the group all agreed that while there is caution, there was money for projects that have a sound business case. The consensus is that operator have been fairly prudent with their capex since the telecom bust in 2001 and not in the same boat as many other industries that overstretched during the latest boom.
Balu suggested that people should stop paying so much attention to the news headlines and look at the individual cases. "If you can directly correlate a model to drive revenue or cut costs, then you would get the capital.
"There is caution, but I'd say it's more wise judgment into where we want to invest."