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5 ways telecommunication service providers can transform in 2019

Claus_Pedersen

shutterstock_789598969.jpgDespite the today's rapid advances in technology, communications infrastructure tends to move slower by comparison. Business processes, organizations, and individuals rely on connectivity and depend on the reliability of their telecommunication service providers' network equipment and services.

That makes it difficult for service providers to invest in potentially disruptive new technologies. But demands are stepping up, and in 2019, you may need to consider ways to press on with changes.

1. Prioritize flexibility

The convergence of information technology and connectivity means demand on the network is rising—but in ways that are difficult to model and predict. Not only is there incremental growth from new user adoption and an increasing numbers of devices, but there are also disruptive new categories of applications coming onto the scene. Additionally, telecommunication challenges no longer just come from new technology. New business models and new user behaviors are also introducing complications.

For all these reasons, 2019 will be a year of evolution, with a focus on open technologies that should allow you to become more agile, incrementally scale, and take advantage of opportunities without overcommitment.

Most organizations' current networks are stumbling blocks on the path to this goal. They are founded on a legacy of purpose-built, proprietary network equipment in which services are locked into hardware. In today's evolving tech environment, this is no longer sufficient. Instead, infrastructure agility will enable businesses to capitalize on evolving opportunities .

2. Prepare for new opportunities

Market expectations of new technologies, like the shift to the fifth generation (5G) of mobile networks or the embedding of IT into operational systems via the Internet of Things (IoT), have been high for some time. The direction of travel for these new opportunities is certainly clear, but the pace of change is uncertain. Many deployments are at their early stages, and perceptions of value can be mixed.

There will, however, be many significant proof-of-concepts and deployments in 2019, so leading telecommunication service providers may want to look for opportunities to grow their expertise in these areas. Minimizing risk while ensuring consistent service levels will still be a high priority. For this reason, you may want to be able to upgrade your capabilities in a far more flexible manner than previous investments in network equipment have allowed.

3. Overcome the risks of transformation

Advances in technology, such as increasing standardization and the adoption of more open systems and software, provide the foundation for an agile network infrastructure, but these alone are insufficient. Often, transformations that depend on such technologies are hindered by the maintenance demands and constraints of legacy infrastructure. Some organizations might also discover skills shortages in the workforce that could potentially slow down their transformation.

A different approach may offer you the ability to make a series of incremental shifts to address new network opportunities quickly, maximizing investment value while keeping the risks down.

4. Simplify and virtualize

The first step is consolidation and rationalization. Any digital transformation strategy should be about streamlining and simplification at its core. Once you understand your existing resources and processes, you can look to replace silos of complexity with infrastructure that unifies both your communications and compute demands.

Thinking in terms of business outcomes and the capabilities needed to deliver them, rather than specific vendors and technologies, is often a good place to start. Software-defined capabilities and innovations in network function virtualization (NFV) mean you can avoid being locked into either a vendor or a legacy systems architecture. Virtualization also means you can tailor your infrastructure to closely match your needs.

When capacity and capability have to be extended, you could leverage the power of external resources, such as the cloud. This speeds up implementation by allowing you to "stand on the shoulders" of other investments, and it frees up precious staff time and resources, so you can focus on making improvements that add value.

To grow internal infrastructure capabilities, it may be useful to look to open approaches that use off-the-shelf, worked out solutions instead of shoring up legacy proprietary alignments. Doing so will allow for faster implementation by building on tried and tested approaches. HPE's Blueprints offer a low-risk way to shift from infrastructure maintenance to innovation with the help of open and future-proofed systems.

5. Automate and scale

Once there is an open and agile strategy in place and it is delivering positive outcomes, the next step is scaling up. This is where many strategies flounder, as the pace of scaling varies depending on the use case. Furthermore, scaling based directly on workforce growth can be both costly and constraining.

You might be able to alleviate these challenges with automation. Having already simplified and consolidated processes, the next logical step is to speed them up and automate them. Process automation and the analytics used to monitor it can make a valuable contribution to understanding and meeting the demands of new use cases and increasingly rich, media-driven network traffic volumes.

In addition to a complex network of both legacy and modern platforms that will need to be automated and scaled, you likely have already embraced the flexibility of the cloud. In that case, a standardized architecture embracing virtual compute, storage, and network fabric should be able to help reduce your time to market with new services, transforming the business.

HPE Blueprints deliver this solid but adaptable approach. As well as addressing both core and edge with validated reference designs, they come with an optional NFV Platform Software (NPS) toolkit. With it, you can onboard services in weeks rather than months, and complex services and service chains can be readily composed and created in hours and instantiated within minutes. It is based on open standards to speed deployment and reduce human error, which means you have a model for service management that's not only agile, but also robust, allowing you to focus on service innovation instead of firefighting.

Looking to 2019, this sort of agility should help you tackle potentially huge but unpredictable opportunities. You can take small steps, obtain measurable results, and then rapidly refine with flexible, open, and already proven systems that fit comfortably within the skills profile of your organization.

Infrastructure changes that promote flexibility may become necessary during 2019, but they need not be daunting.

 

Vice President, Telco Segment Solution
Hybrid IT Group
Hewlett-Packard Enterprise
About the Author

Claus_Pedersen

Business leader for HPE’s Telco Segment and Network Function Virtualization Solutions in HPE’s Hybrid IT Business group. Responsible for go-to market activities, product development and strategic partnerships enabling HPE’s infrastructure business in the telecommunication segment.

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