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Evolve Beyond Network Services to Include Digital Services


Balancing network services and the evolving digital services world

Stratecast one.png

Last week, I had the opportunity to meet Kark Whitelock, Global Director Strategy – Operations, Orchestration, Data Analytics and Monetization at Stratecast and shared with him point of views about the Communications Service Provider (CSP) evolution to the Digital Services Provider (DSP) role.

During our discussion, available on the following webcast,  we explored what CSPs need to do to maintain their central focus in today's transformational environment in order to provide the highest customer value and to address shareholder expectations. The challenge of the day is about striking a balance between network services and the evolving digital services world .

Karl explained the three fundamental steps all CSPs should consider in order to successfully transform to an organization that provides not only network services, but also advanced digital services.

Step 1 – Shape your Business Strategy

Stratecast two.pngExample: Customer Needs and Operational Effectiveness (Source Stratecast)When I asked Karl how he would define the business strategy for transformation both now and for the long run, he suggested that CSPs should ask themselves a few questions:

  • What customer groups do we focus on and can we work with more than one group and realistically meet expectations?
  • What level of interaction do we have with partners? Can we provide a means for partners to work together?
  • Should installed network technology and support systems be a part of our digital strategy for the future?
  • How will our current data privacy and business enablement policies fit with digital services?
  • At what point do we integrate new systems with installed systems or do we keep everything separate?
  • Should we be operationally planning for 5G deployment or is it too early? If too early, what is the trigger for us to move ahead?

Central to this process is a realization that it may be very challenging for a CSP to pursue all customer categories as in the past. In the digital services environment, each customer category comes with a different set of business challenges, new business opportunities, different ways to define success, and various infrastructure needs. As such, the systems, processes and business concerns for meeting the needs of each customer group will likely be different.

Step 2 - Resolve to Evolve

Transitioning into a DSP would be simpler if existing systems, processes, and network capabilities could be discarded in favor of new solutions and technologies. However, abruptly abandoning decades of network investment, most of which is operational with revenue-paying customers, is simply not practical or realistic. Containing operations costs in a network plus digital services environment means that some level of network infrastructure and operational process transformation is essential before longer-term business strategies can reach a state of operational practicality. At this stage of our conversation, Karl and I agreed on five evolutionary business components that HPE has defined for network to digital service evolution.

Stratecast three.pngThe Network and Digital Services Attributes for DSP (Source HPE / Stratecast)

Consolidate to Converge. In the early stages of any transformation plan, you need to commit to reduce operational expenditures by consolidating existing media and call applications onto a common platform. In addition, use a converged platform that will be compatible with all network infrastructure technologies, from 2G to VoLTE, to better enable a smooth migration, and to promote application re-use whenever possible.

Adopt a DevOps Culture. Enable agile application creation and testing based on DevOps practices.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) is paving the way to deploying new digital services. For example, certain network capabilities provided today by dedicated equipment can be upgraded to Virtual Network Functions (VNFs). This implies leveraging NFV and standard IT infrastructure to optimize the use of hardware, to create a faster pathway to get services to market, and to deliver the flexibility for responding to changing market needs.

Deploy Self-Service Digital Services. The key to happy customers (consumers and business customers) is to provide service offerings that they can activate, access, or enhance directly. This implies many things, including a potential new set of revenue streams made possible by on-demand services through the use of various aspects of traditional network functionality and VNFs.

Become a Digital Service Broker. Foster direct and indirect sales channels by playing the role of Digital Services Broker. This concept enables businesses that have traditionally sold products to customers, to now sell these same products as services.


Step 3 - Select a Trusted Partner

Evolving existing network Stratecast four.pngSelect a Trusted Partner (source HPE)and business processes without engaging the implementation experience, best practices insight, and operational knowledge provided by a qualified professional services partner is not a prudent and practical approach to the DSP transformational journey.

Engaging with a trusted partner that has transformational experience will greatly increase the odds of obtaining the anticipated results defined by the long-term strategic plan. A partner, such as HPE can deliver key benefits along the step-by-step transformational pathway.

Interested on how to evolve Beyond Network Services to Include Digital Services, download the white paper : A Practical Guide to Transformation: How to Evolve Beyond Network Services to Include Digital Services.




About the Author


Success-oriented marketing professional with domestic and international experience conveying Value Added Services and IT Services for Communications Service providers’ technologies and markets worldwide, including Cloud Services, Voice and Intelligent Network Services, Network Function Virtualization, Enterprise Mobility, Big Data and Security markets, to achieve leading positions in the cloud, communications and IT service provider segment (direct and indirect).