In my last post I explored the reasons why communication service providers (CSPs) are now evolving into digital service providers (DSPs) in order to grasp the opportunities that the estimated $1 trillion digital economy will bring. The next question is “how” will they successfully achieve this goal?
The quick answer of course is that the future of CSPs lies in the cloud. Cloud-based services and the virtualisation of internal procedures and external service provision will be fundamental to the success of these transformational processes, allowing CSPs to adopt two-way business models by forming reciprocal trading relationships with vendors and modelling themselves along the lines of online providers such as Amazon.
However, a CSP does not actually have to migrate all its infrastructure and systems to the cloud.
This statement may come as something of a surprise to CSPs that believe they face a costly, time-consuming and complex migration process to benefit from the advantages of being in the cloud, such as increased flexibility and agility. This complexity has also created a barrier for many CSPs contemplating such a move. And with good reason: migration and the creation of new interfaces accounts for 60-70% of all costs associated with moving to the cloud.
Those companies that have built entire business cases on moving CSPs and other businesses into the cloud may even greet this as a somewhat controversial assertion.
It is certainly true that the cloud and open source represent both the reality and the future for CSPs. One proof point here is that cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) now accounts for over 50% of all CRM implementations.
But if a CSP does not have to fully migrate to the cloud, how does it benefit from being in the cloud? It’s all about organising everything differently. The solution is to have OpenStack projects that allow you to create incremental business benefits in a very short time - and by that I mean in three to four months.
You then have to figure out your cloud management platform (CPM). In simple terms, the OpenStack project relates to base infrastructure provisioning elements that stay outside the cloud: your platform, storage and network. You then “expose” the CPM to the cloud, including your portal, service catalogue, policies, governance, and brokering orchestration.
Instead of retaining traditional BSS/OSS approaches that tie a CSP to one vendor, you thus create two layers. The front end or outward-looking layer becomes the bigger element and enables a more dynamic management or “orchestration” of cloud elements. Here, externalizing the CSP catalog for omni-channel will be key.
What about security, I hear you ask. The point is that security means more than just access. It’s how you bring new suppliers onboard and operationalise third-party products as part of the move towards a two-way business model mentioned above.
Yet virtualization and cloud are not enough; innovation in BSS/OSS also needs to happen. Stay tuned for part three.