From Telco to Techco: Part-II – How CSPs Can Regain Control of Their Operations
How CSPs Can Regain Control of Their Operations
Part 2: Technology Evolution: Managing Hardware and Software More Efficiently
Communications service providers (CSPs) are seeking greater self-sufficiency by taking back control of their core competencies from large third-party suppliers. Their goal is to keep pace with other technology companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, and market capitalization.
Efficiently managing their extensive hardware and software assets is a crucial ingredient for CSPs in their pursuit to become business enablers rather than mere delivery organizations. CSPs aim to create new revenue streams and achieve a more favorable cost structure while improving network and service reliability, availability and energy efficiency.
CSPs Are Adopting a Simplified Architecture
CSPs are moving away from managing costly, internally fragmented and proprietary hardware and software islands. Instead, they are opting for simpler, open, modular and cloud-native architectures that strictly adheres to standards. Intelligent orchestration, automation and a modernized consolidated BSS and OSS aid in this transition.
The adoption of new technologies and the increasing demand for network capacity expansion compel CSPs to transition to novel architectures. Emerging and disruptive technologies fueling this transformation include 5G/6G, multi-access edge computing (MEC), cloud computing, AI and ML algorithms, Open RAN (ORAN), virtualization and microservices.
Future Network Architecture
The network of the future will be horizontally decoupled, virtualized, cloud-native and software defined. It will use commodity-based hardware that reduces the cost per bit to deliver voice, video and data services. Distributed software will be delivered on these hardware solutions.
Network automation, with intelligent orchestration and a programmable, cloud-native network, is essential to achieving these objectives. CSPs must be able to automatically create and configure their networks, using autonomous software that leverages ML and AI-based algorithms. They will realize efficiencies through automated, intent-based, AI-driven, autonomous, zero-touch, zero-wait and zero-trouble operations.
Future Software Architecture
On the software side, CSPs must adopt a fresh approach to operations support systems (OSS), business support systems (BSS) and customer relationship management (CRM). CSPs need to adopt end-to-end processes that leverage open, standards-based, reusable and model-driven solutions. These solutions must be modular, interoperable and composable to easily integrate with existing systems. They should be cloud-native and microservices-based, container packaged, dynamically managed, easily hosted in the public cloud and consumable as a service (SaaS).
Software automation enables real-time and continuous availability of services as well as the configuration of applications without the need for customizations. This can be achieved through intelligent orchestration and supported by continuous integration, continuous delivery and continuous deployment (CI/CD).
The Path Toward Technology Evolution
Achieving these goals is a substantial challenge that requires CSPs to restructure their organization. They need to align and coordinate their network, IT and service operations with front-office digitalization initiatives, using agile and DevOps-driven methodologies.
CSPs must also make precise strategic and financial calculations. They must weigh the trade-offs between the public and private cloud as well as running operations on premise. CSPs must evaluate how to phase out end-of-life systems and how to standardize their hardware and software based on open APIs during the process of simplifying their architecture.
The combination of these objectives will enable CSPs to realize technological, financial and innovation capabilities, leading to increased revenue, faster speed and agility, and efficient cost management.
Adaptive OSSs and BSSs will support the gradual transition of CSPs from a telco to a techco organization.