In order to keep up in an increasingly digital world, communication service providers must overhaul their operational models with a focus on process automation and, ultimately, predictive autonomous operations.
This is the end goal for CSPs -- to have operational processes in place that let them automatically pre-empt and handle service quality issues before they occur, according to a recent study from Analysys Mason , sponsored by Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd . But, it’s an objective they won’t achieve without a wholesale shift to software-driven operations.
In this respect, telcos can learn a lot from companies like Uber, GE and Google, which all use software to run successful digital platforms. Anil Rao, Analysys Mason principal analyst and author of the report "Digitalization reshaping operations: a new digital operational model for the future," notes that CSPs will be constrained in their ability to take advantage of still-emerging tech trends like 5G, Internet of Things (IoT), SDN and NFV if they don’t move to a software-driven operations model that can support both today’s physical networks and future hybrid or virtual networks.
Interestingly, automation is what underpins any software-driven operational processes, but Rao doesn’t sound the alarm about automated software platforms replacing human jobs. Rather, he says that the analytics-powered operations software will be "supported by an operations workforce with the software skills to continuously enhance operational efficiency by developing automation as part of their daily duties." That suggests some amount of reskilling may be required, however, as traditional operations persons are trained to use the software and execute the processes, not to continuously improve operational efficiency, Rao notes.
In addition to the people element, the study defines the "future proof software-driven operations model” that CSPs need in place as including “highly automated operational processes to accelerate the transition from rules-based automations to machine learning based autonomous operations" and "a horizontal operations software platform based on microservices, powered by analytics and enabled by unified monitoring for IT and telecoms physical, virtual and hybrid infrastructures."
"The future success of CSPs will depend on their ability to transform into a software driven business based on a new operations model," the report concludes, noting that CSPs are at an inflection point. "To achieve this, CSPs must move away from siloed operations with high levels of repetitive manual processes to autonomous operations enabled by a software-driven operations model."
— Sarah Thomas, Contributing Editor, Telco Transformation