The arrival of software-defined network (SDN) and network function virtualization (NFV) will disrupt Communications Service Providers’ CIOs’ and CTOs’ current operational routines significantly. The shift from traditional siloed Telco network and IT into one virtualized digital infrastructure needs to be accompanied by agile service creation and delivery processes to succeed.
The current organizational silo network and IT operations, and separation in terms of mindset and operational and development approaches, will prove to be the biggest obstacle for the adoption of this new technology in the industry. CSPs are seeking to introduce more IT-like DevOps-style development environments, to expedite the service development and testing cycle and accelerate time-to-market through unified development and operations processes, thereby realizing the need for new types of hybrid network and IT skills.
DevOps in the digital world require collaboration across all stakeholders, as well as ecosystem partners and suppliers, involved in bringing new digital services to the market. Paired with new business processes and new ways of creating services, this change deeply cuts into the culture of most traditional CSPs. CSPs have to strengthen their capabilities around business process transformation and cultural change leadership. Organizational change and skillset management will be vital to enable cultural shift to new digital DevOps processes spanning network and IT domains and principles.
Having said that, SDN and NFV´s mandate for closely intertwined business strategy, technology, operational and organizational planning, will pose challenges to those that buy as well as those that sell SDN/NFV technology solutions. Traditional vendors in the Telco space (NEPs, IT and OSS/BSS players) have to reinvent themselves and mirror these requirements in terms of holistic SDN and NFV solutions way beyond Technology.
By 2018, 50% of technology providers will lag behind to provide agile software intertwined with operational tools and development best practices, as well as organizational change management leadership. Capabilities beyond technology are required for successful operationalization and monetization of investments in the nascent SDN/NFV market.
The key principles of agile, services-driven, software-orchestrated operations and interoperability between multiple technologies takes center stage at early mover CSPs` virtualization projects. Early movers like AT&T and Vodafone also emphasize collaboration between operations, engineering and IT technology as well as commercial constituents, to facilitate a more holistic, customer-driven operational orchestration across physical and virtual functions. In this context, we expect engagement models with suppliers will change in favor of interoperability, openness and innovation, embracing different relationship structures, delivery models and types of suppliers.
Please find more strategic insights on this topic in my latest research report: Agile Operationalization Beyond Technology Underpins CSPs’ SDN/NFV Journey