Moving to the cloud – the carrier perspective
I’ve spent the past few days at Capacity Europe, one of the largest operator and carrier focussed events in the calendar. At the show, I participated in a thought provoking panel session on the latest cloud innovations available for carriers and service providers and some of the challenges faced in delivering scalable cloud services. It was a lively debate but everyone on the panel agreed on one thing: cloud offers a massive opportunity for transforming business and controlling costs, both for carriers and their end users. During the event I met with and talked to numerous colleagues and associates from the across the industry about the challenges associated with cloud services. As these discussions continued something became very clear to me: times have changed in the telecommunications industry. Today, more than ever, there is significant pressure for carriers and operators to adapt to this change. Those who do not change face being left behindThe cloud market is still evolving. In the last five years, we have witnessed our customers migrating from physical servers to virtual. And now they are moving to a consumption model. We are witnessing the culmination of many years of evolution into a simplified way of provisioning and consuming platforms and services. Being able to offer a flexible, agile and secure solution is key. Integration and automation are also important elements. The objective for partners and vendors alike should be to create a consistent user experience.Customers have more choice than ever before – it is no longer just carriers who can meet customers’ needs. A host of specialist service providers have appeared on the market, able to address specific customer requirements quickly and efficiently. Many of the carriers and operators I have spoken to struggle to keep up with these more agile players due to incompatible legacy systems which add additional cost and time when introducing new cloud services. In addition, many of these organisations are still very product centric, and not customer centric, which further impacts service levels, customer experience, flexibility and profitability. At the heart of the changing market dynamics in the telco industry is the changing nature of the way we consume and produce information. Many organisations are only just starting to work out the real business transformation benefits of using cloud services. I believe the fundamental change here will be driven by the software industry: new operating systems are going to be required, newapplications are also going to be required, leading to a fundamental change in the way we design, consume and provide information.With the cloud model, network infrastructure becomes of vital importance as the mechanism for delivery. Cloud services are only as good as the network which supports them. But by bringing together computing and network services, supported with advanced systems that deliver a truly integrated end-to-end experience and ensure predictable quality of service, any risk of service degradation can be kept to a minimum. This is increasingly driving operators and service providers to turn to third party wholesale providers to help them reach their growth potential faster and more efficiently. Taking this approach frees them to concentrate on what they do best: providing excellent customer service, growing business operations and offering value-added solutions, safe in the knowledge that the capacity, speed, resilience and bandwidth they need is in place.