Ahead of their presentation at Digital Transformation World 2018, Atul Purohit, Principal Enterprise Architect – Service Management, and Stefano Santini, Principal Manager – Network Architecture, at Vodafone Group, look at what it takes to deliver optimal services through automated on-boarding of new products and services.
Over the past few years, the telecoms industry has increasingly competed with far more agile, digital businesses. We have embraced the process of virtualization to help us operate more nimbly in this new business landscape. However, key activities like launching new products and services (on-boarding) still take too long. We need more virtualization and new standards to move towards becoming proper digital telcos.
On-boarding currently tends to be a long process, reliant on technology from specific vendors, and requiring specific skills and knowledge that relatively few people in the industry possess.
Virtualization of on-boarding has proved to be a continuously moving set of goal posts. We need very detailed analysis of the reasons for that, industry standardization and thorough testing. Service providers are no longer chasing just a virtualized stack or network, we want to evolve beyond that to have infrastructure that is fully cloud-based.
On-boarding means different things to different departments in a telecoms service provider. It also has different meanings for system integrators, vendors and standards bodies.
Over the last few years the focus of on-boarding has been on run-time activities like service fulfilment, assurance, order management, activation etc., but design-time activities are getting more important as operators virtualize their architecture. As network appliances become virtual functions, and then ultimately, cloud-native micro-services, the term on-boarding takes on a whole new meaning.
The key to effective services in a digital world is designing and delivering those services through a virtual on-boarding process and ultimately using intent-based constructs (machine-learning software that automatically executes commands based on a high-level business policy). Network, service and customer management layers should mostly all find a home in a distributed, secure and highly available cloud platform.
At Digital Transformation World 2018 our joint presentation will explain step by step how virtual on-boarding will be central to creating telecoms services in the future. We’ll separate the aspirations of operators wanting to transform their IT and network architecture from the hard reality of the vendor perspective. Because there are different perspectives in the industry we will argue that new standards are required to deliver on the potential of automated on-boarding to help in creating the agile, digital telcos of the future.
Rapid on-boarding and designing of products will be of paramount importance if telecoms service providers are going to be fully competitive within digital economies. Needless to say, a well-executed on-boarding phase will drastically reduce the time and number of steps needed for integration and regression testing when launching new products and services, allowing telecoms operators to meet the needs of our consumer and enterprise customers far more quickly.