DTW Wrap-Up: Can CSPs add value to the public cloud?

TM Forum Digital Transformation World wrapped up last Thursday with public cloud, cloud-native networks, 5G network slicing, automation, and B2B services among the major themes. It was clear from the event that service providers around the world now see multiple paths where they can add value on top of the public cloud. As a result, many are blazing a path toward closed-loop automation, intent-based 5G networks, and componentized, cloud-native business and technical operations platforms. 

Which tech is best?

As they seek the best and most interoperable cloud-native components to power their automation strategies, service providers face a rich supplier environment that brings together horizontally oriented, enterprise players strong in areas like workflow and CRM; vertically oriented specialists with deep roots in telecom and pay-TV businesses and operations; IT infrastructure providers underpinning enterprise-wide cloud migration; and the most recognized names from the hyperscale public cloud community.

The challenge service providers face in this robust market is to evaluate which combination of technologies best fulfills their fundamental needs, some of which have changed while others have not. For example, while a network service may be provided with virtualized network functions over a public cloud, it still needs to be ordered, provisioned, activated and lifecycle managed as it might have been in the PSTN world, albeit in near real-time and continuously.

To learn more about Intraway’s Symphonica, please visit www.symphonica.com

Going cloud-native? Don’t forget the ops manual.

Service providers are motivated to recreate their businesses in a cloud-native fashion because it may enable them to achieve a combination of cost, quality, optimized resource utilization (aka capital efficiency), and customer experience not possible before. And the more efficiently a provider can automate its operations, customer experiences, networks, and services, the more responsive it can be to customer needs at a lower cost to provide each service. But achieving that degree of responsiveness and efficiency requires deep knowledge of how service provider networks, services, operations, and businesses need to function and how to achieve an ideal state.

Two functional domains remain vertically oriented above all, because the functions, processes, and organizational knowledge they represent or manifest cannot be replaced easily, if at all, with best practices adopted from and refined in industries other than communications. These two domains are service monetization – aka billing and charging, and service fulfillment, aka provisioning and activation.

Billing & Charging 

Communications billing and charging platforms contain data, processes, and pricing models that reflect the heart of any service provider’s business. What a service provider brings to market, how it generates revenue, and who is entitled to use what may all be captured within a service provider’s billing, charging – or business support system (BSS) – infrastructure. Similarly, a billing system can reflect anything from how a large enterprise is organized for accounting purposes to who in a household pays the mobile bill for everyone else. 

As service providers survey an IT supplier landscape that suddenly welcomes many more partners rooted in general-purpose enterprise IT, they will continue to find that their billing uniqueness, complexity, and organizational knowledge cannot be replaced easily, even if the technology that underpins it can change.

Provisioning & Activation

Similarly, provisioning and activation – and add orchestration in this context as well – remains an area unique to communications, or one which is rooted in communications but offers value to industries adopting private communications networks, like 5G SA campuses. Telecom operations are rooted in engineering disciplines for good reasons that span technology, regulation, security, and law. Translating this discipline into closed-loop automation is not simple, but that is what Intraway has achieved.

At DTW, Intraway showed that it has solved core provisioning automation challenges for service providers across intent-based networking, closed-loop, self-healing networks and services, and on-demand, customized 5G network slicing. Intraway can fulfill all these complex and sought-after use cases because its approach is rooted in service provider engineering, its solution is delivered in cloud-native form, and its approach to services has always encompassed an end-to-end, any-technology-any-technology approach.

New automation, classic explainability

As operations become more componentized and automated, observability and explainability remain necessary. Service provisioning and billing cannot become black boxes that provide outputs but only a limited view of how those outputs were produced. As much as service providers are striving to achieve greater levels of autonomous automation, they do not aim to do so at the expense of observability and explainability in a traditional context. 

At any moment, they must be able to answer: 

  • What is the status? 
  • What was executed successfully? 
  • What went wrong? 
  • How was it fixed? 
  • Who and what were affected? 
  • What actions have been taken to restore compliance? 
  • What must be done next?

Adding value to clouds

This is where Symphonica excels because it captures the engineering mindset service providers take to their networks and brings it into the on-demand, cloud-native service and network paradigm. As a result, whether a service provider chooses a workflow-centric operations model, an event-based model, a CRM-driven approach, or a new approach built on robotic process automation (RPA); Intraway can provide the TM Forum Open API-accessible, componentized provisioning, activation, and orchestration automation rooted in what makes the service provider business unique and able to add value on top of a hyperscale cloud.

To learn more about Intraway’s Symphonica, please visit www.symphonica.com

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