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Timing will Make or Break the Success of CSPs in SDN/NFV

by Martina Kurth  |  March 20, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

The proliferation of SDN/NFV will change the DNA of CSPs. As CSPs move away from traditional network to cloud-based service delivery operations, this will fundamentally change the way they create, design and deliver services. Changes will cut across technology, operations, business strategy and organization as well as supplier and partnership models.

Early adopter CSPs, such as AT&T, Verizon, Telefonica, DT and Vodafone have already started implementing those changes to take an early mover position. I have observed six best practice patterns that CSPs` technology leaders apply to reap benefits of virtualization technology at an early stage. For more details please read the full Gartner report: Early Mover CSPs’ 6 Strategies to Bring SDN and NFV to Life

The rules of the game will change once those early adopter approaches will become established best practices in the SDN/NFV world-by then early mover CSPs will have used their early mover advantage to claim market leadership leaving little room for new entrants.
CSPs that are still at an exploratory stage, which is the majority today, can take cue from nimble innovators as the next big wave in Telco will come toward them during the next 1-3 years.

CSPs looking to capitalize on SDN/NFV services revenue potential early, need to act upon the enormous modernization and change management exercise that this technology brings expeditiously, by taking the following actions:

1. Test Your SDN/NFV Readiness
Ask yourself few critical questions to assess technical, operational and organizational maturity and readiness. The success of your SDN/NFV technology and operational strategy depends to a large extent on organizational, process and skillset fundamentals — as well as interdependencies with business case planning and services innovation scenarios.

2. Select Critical Strategic Use Cases on the SDN/NFV Customer Journey
Focus on a few critical operations-driven use cases that help to bridge collaboration gaps between development, operations end engineering. Expedite in a “learning-by-doing-mode” to operationalize critical processes spanning the hybrid physical and virtual world. On-demand, usage based deployment models such as VPN, security, firewall and virtual CPE, are low-hanging fruits in terms of revenue expansion and cost savings.

3. Revamp OSS/BSS Toward a New Software-Driven Execution and Orchestration Architecture
Invest in a new software driven network and service orchestration environment to make SDN/NFV a success. Make orchestration an integral part of a holistic SDN/NFV driven service development process across network engineering, development and operations, spanning internal and external instances to drive the operational agility needed to foster digital innovation. Take into account a bimodal deployment approach to manage legacy and innovation simultaneously.

4. Focus on a Few Critical Operational Best Practices and Agile Tools to Accelerate Adoption of SDN/NFV
You have to learn how to master numerous operational challenges, such as end-to-end service life cycle management across heterogeneous network environments. Without investments in the right operational capabilities, you will fail to manage service modelling complexity of evolving virtualized environments. Early mover CSPs focus on the operational aspects and how to make incremental investments in their orchestration architecture, accompanied by operational tools, standards, processes and templates to expedite their SDN/NFV transformation through:
• Rapid service definition and deployment of composite digital services
• Agile reconfiguration of virtualized services and resources for heterogeneous infrastructures
• Standardization of VNF services to accelerate partner on-boarding and management process
• Dynamic service optimization based on end-to-end software-driven orchestration environments
• Closed-loop operations — digital DevOps processes underpin end-to-end service management

5. Prepare Your Procurement Strategy for SDN/NFV
Take the role of an SI to harmonize supplier solutions, functions, processes and interfaces in the absence of industry-wide standards to accelerate your early mover efforts.

6. Start Implementing Organizational Change and Leadership Management
Without strong cultural change management leadership at an early stage of the technology shift, you will fail to overcome current silo operations and your implementation of new operational processes, tools and new operating models will remain untapped.

All those required actions cut deep into the DNA of any CSP-in terms of agility, speed, openness and flexibility in the way of running operations and delivering services according to continuous software design principles. However, these changes are foremost touching upon cultural and skillsets, leading transformation way beyond technology, and triggering a novel mindset in the Telco industry.


Martina Kurth
Research Director
9 years at Gartner
19 years IT Industry

Martina Kurth is a Research Director within CSP Technology advising CSPs, CTOs and CIOs worldwide on prevailing transformation and sourcing initiatives in the area of OSS/BSS and SDP. Her research also encompasses telco-specific CPQ, catalog, and order management systems and processes spanning CSPs' entire operational lead-to-install process. Read Full Bio

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