Telcos have been providing network services for decades now and have always had to address the challenges of providing highly available, reliable services that can be easily managed. And yes, they have also had the continuous need to meet or exceed performance expectations while providing these services in a secure way. So, what is different today? Admittedly, the basic need to provide these services has not changed much. But the fundamental definition of what is meant by the all-too familiar network service terms of reliability, availability, manageability, performance and security has undergone a seismic shift.
We believe telcos that take steps to interpret this shift and then adapt their businesses accordingly are better positioned to compete and innovate. On the other hand, telcos that continue to rely on the traditional – and decidedly more strict – definition could be on the fast track to extinction. Call it, if you will, the “Tenets of Survival for Telcos,” in which the central question is this: do the telcos of today have the mindset of tomorrow that R-A-M-P-S up the delivery of cloud-ready network functions virtualization (NFV) services. Let us explore this further.
So, what is driving this shift in the interpretation of network service terms? Well, it starts with the mighty consumer. They are demanding and tech-savvy, and live in a world replete with compelling choices and extremely friendly ways of seamlessly switching providers for their services. At the same time, enterprises are demanding higher levels of guarantees for constant access to services tailored to their business. And innovative technologies – especially ones that scale fast economically – are fostering new business models that augment a growing list of competitive differentiators.
R-A-M-P-S: the next-generation tenets of survival for telcos
In the table below, we take a look at the different interpretations. We look at what the network service terms used to mean, and what they should mean now.
|Term||What it meant:||What it should mean now:|
|Reliability||Stable, consistent delivery of specific services in a steady state environment.||“So what if there’s a fire?!”
Highest quality of every service and predictable operations with no adverse impact, no matter what happens to the entire environment.
|Availability||99.999% availability which still accommodated 0.001% downtime.||“This shop should never have a CLOSED sign.”
Zero downtime. All services available anywhere at all times.
|Management||Ensure the systems are operating as they should||“I have to wait how long for new services?”
Agile, hot deployment environment.
|Performance||Good enough. Consumer would settle for the services the telco provides when they are available.||“Our business needs demand more speed—speed we could have used yesterday.”
Blazingly fast. No speed bumps. The earlier the better. Service must be provided at the time the consumer or business needs it. Consumers get what they pay for when they want it.
|Security||Focus on physical network security and access at the facility with dedicated, proprietary hardware.||“Secure internet access is vital, from public wifi networks to my private home setup.”
Security matters no matter where you are. The location of the device and access to data may even be more important than the location of the device owner.
There’s little denying telcos are facing a whole new world where the fundamental definitions of reliability, availability, management, performance and security have changed. We believe telcos should embrace these changes, and ask themselves: “Am I going to be one of those telcos that R-A-M-P-S up today to be a competitive player tomorrow?”