A Digital Service Provider blueprint as a trail guide towards transformation

Sometimes it may seem as if business transformation is like a confusing maze of ski trails, each taking you on a different experience and route depending on the desired journey and destination. And given the market’s ever-changing terrain, many service providers are faced with the challenge of planning for a fast journey through the slopes of transformation to maximize on the opportunities offered by 5G and IoT.

snowy mountain

As stated by world-famous ski icon Warren Miller,  “If you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.”

Given the current and predicted market situations and ever-changing customer needs, service providers are challenged to act now to start on the path towards transformation while focusing on what matters most: their business. Waiting until next year is one year too late.

So, how do these service providers address the realities while meeting their ambitions for faster time to market on digital services with fewer manual interventions, without using a large chunk of their existing OPEX?

Hop off the slopes and listen to a podcast where Dez Blanchfield and I discuss digital transformation and insights from different service providers around the world.

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A digital service provider blueprint as a trail map towards transformation 

As with any transformation, proper planning for the journey will make the journey less painful and enable you to achieve the benefits much faster. Service providers frequently want answers to many questions. Where do I start towards what seems to be a highly complex journey? How do I prepare my network and operations to handle this new working model? How do I ensure that I monetize and capture revenues on the new business areas I hope to explore?

At Ericsson Digital Services, we are on a quest to respond to these and many other questions by working closely with our customers. We call it our digital service provider blueprint, which sees the journey through three business essentials: programmable networks, automated operations, and digital engagements.

It is through these three that we help define the path to becoming a digital service provider who has the ability to thrive in the current market and continue to thrive as they set themselves up for the future. One example is using network slicing to capture business potential beyond the consumer segment. The main argument for network slicing is to build one network providing virtual networks for different services that could range from on-demand video and self- driving cars to low-traffic sensors.

Building blocks of the digital service provider blueprint

Ensuring the network is virtualized and programmable. Before you set out to achieve the one network for everything, you need an NFV platform, which means an open architecture that offers the right level of connectivity and interoperability to set the foundation for your transformation and provides the ability to slice your network. You need a network that you can scale up and down depending on your customers' needs.

Important building blocks include:

  • A cloud platform, NFVi for network applications. This enables you to quickly and cost effectively deploy virtual telecom, OSS, BSS, IT, and media workloads.
  • SDN for networking programmability. This provides seamless intra- and inter-datacenter connectivity for different types of workloads, whether they are virtual, physical, or container-based.
  • Key network applications such as packet core vEPC and, soon, 5G Core plus communication services such as VoLTE, access such as vBNG and vRAN, network services such as signaling, and security features such as firewalls, DDos/IDS,  and more.
  • Orchestration for NFV MANO and lifecycle management of all applications. 

Setting up new, efficient, and automated operations. In 4G, you can get away with manual work, but in 5G you rely on automation for efficient operations of your network. To make it work optimally, the right set of OSS systems and analytics tools must be in place to deliver a high degree of automation and orchestration. Closed loop monitoring and service assurance are also fundamental in ensuring that services and network slices are being proactively addressed in case a fault occurs in the network.

Monetizing through digital engagement. Let's face it, we are here to deliver a great customer experience so great that it is worth paying for. As a digital service provider, your BSS stack can't lag behind. It must be up to par with 5G standards so as to help you launch and monetize the wide array of new services. BSS is key to realizing the benefits of digital transformation and the new business models driven by network slicing. Flexibility to charge both within and across network slices is essential for providing the digital experience, and new 3GPP concepts such as brokering and charging in 5G service-defined networks will enable completely new business models.

How to get started

When transforming your business, the best way is to learn from others to avoid repeating their mistakes and to gain quick wins. At Ericsson, we have that experience and are here to guide a blueprint design that works for your business.  We can help you to get the foundation right, so you don't run the risk of a long and costly 5G time plan. Ericsson has partnered with customers such as DT/Osram, Entel, Verizon, Swisscom, and DoCoMo through their journey towards becoming digital service providers. Want to find out more?

Visit our digital service provider blueprint web page to explore some of our offerings.


ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR
Eva Hedfors
Eva Hedfors is Vice President and Head of Marketing and Communications, Business Area Digital Services, which includes a wide portfolio supporting service providers through their digitalization journey towards 5G.
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