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Sanjay Kaul
Managing Director
Cisco GSP, India and South Asia

Transformation through Innovation: A Service Provider Strategy to Prosper in this Digital Era

The digital era is here and it brings along a huge opportunity which service providers should adapt and be quick enough to capture. Digitization provides a business opportunity of USD 600 billion in India in incremental value over the next 10 years. The value creation happens through digitization of small medium business and enterprises of all possible vertical industries that will benefit from digitization. For service providers to thrive in the digital era, they will need to focus on some specific goals: embrace digitization and associated technologies like cloud, NFVi, cognitive computing, augmented reality, virtual reality etc., improving operational speed and efficiency, defining a growth strategy based on new services, and ensuring end-to-end security.

Service providers are expected to provide high quality of user and service experience while the services needed and consumption patterns are increasingly dynamic. Consumers are consuming data and high bandwidth services at a pace never imagined. The bandwidth demand is sky rocketing as the penetration of technologies like 4G, video streaming are driven through OTT players and smartphones. Proliferation of social, IOT/M2M connectivity is further accelerating the data consumption. More and more data consumption is happening at the edge of the network in suburban and rural geographies. The value creation for SPs happens when they are able to manage this large amount of data effectively “data is a perishable asset if not used insistently diminishes in value and rapper of security to ensure safety and high security for consumers and enterprises using this data for business critical application like financial transactions, healthcare, logistics etc. To achieve this target, they need to transform fast and drastically simplify their operations and be ready to compete with digital masters.

Transformation needs to be embarked on multiple fronts to show the true business impact

Transform the Technology

Leveraging both physical and virtual technology with evolved programmable network (EPN) and evolved services platform (ESP); open, flexible programmability; network is the services platform, utilizing the latest automation, orchestration, and virtualization capabilities. Many solutions working together as one open architecture “a platform of possibilities”. Service providers need to develop new experiences for consumers and businesses, as people, things, processes, and data are connected in the Internet of Everything. For example:

Fraud protection applications connected to locations through mobile phones

  • Sensors connecting a basketball with IP television services
  • Healthcare applications tracking vital signs from wearables
  • Public safety services that synchronize ambulances with traffic lights, etc.

So what do you do to transform your business into a fast, nimble organization which should be able to address digital businesses?

Start by shaping your strategy and architecture around these four areas:

Embrace virtualization. Expand and grow your service offerings, and reduce cost, by decoupling network functions from hardware, separating control and user plane functions, and taking advantage of techniques such as network slicing.

Choose automation. To innovate faster and reduce complexity and human error in configuration and provisioning, use orchestration tools to rapidly create and manage services. Use advanced telemetry and analytics to help you optimize the network and customize.

Simplify. Hide the complexity of networking; promote new business models by flattening the network; converge technology siloes; and blend mobility, video, and IoT applications and content with programmable infrastructure and security for new virtual managed services

Employ programmabilityDeliver a contextual, high-quality user experience by extracting real-time and near-real-time data, analyzing the data, applying policy, and programming the network and applications

Transform the Experience

Delivering the capabilities to help service providers develop new experiences for consumers and businesses as people, things, processes, and data are connected in the IoE (e.g.,, financial fraud security applications connecting to mobile phone geo location data, sports connecting the basketball, healthcare applications tracking vitals from wearables, public safety synchronizing ambulances with traffic lights)

Transform the Business

Service providers must engage the ecosystems and force strategic partnerships to reap the business benefits that digitization brings along.

There are four external market drivers that are pushing service providers to evolve and change their traditional business practices. These are:

  • The adoption of new business models
  • The rapid pace of change created by new technologies
  • The proliferation of new market competitors
  • Faster innovation through cloud-based services

Changing customer dynamics, among both enterprises and consumers, are also putting new pressure on service providers. Increased traffic and bandwidth demands, the movement toward connected events, rate of carrier churn, and exponential IP-device adoption are just a few of these new pressures.

Your Blueprint for Success = ONA

Open Network Architecture (ONA) for service providers supports new software-driven applications, cloud capabilities, and new business models for success. The strength of the ONA is its easier multivendor and multiprotocol integration that allows service providers to author and deploy new services faster, with higher security.

Service providers need to embrace a holistic approach to create an ONA that empowers them to create innovative network solutions at web speed. A multivendor, vertically and horizontally optimized solution can help transform the way service providers create, manage, and deliver exceptional user experiences for their customers.

Five Wins with the Open Network Architecture

  • Move beyond a silo infrastructure to a flexible, interconnected, programmable one where security, policies, and analytics are pervasive throughout
  • Design, deploy, change, and remove resources in real time
  • Scale up or down immediately with ease
  • Automate and orchestrate the entire services lifecycle using different combinations of private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, and on-premises offerings
  • Manage more effectively with improved visibility between application and infrastructure layers using a feedback loop based on application awareness of the network state and performance data abstracted from the network

“The Open Network Architecture Plays a Fundamental Role by Bringing Together the Capabilities Service Providers Need for Success”

  • Dynamic orchestration capabilities that accelerate and automate the setup and teardown of services and allow service provisioning on the fly
  • Self-optimizing and autonomic networks that consistently provide outstanding performance for applications
  • Virtualized pools of network, compute, and storage resources across the data center, WAN, and mobile networks, which are network-ready and can be scaled and reallocated on demand
  • Smooth interoperability between the data center and the WAN, where functions are virtualized, highly secure, and automated, and workloads can move wherever they are needed with service profiles intact

The Cisco ONA fuels innovation across core, mobile, video, and cloud, empowering service providers to achieve profitable business outcomes across enterprise and consumer markets. Cisco’s modular architectural approach and array of orchestrated services enablers include a large collection of in-house, flexible, and integrated virtual network functions (VNFs) such as cloud digital video recorder (DVR), virtualized mobile Internet, elastic access, and WAN automation.

Innovate to Transform with Cisco

Cisco ONA for service providers converges physical (hardware) and virtual (software) technologies smoothly. It gives service providers the flexibility to choose an optimal mix of physical and virtual assets for building and deploying advanced network services. It also makes the network easier to program, access, use, operate, and manage. The ONA consists of the following three distinct layers working together to promote innovation and transformation.

Applications and Services

This refers to end-user and system applications which service providers can use to provide additional business value.

Evolved Service Platform

ESP is the industry’s most comprehensive standards-based solution for network functions virtualization (NFV), automation, and orchestration. It will operate with VNFs from multiple vendors, giving service providers the virtualization toolkit they need to create innovative, differentiated services and deliver them faster.

Evolved Programmable Networks

The foundational layer of the Cisco open network provides compute, network, and storage functions. It integrates the physical and virtual, NFV network and data center infrastructure across a flexible and elastic fabric. It includes core networking, video, cloud, and mobile Internet assets.

Working together, the Cisco Infrastructure Platform which is a combination of ESP and EPN can help service providers to quickly create and deploy new personalized offerings for both enterprise and consumer customers through prepackaged services modules.

Conclusion

The possibilities for service providers are just beginning. The 2017 Cisco Monetization and Optimization Index (MOI) predicts that, by 2025, there will be over  USD 600 billion worth of incremental revenue and value for service providers to earn across cloud, mobile, IOT/M2M, and video technologies. However, operational complexity can stifle the service provider’s ability to create value that digitization offers. Today most new applications are compelling and revenue generating services take months to roll out. Upgrades and migrations often take just as long. Service providers must firm up strategic partnerships to co-innovate, co-create, and adopt execution models that are agile and create win-win situations. Service providers who will make the bold moves now and execute at fast pace will reap the benefits that digitization has to offer, those who do not will seize to exist.

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