Tuesday, 24 October 2017

BSS heads for the cloud

AsiaInfo
Wednesday 17 February 16

A global survey of telecoms operators’ approach to the cloud found majority agreement that in future ALL telco business IT systems will be cloud-based. The top reasons for heading for the cloud were to lower capital and, in particular, reduce ongoing operational expenditure. The survey, commissioned by AsiaInfo, the global BSS transformation specialist and China’s largest telecommunications IT software and services company, shows that some 73 per cent of operators believe cloud systems are the future…

A global survey of telecoms operators’ approach to the cloud found majority agreement that in future ALL telco business IT systems will be cloud-based. The top reasons for heading for the cloud were to lower capital and, in particular, reduce ongoing operational expenditure.

The survey, commissioned by AsiaInfo, the global BSS transformation specialist and China’s largest telecommunications IT software and services company, shows that some 73 per cent of operators believe cloud systems are the future. There were significant regional variations, with African and North American operators holding the strongest convictions. The Europeans are a little more cautious.

The results, published in an AsiaInfo white paper, show that many operators have already begun deploying aspects of their BSS systems in the cloud, with Africa and North America again leading the way. Europe and Asia also registered high “cloud-readiness” scores, but operators in the Middle East have most to do - only 30 per cent of them will have active cloud projects by the end of the year.

“It is clear from these results that the move to the cloud is underway,” says Andy Tiller, AsiaInfo’s Global VP of Product Marketing. “With almost three-quarters of the operators recognizing the cloud as the end destination, the only questions to answer are the route to take and the length of the journey.”

In terms of running BSS transformation projects, operators clearly and overwhelmingly preferred a gradual approach to the big-bang switchover. A greenfield migration to a new service, retiring the legacy system in stages, also attracted double the support of the big bang approach.

Some 90 per cent of operators believe new and more flexible BSS systems are critically important for delivering an optimal customer experience, with 86 per cent saying they are essential for competitive differentiation. These findings were pretty much universal across all the regions.

Yet asked which innovative and flexible BSS approaches they would support by the end of this year – such as context aware marketing, sponsored data, time-limited data offers, or fixed price access to certain apps – operator responses were mixed.

By creating a pricing innovation score for each region based on the pricing flexibility, the differences became clear. Asia and Africa are the most innovative regions. Operators in North America lag behind with an innovation score of just 25 per cent.

Most operators believe existing BSS platforms are not fit to support future business models, so the need for change is clear, and IT transformation is essential to support this. While the industry is traditionally conservative, new options such as cloud-based BSS are becoming increasingly attractive as important agents of change for operators.

However, the operators also agreed that telcos needed to be more careful with their IT systems than other industries. This was particularly true in North America where many large companies have suffered cyber security breaches, so perhaps it is not surprising that more than 60 per cent of operators listed data security and privacy as the main concerns regarding cloud solutions.

Nevertheless, there is increasing confidence that the public cloud may be ready for mission-critical telco IT applications and nearly all operators already agree that the future of telco IT is in the cloud. Whether motivated by cost savings, IT infrastructure scalability or the streamlining of back office environments, operators clearly recognize the advantages of cloud-based BSS.

“The security concerns are natural,” says Tiller, “but there’s also recognition that existing specialist cloud providers are likely to be the experts and able to offer the most secure solutions. We believe that is why many operators will turn to readily available cloud resources as they look to transform their operations and deliver more flexible customer solutions.”


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