Despite the hype around open networking and digital transformation, the market can intimidate even the most fearless. There is progress and there are benefits to accelerate innovation through the power of open network architectures, yet at the same time operationalizing open networking and adoption are predictably lagging. Culture, after all, is the hardest part of the business to change.
In the disaggregation model, everything changes; from the way you install a service, to the way you purchase a component. Service providers now must integrate and customize hardware and software components they previously purchased as vertically integrated solutions, oftentimes from a single manufacturer. Coupled with cultural hurdles are inflexible, legacy IT systems that have evolved slowly over many years and consumed countless resources, money and time.
Moreover, the lack of interoperability and resource orchestration in a network is an impediment to deploying best-of-breed components in a disaggregated model. Although many are evolving, no standard definition of the technology stack has emerged in the industry, making it difficult to understand the players, let alone compare them. Of the many companies evolving and jockeying for market share, who is offering what? What works with what?
And the ghosts of network pasts have left more challenges. With every vendor solution, there is an element management system that controls the vendor’s domain. These silos make automation around integration, service provisioning and network resource management more complex. The lack of consistency across vendor interfaces and inadequate support of open-APIs continues to be a limiting factor in programming networks according to application demands critical to the adoption of open networking including software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) to make today’s networks more agile and flexible.
Still, the open networking movement has sprung up across the industry as service providers aim to reduce costs while innovating; to increase efficiency and agility with operational excellence while creating customer-obsessed experiences that grow revenue; to accelerate application deployment and delivery, dramatically reducing IT costs through policy-enabled work-flow automation. To unleash the full potential of open networking, service providers should double down on industry collaboration of disaggregation models, including open reference framework and solutions for use cases utilizing open, consistent, uniformly designed building blocks and disaggregated networking devices or white boxes.
From pre-lab to initial proof of concepts, to trials, to deployment, industry collaboration and learnings are living environments that aid the shift in culture, operationalizing open networking and adoption. Network transformation is a never-ending, multi-faceted journey. A collaboration of efforts across the industry is needed to reduce ambiguity. There is no end, no single tool or approach that will make network transformation a magical reality.
To succeed in their disaggregation and network transformation efforts, service providers must first accept that it is a journey that will fundamentally change everything about how they work, do business and go to market. They must also accept that the fundamental drivers of advantage are now organizational speed and agility. But this acceptance is only the first step.
To realize their transformational vision, service providers must assemble and employ the right talent, software, hardware, and automation from trusted advisors and suppliers that will enable them to achieve their objectives, transform their organizations and create organizational agility. These skillsets will require a wide range of innovative approaches and methodologies, new attitudes and ideas, modern vendors and suppliers and, of course, a whole new set of technologies.
Leverage your network transformation expertise by partnering with KGPCo to confidently plan, easily deploy, and securely scale open, disaggregated and automated networking.
KGPCo continues to accelerate transformation for operators by delivering critical solutions for modernizing networks, transitioning technologies and streamlining business processes throughout the operators’ communication journey.