by Tanya Seda, Chief Strategy Officer

Communication has changed drastically over the past couple of decades: mobile carriers have moved from providing minimal voice (and later, data) coverage to ubiquitous access of voice and data. For mobile carriers to stay competitive, they need to make sometimes drastic changes in order to build the kind of agile network that will meet corporate and retail user expectations. This digital transformation (DX) poses complex challenges to traditional procurement infrastructure and processes; Many projects have been implemented to improve the customer experience and business efficiency to deliver better service offerings in this new DX world, but a lot of work remains.

To meet the needs of businesses as they go through digital transformation, carriers must have a robust strategy to adopt important new technologies:

  • 5G
  • Cloud (and multi-cloud) architecture
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Mobile data management

The above technologies are needed to push forward DX strategies, but carriers will also have to zoom out to plan new workflows to manage network infrastructure. With the migration  to SD-WAN and cloud technologies across IT and mobility there will be new applications and new network-connected IoT devices. For users, this will mean more dependence and management on the mobile network while moving away from some of its legacy elements.  Two key pain points are:

  • Legacy monitoring in a next-gen mobile network. Much of the traditional performance monitoring used today cannot see inside virtualized networks. The increase of cloud deployments adds yet another visibility challenge to the IT department, so IT managers cannot continue to use stand-alone solutions that do not integrate easily. Until that gets solved they will continue to have fragmented views of their mobile network that will produce inconsistent management.
  • Controlling the Data Takeover. It is imperative to find, transform, and analyze relevant information from the data generated in a typical mobile network, a task that is increasingly difficult because of the massive growth of network data from applications, devices, subscribers, and the network itself. Down the road, mobile edge computing and new IoT-driven projects will only increase this problem.

To solve these challenges and support their customers, many carriers will need to rethink the way they handle service work flows; they will have to create end-to-end visibility across hybrid networks at the network, application, user, and device levels. That will require both strategic and technical changes.

  • Paradigm shift. Business networks are moving to a software model. The shift to a pure software solution provides businesses with a lower total cost of ownership, but that will put network operations in the spotlight, highlighting any carrier deficiencies.
  • Intelligent analytics. To keep up with the massive data flow, automation will be needed that can access and collect data at the source. Just as important, once this data is collected, the capture of expense and contractual data points will be required to support mobile life-cycle management.
  • Stakeholder education. CIOs must find a way to help their CEOs and CFOs understand the business importance of end-to-end visibility, especially as it impacts comes to smooth operations and the delivery of customer services. Just as important is robust mobile and network expense management, both needed to maintain top performance and assure best in class pricing and contract terms.

The new network architectures coming online are critical success factors to DX-driven business strategies. In order to get there, though, your team will have to strategically plan to build modern