Cloud and digital technologies to reimagine India’s telecom industry
By Saurabh Kumar Sahu
Technology-driven disruption has impacted businesses across industries in the past decade. The telecom industry is at the heart of this disruption and has an opportunity to not only lead with digital transformation but also drive transformation for businesses across industries.
With over 986 million active wireless subscribers, Indian telecom companies can encash on emerging opportunities around new revenue streams, powered by digital technologies and 5G. The high-speed connectivity, ultra-low latency, and greater bandwidth of 5G can transform consumer experiences, businesses, the economy, and society in the next decade.
Cloud is at the core of digital transformation and can create an intelligent enterprise architecture, leveraging intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), Internet of Things (IoT), and analytics to help the workforce in achieving higher-value outcomes.
Network and cloud: The new battleground
Network transformation promises to usher in new business opportunities and revenue streams while drastically improving telecom providers’ operational efficiency. Telecom companies are steadily embracing software-defined networking (SDN) and deploying network function virtualisation (NFV).
Until recently, telecom service providers were reliant on purpose-built hardware that was deeply intertwined with underlying tasks. This has now been replaced with generic hardware and software layers. As the trend picks up, telecom companies realize the future is about networks with cognitive capabilities, SDN, advanced analytics, resulting into new routing paradigms, taking autonomous, intelligent network operations to an entirely new level.
Maximising the benefits
While cloud adoption is vital for business growth, there are several challenges such as transforming the existing information technology (IT) architecture, inculcating an innovation focussed company culture and change management to deal with any rising business and technical implications, and restructuring existing workflows or processes. Business leaders and IT heads need to plan well and resolve the hurdles to build a modern, agile, and efficient network.
Cloud assessment framework
Telecom providers moving to the cloud need to make costs variable, rationalise applications, automate operations, and elevate the customer experience. The first step is developing a cloud partner and ecosystem vision aligned with key stakeholders, finalising the associated implications and benefits. In creating this vision, it is important to start from the edge, with the network now becoming the extension of cloud. The next step is prioritising near-term constraints to identify current chokepoints, liabilities, and risks. The last step is adopting continuous modernisation to reduce risks while accelerating time-to-value. This can be done by shifting to an agile model – keeping efforts focused on a set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that measure the business success of cloud transformation programmes.
Today, there is tremendous pressure on telecom providers to reinvent. They need to transform into an enterprise that can innovate quickly and capitalise on the upcoming demand for 5G-related offerings. As owners of powerful new 5G networks, telecom companies have a clear advantage – but only if they can transform from connectivity provider to an orchestrator of value-added solutions that meet the needs of digitally savvy, connected customers.
The writer is MD and Lead – Communications, Media and Technology, Accenture In India