Pipeline Publishing, Volume 5, Issue 6
This Month's Issue:
IMS: the Way to True Convergence?
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Governing Transformation

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By Wedge Greene

Can we develop a new, sustainable, and repeatable business transformation pattern that will guide our NGN, IMS, and NGOSS projects to successful outcomes?

To transform, you need a pattern.

For a variety of reasons, the telecom market has changed radically over the last two decades. In reaction to competitive pressures and declines in many business metrics, telecom service providers have decided to undertake significant transformational projects to increase business agility and effectiveness. So far, however, no transformational formula has arisen that can guide senior management through this transformation.

One reason for this is the structure of the industry: a large number of service providers providing essentially the same products. Most economic and management theory and current application of mainstream industry transformation target industries where a few suppliers dominate. Classic theory says change occurs as either (a) one company changes its approaches or develops new products or (b) a new company enters the market with more efficient processes or more desirable products. In these change scenarios, many companies vie for dominance, but only one or two emerge to dominate a new industry landscape. On the surface, telecom does not fit this scenario, unless the Internet 2.0 companies like Google, software companies like Microsoft, or consumer device companies like Apple are the new entrants that will come to dominate a changed industry landscape.

Can we develop a new, sustainable and repeatable transformation pattern that will work for most service providers in the existing landscape?


What we know from what we have tried: three hard-learned lessons of business transformation in telecom from the last decade

One: If you are not ambitions enough, your project will have limited results which do not change the overall survivability of your company. Usually what happens is someone outside forces additional change (often a regulatory agency), or change is driven by an acquisition/takeover.

This generally is not viewed as a good outcome for today's service provider. In a world where consumers and business turn to Microsoft and Google for services, the likely evolutionary track for current telecom service providers will be to become communication utilities supplying access and transport services for IP packets. We have also argued that this is not a bad business to be in, but perhaps this is not your business goal.

Can we develop a new, sustainable and repeatable transformation pattern that will work for most service providers in the existing landscape? One which results in the continuation of an industry landscape where many service providers, mostly regional but with global reach, who have direct ancestors in the old telecom, provide full communication services (access, transport, service product, and even content) to consumers and businesses?

Two: If you are too ambitious and isolated in the scope and method of change, you might succeed in the prototype project, but be unable to transition this into the business-at-large. Both the project and the prototype usually fade away. A trickle of technology and new processes transition to the older segments of the business, but they still conduct business as usual.

Three: You set goals and hire a large, experienced Systems Integrator (SI) to manage your transformation. However, there is a significant difference between experienced and successful system integrators. No SI-led transformation project has yet completed and succeeded. Indeed, these projects tend to drag on forever. This is not because SI's are evil, but rather because it is in the business interest of the SI to keep the project intact so their revenue continues. At best one gains a series of small

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