By: Dr. Andy Tiller
Today’s operators have spent decades building their networks and upgrading their IT systems to support more and more users looking for an increasing number of data-driven applications. At the heart of these systems is the BSS, the IT infrastructure managing the business processes that support the customer-facing applications. These include billing, CRM and customer analytics – all the touchpoints that can drive differentiation and have a direct impact on an operator’s brand value. So it’s understandable that operators perceive a high risk in transforming their BSS systems. And yet, that’s exactly what is needed as operators seek to respond to the threats and opportunities of the new digital economy.
Behind the scenes, a potential solution to reduce the risk and increase the speed of BSS transformation is starting to emerge. Most IT-literate consumers are already familiar with cloud-based services, from Office 365 and Salesforce to iCloud and Dropbox. Now many operators are taking note of the benefits of cloud computing as a potential way to transform their BSS systems faster and with less risk. Network operators are increasingly looking to virtualize both their networks and their IT systems utilizing cloud-based solutions. But is it riskier for telcos than for other industries to use public cloud for mission-critical IT systems? Are there extra telco-specific considerations to factor in to decisions about using the public cloud, particularly for mission critical IT applications?
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Based on a global survey, AsiaInfo carried out an analysis of operator views on the future of BSS. We wanted to know whether operators are ready to deploy cloud-based BSS and what they saw as the benefits. We also wanted to gauge operator perspectives on the need for BSS transformation and their preferred approaches to upgrades. Our analysis revealed some intriguing insights into current industry thinking on IT transformation and, in particular, cloud-based BSS.
The headline statistics are that 73% of operators agreed that all telco business IT systems will be cloud-based in the future, and that 71% of operators are ready to deploy cloud-based BSS services, with the majority of respondents saying they are already doing so or plan to do so in the next two years.
These numbers may seem surprising, but the results are in line with the current industry trend for operators to deploy overlay projects, implementing specific BSS applications in their own private cloud infrastructure to support new services or enable new digital channels. Operators are introducing virtualization and other technologies associated with cloud computing into their own data centers, and adopting public cloud-based BSS for some specific applications.