In attending TM Forum's Digital Transformation World this year, there were subtle and not-so-subtle changes worth reflection, as this year’s Catalysts, keynotes and sessions talked of “transformation” but in a more grown up or advanced manner thanks to the actual 5G and IoT momentum on which we can all now build. Below are some key takeaways:
Digital Smart Ecosystems — the foundation for 5G-driven business models.
For CSPs looking to capitalize on actual or impending 5G investments, digital ecosystems and the Internet of Everything (IoE) will help them extend their reach beyond vertically integrated companies toward partners that will help them drive innovation into emerging digital services. In fact, two of the Catalysts in which Oracle participated showcased what is possible in open and collaborative ecosystems — Zero Touch Partnering, where multiple service providers collaborated to offer and fulfill each other’s products using TM Forum Open APIs; and Smart City Ecosystem Enablement & Business Model where telcos generated smart-cities revenue using multi-sided business models.
These catalysts and several of the sessions and discussions conveyed a subtle change of emphasis from “Is 5G a market reality?” to “What are the actual use cases and revenue-generating opportunities?”
CSPs becoming digital. In terms of creating impactful digital offers, there was a heavy focus on CSPs becoming digital, including a full track called Digital Operator 2025 and sessions on CSPs creating offshoot/digital brands (e.g., Verizon/Visible, Videotron/Fizz), as well as the launch of startups and MVNOs branding themselves as “untelco,” (e.g., Japan’s Rakutan, which calls itself a “global innovation company”). With established and emerging players alike, there is a shift of control to subscribers through digital tools that empower them to browse offers, order, manage and change services, track balances and provide feedback. This shift will require agile BSS/OSS and ideally systems that can scale to handle high volumes, as well as convergent charging to help operators avoid a digital dead end of limiting their growth potential.
Blockchain — fostering trust and transparency.
As established and new players become part of an expanding ecosystems, a great deal of trust will be necessary among partners, which made blockchain and AI popular subtopics, with traction across many industries, such as financial services, logistics, health care, and retail, among others.
Cloud Native — what’s expected vs. what is available.
As mentioned in last week’s blog, TIM’s Elisabetta Romano in her keynote and other operators at the show voiced concern that the market isn’t providing what operators need, namely cloud-native architectures and more agile and scalable solutions deployed on-prem or on public IaaS so that enterprise customers can manage upgrades, patches, and operations themselves. At Oracle, cloud native means faster development and deployment through DevOps and Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, but CSPs are approaching cloud native in different ways—some striving to be software companies in their own right, and others seeking to leverage the resources of their trusted suppliers—a topic we explore in a new white paper, eBook and blog.
In this and all of the above topics, it is apparent that TM Forum and its membership is diversifying into areas adjacent to core CSP, and that all stakeholders are looking for ways to materially impact the way they think about their customers and business as they go digital. For more information about what Oracle Communications is offering and achieving with its customers, view recent press releases and customer wins here.