Telecoms companies should use cloud technology to enable business transformation, not just to move their network functions onto cloud platforms.
That’s a message the industry has heard before, but what does it mean in terms of defining a cloud strategy?
Peng Song, President, Carrier Business Group Marketing & Solution Sales Department, Huawei, had some topline answers as he introduced Huawei’s Carrier Cloud Transformation Summit on Wednesday. His speech also indicated the strategic value that Huawei now places on being a cloud platform provider to telcos.
He acknowledged that carriers can only stay competitive by building “an efficient and agile ICT infrastructure”. That means they should consider the role of distributed edge clouds, how to engage with public cloud providers, and the ways in which they can use their cloud platforms to collaborate with others and to extract business benefits.
Peng said, “Operators should be leveraging the unique strengths of the telecom industry, to use cloud capabilities to magnify the values of telecom networks and services.”
Carriers, of course, are already well aware, with a variety of strategies to implement cloud native strategies and use of cloud technologies in place. Indeed, Peng claimed that 15% of carriers would have fully implemented a comprehensive cloud strategy by the end of 2023.
But he said that carriers needed to be aware of three things as they move forward, all of which play into that strategy of using cloud to leverage the values of connectivity, rather than just act as a new host for the network.
First, they should use cloud to get closer to customers, literally and in business terms. Peng claimed that Chinese operators’ distributed cloud strategy is increasing the addressable market space in industry and enterprise by 25%, especially as they reach further into providing industry vertical solutions.
Second, Peng said that the cloud platform that carriers use should be able to support co-innovation and co-operation for launching new services. He said one European customer has shortened time-to-market by 75% for one digital service by using an agile development platform and telecom PaaS capabilities.
Third, he said that the cloud architecture that telcos adopt must be able to “proactively adapt to the telecom service architecture,” meeting telco-specific security and management requirements. To enable this, telcos should adopt a “rational timeline of cloud transformation” so that they can onboard services safely and without disruption.
That might mean, as with one Asian customer’s CEM applications, deploying less sensitive businesses on the public cloud, with more critical applications on a local dedicated cloud to give customers more control of their data. Peng said this customer had increased the effectiveness of its 5G marketing offers by 180% by correlating and analysing OSS and BSS data across its cloud-based distributed data lake.
Clearly, Huawei is pushing ahead with the cloud within telcos, seeing it as strategically important because it aligns networks with IT and business operations. Huawei currently has more than 120 customer references for cloud solutions, Peng said, adding that the company will “continue to make strategic investments in ICT” to enable cloud transformation for carrier customers. He also mentioned that the company will leverage its global localisation services capabilities, which addresses another issue facing operators, the cloud and development skills gap among their workforce.