Service providers are leveraging their investments in transformative infrastructure to improve customer satisfaction beyond rocket-fast broadband speeds.
As they invest in fiber and access points, CSPs also want to use virtualization, software-defined networks (SDN) and cloud to enhance the customer experience and keep up with technical change, according to "The Communications Cloud: CSPs Take On Tomorrow," an Oracle survey of 137 service provider executives unveiled at Oracle Industry Connect in Orlando today.
While many upgrade their networks to ultra-broadband speeds designed to improve customer service and satisfaction, 60% of CSPs surveyed say NFV will exceed objectives such as capex and opex savings, agility and performance, according to Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL). To date, 66% claim they've made progress with NFV and 77% agree a communications cloud could simplify operations, accelerate time-to-market and reduce complexities, the study says.
"You're going to get thousands of programmers who actually become your IT organization. They're now feature-storming your technology," says Mark Hurd, Oracle CEO, in a presentation at Industry Connect. "As opposed to having an SI or your own IT org write code, you now have a core development group sending you thousands of new features."
That's not to say legacy systems are easily removed. Far from it: 59% of respondents prefer to retain control over hardware and software, even if the result is less flexible or agile, and 53% want to adopt communications cloud services but "feel hindered" by the risk associated with replacing existing set-ups, according to the study.
Tying business processes such as supply chain and enterprise resource planning (ERP) into real-time communications via the cloud allows service providers to integrate capabilities and, therefore, improve customer service, says Doug Suriano, senior vice president and general manager at Oracle Communications.
"We have a greater capacity to manage the infrastructure, not just from a performance and adherence to SLA [service level agreement perspective], but also from an end-customer experience," he says. "If we think about it as our ability to watch behavior in the network, then act on what we're learning on… then use analytics to decide the next course of action. It creates an environment where we can start to respond to those activities and events in a way that's more responsible and delivers a better outcome."
For its part, Orange Poland is considering how to best use virtualization and cloud for its infrastructure transformation, Krzysztof Kozlowski, director of Orange Labs in Poland, tells UBB2020. The service provider, which last year began rolling out fiber-optic cable throughout the country, is developing a "next-generation central office" as part of its reimagined network to support 5G, cut energy costs and improve customer satisfaction, he says.
"We consider fiber as a very strategic element. We are the incumbent network. We have a lot of legacy [systems]. Fiber is a transformation to a new generation," says Kozlowski. "Cloud is the direction we will follow. We want to do it in a way that will not increase our costs. We do the transformation of the legacy, introduce new technologies, reducing time to market with new services, and for all of this we are trying to pick the right partners and technology elements that help us to do that."
— Alison Diana, Editor, UBB2020. Follow us on Twitter @UBB2020 or @alisoncdiana.