Digital transformation has been a circling buzzword for years, though research from the TM Forum show progress is cumbersome.
According to the TM Forum’s bi-annual Digital Transformation Tracker (DTT), 48% of telcos still have not found the business case for virtualization, while 32% revealed they are deploying NFV in the packet core, and 36% are deploying NFV at the mobile edge or have deployed virtual customer premise equipment (vCPE). The number of telcos who have a timetable for virtualization has dropped to 23% from 30% during the first addition of the survey.
“The telecoms industry first started to embrace the concepts of network virtualization and software-defined networking eight or nine years ago,” said Mark Newman, Chief Analyst at TM Forum. “Today, it appears the majority of CSPs are moving from the awareness and planning phases of transformation to deployment of VNFs. This progress is a positive thing, albeit a lot slower than expected.
“However, the deployment of these virtual network functions has not had the transformative impact that many CSPs were hoping for. As a result, many are now moving beyond virtualization to full network cloudification.”
The issues which many telcos are facing are a lack of definition and interpretation of what a digital transformation program involves, a lack of a cohesive plan and objectives internally and the alignment of business units. In short, virtualization at the telcos seems to be nothing more than a hodge podge of buzzwords, with little clarity or understanding of what digital transformation actually is.
Looking at the network, the end-goal is a bit clearer here. Most telcos are aiming to create a more automated environment, where the Devops concept aids fast release of services and an adaptable business environment. The biggest concern here is the need to introduce a new generation of agile OSS/BSS (60%), though 56% cited security vulnerabilities as a notable challenge.