Written by Nuno Periquito
The TMForum Digital Transformation World 2019 took place in the beautiful city of Nice. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the telecommunications industry has come a long way.
This event is an excellent way to feel the industry’s pulse, to understand the main innovation drivers, and the biggest challenges CSPs face today. The TMForum plays an important role as a knowledge aggregator but also in setting standards and driving collaboration in the communications industry. This year, the event gravitated around 6 main topics:
- 2025 Digital Operator: Capturing Value in the 5G Era
- Cloud Native IT: Cutting the Complexity to Deliver Business Agility
- Network Transformation: Building and operating an agile and dynamic virtual network
- AI and Data Strategy: Making Intelligent Decisions
- Digital Customer Experience: Accelerating the Digital Customer
- Global Architecture Summit
In the keynote session, participants emphasized the fact that CSPs own a strategic asset which enables the digital transformation. Connectivity is the starting point to support all things digital but, although pivotal, CSPs have struggled to extract value from it, letting other players, such as OTTs, capture it.
Even tough the entry barriers to provide connectivity are very high because of the need to have a physical infrastructure and associated high investment, players like the Japanese based e-commerce powerhouse, Rakuten, which is about to launch an E2E cloud based native network, can overturn CSPs exclusivity when it comes to being the sole connectivity providers.
The stakes are high for an entire industry, but CSPs can still rely on a strong customer base, a deep understanding of customer needs, and the emergence of 5G, dubbed the “Industrial Internet”, as it has the potential to enable new business models and create bridges where CSPs and other verticals can be disruptive and create a strong value proposition for their customers.
CSPs’ journey towards becoming digital ready is fast underway and is no longer a question of when but, more and more, of how to capture value and realize the potential that emerges both from an efficiency perspective as well as the creation of new revenue streams, anchored around delivering innovative products and great customer experience.
Summarizing what I’ve learnt during this week is very challenging because there was so much going on, but my key takeaways are:
- AI is fast becoming a major ally in CSPs’ transformation into the digital age;
- B2B represents a significant new revenue opportunity in terms of providing new services to enterprises but also in engaging other verticals, including gaming, automotive and media industries;
- 5G potential to support new and emergent revenue streams.
The 2025 Digital Operator has a start-up mentality and must rethink its IT architecture; widely adopt microservices to ensure resilience, flexibility and scalability; open APIs to eliminate barriers to engage with partners, clients, etc; promote innovation and streamline processes; and embrace the cloud.
Another interesting part of the event is the TMForum’s Catalyst program, which provides a unique collaborative environment where companies from around the globe work together to create solutions for key industry challenges. At the Digital Transformation World, there were over 30 Catalyst projects with over 110 companies participating. In my opinion, “5G Operations & Monetization”; “AI for IT & Network Operations (AIOps) – Phase II”, and “Cognitive Contact Center – Phase II”, were among the most interesting.
Celfocus has long been a TMForum member and promoter. This year’s event proved once again its central role in the industry and we can’t wait to come back in 2020 to learn, engage and share experiences.