The Future of Digital Transformation

The opportunity for digital transformation has never been more aligned to the business needs of the CSP than today.

Agile development is advanced with the introduction of continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD), and CI/CD is truly realized with the delivery of a cloud-native solution. The transformation of the software delivery lifecycle has a game-changing impact on R&D and, more importantly, on innovation acceleration. The ability to roll in and out new features in production with immediate feedback and next to no risk, while controlling the velocity of the change introduction, paves the way for unlocking the CSP’s reservation to innovate and move at pace with new business offerings. This is the essence of successful digital transformation.

For example, recently Truphone deployed a cloud-native online charging system (OCS) into production and was servicing consumers in under five months, one-fourth the industry standard. This was then succeeded by continuous biweekly delivery cycles introducing new functionalities. Included in this were an automation testing framework and CI/CD Kubernetes-based pipeline; shrinking time and costs to test and introducing confidence to support faster time-to-market solutions.

The gradual approach speeds up time-to-launch and time-to-value. Since it is not the whole ecosystem being transformed at one time, service providers can strategically evaluate, pinpoint and select what is needed, migrated and deployed. With the cloud, the ramp-up and time-to-value is typically one to four months to have a live and configured system.

Transforming digital transformation

What does a reimagined full digital transformation look like in practice and application? As service providers transition to the cloud to enable increased connectivity, 5G, IoT, edge and prepare for emerging opportunities, cloud technology begins to prove its superiority in the concept stage. The ability to start small, test and then expand new functionality and capabilities is what new digital transformation is about.

Inherently, it carries less risk, cost, time and commitment. It’s more experimental, leading to increased innovation, exploration and discovery. Cloud-based transformation avoids full transformation in favor of identifying a new use case and putting it in parallel to the core BSS. The approach offers a full, generic version that can be installed and configured to specific needs. It also provides the opportunity for further identification, development and honing of the use case through testing.   

Cloud also enables transformation through sandbox environments linking the service provider and vendor for rapidly testing and validating new functionalities. Sandboxing experimentation allows for trying out, evaluating and building up new functionalities based on specific customer needs. It allows CSPs greater influence on the feature definition and requirements during the process. Once it’s determined how a functionality will work and that it can be repeated, a quality gate is established, and clusters can be spun up for scaling.

The sandbox approach encourages the agility and flexibility needed, especially when unknown opportunities or technologies present themselves and require a rapid response. When you don’t know your requirements in advance, cloud-native technology provides the agility and ability to roll out new functionalities and pods relatively quickly because of its automation, testing and tools. Another advantage is for teams to quickly spin up individual sandboxes to explore, test, coordinate, compare and analyze theories in parallel in the same cloud environment. The ubiquitous access is an advantage over having to deploy this environment on premises.

Likewise, a cloud environment allows for canary deployments to roll out new test features and functionalities. It impacts teams and their processes, approaches, mitigation actions, risk reduction, monitoring and support. Canary deployments provide ideal, early detection test environments for measuring KPIs, recovery times, availability, and so on.

A Tier 1 Asian operator that serves more than 320 million prepaid and postpaid subscribers in an aggressive market recently realized the benefits of the cloud. These conditions require continuous innovation, and its software must quickly enable the roll out of new services. New KPIs were created and achieved, such as improved operations for time to market including hot patch reduction from 250 to 20 minutes and new functionality rollout releases from 15 to 2.5 hours.

True alignment accelerates true transformation

The opportunity for digital transformation has never been more aligned to the business needs of the CSP than today. SaaS-based solutions accelerate this transformation, minimizing financial exposure. They enable a springboard from which the CSP can accelerate new, innovative solutions to market, quickly adapt to change in market conditions, and ultimately grow their business.


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