Being a Digital Service Provider

By: Mike Vannest

The questions for Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and Data Center Operators is: “what are their enterprise customers going to want next? And, it’s a crucial question to ask, even if they themselves don’t know the answer yet. 

At a high level, we know enterprise customers generally want operational efficiencies, lower costs, and greater agility to consume, deploy, performance-tune, and manage IT resources.

What if you could have it all?

  • What if—as a major enterprise company or as a ‘ma and pa’ grocery store—you could log into one single portal and supply your company with everything it needed from an IT perspective?
  • What if you could get all of your cloud services through this portal—regardless of provider?
  • What if your network could be supplied to you on-demand, like a utility?
  • What if you could track, slice, dice, and chargeback all of your IT services in a reliable manner?
  • What if all your IT resources could be correlated and monitored as you manage for performance? For example, do you have enough compute or are you lacking in network capacity?
  • What if your solution was one click of on-demand, real-time services away? 
  • What if you could grow, shrink, or change your network on-demand through the same portal that you manage, compare, and contrast your public, private, and hybrid cloud services? Do you have to make sure that your utility provider has proper circuit breakers in place on its way from your provider? Do you have to have a full-time staff of electricians to make sure that your electricity gets from the water dam to your facility?
  • What if the combination of SDN, SD-WAN, NFVs, SaaS providers, Cloud providers, containerization, AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning—aggregated into a single pane of glass view—could create an ecosystem from which you could manage all of your IT needs and resources?
  • What if that same portal insured your security and governance models, and what if your users could largely help themselves to what they’re entitled to do?
  • What if you unleashed the power of your employees’ creativity by granting them controlled freedom to use technology to make your company better?
  • What if your employees could self-manage costs and be rewarded for keeping your costs down?
  • What if you knew exactly what the cost of a new office facility was at any moment in time for all things IT?   

What does an enterprise need?

Answering the question completely is impossible, because no one knows for sure. Enterprises are constantly changing organisms with differences from company to company in every use case. It’s called differentiation. Therefore, we can’t provide everything enterprises need out of the box, but we CAN do a much better job of giving them access to everything they might need from one portal, allowing them to gain operational efficiencies, lower costs and greater agility to consume, deploy, performance-tune and manage IT their resources.

Who is going to provide this kind of portal?

Who is going to be first to put it all together, bundle it up and make it easy to use? It’s a brave new world for CSPs to survive in outpacing technology year over year. Emerging connected technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT) has placed additional strain on network infrastructure and driven demand for faster data, more bandwidth, better uptime and a more reactive network. CSPs have their hands full, but if they don’t look to the future, they will be left behind.

However, as Fidelity noted, despite growing network usage figures, telecom profits haven’t necessarily increased to go along with higher user demand. With telecom network services being increasingly commoditized, providers need to find new sources of revenue to maintain their profitability and feed enterprise appetite for advanced network features, more flexibility, and a more satisfying overall user experience. But what if network providers began to offer on-demand services? I may not want to buy network capacity, firewalls, load balancers, and people to design, manage and build it all. Maybe I’d rather just buy connectivity where I need it, know it will be there when I want it, and be confident that it will be performant and secure.

In short, these companies need to stop being just telecom service providers and become digital service providers.


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