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Getting Started: The Critical First Step in Telecom Transformation

By Dennis Hoffman, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Telecom Systems Business

It's time for telecoms to make the journey from Telco to Techco.

Digital transformation is a challenging but existential undertaking for the telecommunications industry. While most other vertical industries are well into their respective journeys, the world’s mobile network operators are only just getting started. But with initial 5G rollouts mostly complete and the 6G rollout at least a few years away, 2024 opens a valuable window of opportunity for operators to start laying the foundation for the journey from Tel-co to Tech-co.

Over the past three years, that foundation has become abundantly clear: the telco network cloud. This isn’t a new thought, and the promised benefits of much lower network TCO and revenue growth from new service delivery remain as compelling as ever. Nonetheless, progress on network “modernization” has been painfully slow and the reason is equally clear: cloud transformation is a classic people, process and technology “problem.” Technology adoption alone does not lead to digital transformation.

In fact, the technology aspects of cloud transformation are well understood. The architecture is defined by cloud-native network functions running in containerized software on industry-standard compute with as much automation as possible. In other words, cloud apps on cloud infrastructure—a consistent, standardized, highly automated cloud infrastructure from OSS/BSS and core to edge and, eventually, to RAN.

But deploying cloud infrastructure is insufficient to realize the promised benefits of digital transformation. CSPs must also transform network operations processes in parallel with the deployment of cloud infrastructure to make the TCO equation work, as network operating costs dominate network capital costs over time. This is where telecom transformation moves well beyond technology. Telecom network transformation is, at its core, a human change management program that is often delayed or even outright resisted with a range of objections—from increased operational risk to unproven technology to application maturity to the notion CSPs have to become system integrators. There may be any number of reasons, and while some (not all) of these concerns may be valid today, they will all certainly be addressed in this window of opportunity. So, the time for network cloud transformation is now, and the clear starting point is cloud infrastructure and operations.

While this is a somewhat new and daunting challenge for telecommunications networks, the process of private-, hybrid- and multicloud implementation has been going on for a long time. At Dell Technologies, we have deep experience working hand-in-hand with global enterprises to execute these types of transformation programs, and we’re applying our experience and capabilities to help the world’s network operators accelerate their digital transformations. How can we help you? Click here to learn more.

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