How multi-clouds can improve telecom engagement and customer support

It’s an exciting time for telecommunication companies. With the arrival of 5G, edge computing, and other new internet services, it’s hard to think of a more promising generation for telcos than now.

But front-end technologies aren’t the only encouraging news for operators. Over the last 18 months, the quality, accessibility, and adaptability of public clouds from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are helping a growing number of telcos to improve their business support systems (BSS), and ultimately serve the end customer in a more seamless, if not delightful, way.

But are new innovations from cloud providers more of a technical trend, or can they have a real impact on customer value and telecom profitability? The trend to hybrid clouds is justified, however, as it further reduces IT maintenance costs, while improving the customer experience to levels that are increasingly on par with the likes of Netflix, Uber, and Amazon.

Key drivers

There are three major reasons for telco adoption of hybrid clouds: technical prowess, systems consolidation, and connectivity convergence. Here’s a brief explanation of each:

Technical prowess. Unless you’ve been following daily cloud news, hybrid clouds have improved considerably over the last year. In fact, all three major cloud companies offer significantly better virtualization tools and application support than before. When coupled with bare-metal’s ability to make legacy applications available to almost any cloud, this means telecom companies can now migrate up to 75% of their BSS applications, whereas before only around 25% were economically possible.

Systems consolidation. as both internal consolidation and company mergers increase, it only makes sense to further unify the data management of customers, products, orders and revenue. Whereas before these support systems were redundantly managed in separate locations, they're increasingly moving to a centralized cloud. Not only does this help make more sense of a lot more data, it significantly reduces cost.

Connectivity convergence. As the line between mobile phones companies and internet providers increasingly blurs, both types of companies are increasingly competing for the same customers. The advent of 5G and edge computing further complicate the competition. As a result, telecom companies are using multi-cloud capabilities to handle a greater share of customers, CRMs, infrastructure products, resource planning, and support systems as consumer needs evolve.

Lessons learned

Having partnered with several leading telecommunication companies to migrate and manage their multi-cloud strategies, Atos has recently learned several important lessons. For example, we helped a large European telco create a multi-cloud landscape. We used a customer portal in Azure, Salesforce Cloud for CRM, ServiceNow Cloud for ITSM, Google Cloud for Conversational AI and some smaller applications in Azure. By doing this, the telecom company reduced their IT costs by 40%, while also increasing their market share. Of course, this large European operator isn't the only operator adopting a multi-cloud strategy for their business support systems. In fact, all major telcos are actively considering or transitioning to multi-cloud architectures.

Before they do, however, we offer the following advice:

1. Redesign your process. Multi-cloud configurations all require a new way of working. More specifically, they require a more DevOps and agile way of building and managing your technology. As a new discipline, multi-clouds are especially challenging for legacy ways of working. In other words, as with most changes, your existing processes will be your biggest challenge.But you’ll need to incorporate feedback from existing employee processes to design the ideal system to take full advantage of the cloud.

Multi-cloud configurations all require a new way of working.

2. Retrain and rehire your people. Related to the above but deserving of its own entry, you will need to retrain and even bring in new talent to successfully migrate to a multi-cloud platform. You, your people, and your culture must all transform. Whether through on the job training, new recruiting strategies, or familiarization courses to get the most out of hybrid clouds, this is a crucial component of any BSS migration.

3. Build now, decommission later. Oftentimes, companies build a promising new cloud platform, only to discover that it can’t do everything their outdated legacy system can. So they keep the legacy system running longer than expected. Of course, building an entirely new platform to support billions of transactions is a difficult task. But it’s important to develop a multi-cloud platform with the stated intent of quickly decommissioning the legacy system shortly after the migration. Not only does this reduce cost, but it forces your organization to leverage the latest technologies, however difficult they sometimes are to adopt.

If you’re still skeptical about the telco trends toward hybrid clouds, that’s understandable. But the industry is increasingly adopting them. They’re doing this for cost savings and improved customer engagement. Quite frankly, they’re doing it because the opportunity cost is too great to miss.

ByJaap van Mechelen, Head of Global Telecom Media & Technology Portfolio, Atos


Posted on December 17

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About Jaap Van Mechelen
Head of Global Telecom Media & Technology Portfolio, Atos
Jaap van Mechelen has over twenty-five years of experience working in executive functions such as product management, business consulting, strategy & business development as well as solution sales. He is currently the Head of the Atos Global Telecom Media & Technology Portfolio.