June 4, 2019

Five Critical Benefits of DevOps for Today’s Service Providers

The fast-paced communications market is driving service providers to collaborate more closely with partners using DevOps methodologies in order to increase agility.

Service providers’ software development methodologies have undergone huge changes in recent years in order to meet the evolving requirements of fast-paced, IT-centric environments. Currently, DevOps techniques are the norm within web-scale businesses, so the telecommunications industry is striving to move to those standards upon witnessing the obvious benefits in practice.

Here is a look at the top five operational and business benefits of DevOps methodologies for service providers in the telecom space.

1. Cultural Change

DevOps is a software development method that emphasizes collaboration and integration across both internal and external IT personnel to enable the rapid development and deployment of solutions. By extension, DevOps represents a cultural shift that promotes non-hierarchical decision-making and a direct feedback loop between operational requirements and developmental processes. This enables the deployment of new code to live systems in faster and more automated ways. As successful DevOps methodologies become well-documented in the communications industry, the new processes can enable very efficient roadmaps for altering long-held paradigms in mature companies.

2. Faster and More Frequent Deployment Cycles

Yearly version release cycles for enterprise-grade BSS/OSS or network management software—alongside intermittent updates in between to remedy bugs and address requests—that were developed using waterfall processes have been quite normal in the industry now for many years. DevOps is bringing an end to this practice, even causing major named version releases to disappear from cutting-edge vendors’ schedules. Increasing dynamic iteration cycles with continuous integration and continuous delivery mirrors the aims of digitalization strategies. As such, development is coupled to operational requirements in a much tighter regime. In the digital age, speed and agility are the core business attributes essential for success and DevOps is becoming the de facto industry methodology sought by service providers undergoing digital transformation.

3. More Accurate Scalability With Less Overhead

DevOps allows service providers to scale their allocated operational resources to a project far more accurately, which means the opex apportioned to a certain service line can be tailored to fit much more carefully. This benefit of DevOps is having a profound impact on the overheads built into project spending within service providers, allowing some portions of their budgets to run much leaner. Because opex overspend is a multi-billion dollar issue for Tier 1 operators, with many facing little inflation in revenues, cost saving is one of the best ways to boost profits. This is a pattern seen across all aspects of digital operations: the desire to replace guesswork and unnecessary overhead with dynamically tracking agile operational techniques.

4. Commercial Partnerships Share the Risk and the Reward

Moving to a DevOps model is a massive undertaking for telco operators and software vendors alike. In the past, the commercial successes and risks of transformation initiatives were owned by the service provider. Under a DevOps culture, we can expect greater partnerships between vendors and service providers, with many altering their commercial arrangements to match the close working practices with profit-sharing models in a more dynamic way. The benefits for both sides are clear if the vendor is confident in its ability to deliver: increased stickiness and showcasing for the vendor and increased reassurance for the service provider that its partner is working toward success in pre-defined KPIs.

5. A Prime Environment for Service Innovation is Created

Because of the nature of the DevOps model, continuous prototyping and testing is occurring across the software portfolio. A profound consequence of this is that new thinking focused on capitalizing new service innovation can be incorporated into the fabric of the operational framework within days or weeks rather than months and years. This makes service providers vastly more agile and able to capture first-to-market revenue spikes. User feedback and analytics optimization in the DevOps process then hones new developmental changes to further pursue high-revenue opportunities and improve the customer experience overall.

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