Virtualization is not without its critics. While both software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualization (NFV) are almost universally praised for their benefits, including their ability to help lower costs, increase flexibility and reduce time-to-market for new services, the technologies are also often criticized because they require service providers to fundamentally rethink their communications networks and how virtualization will impact existing environments.
But the benefits of virtualization far outweigh the concerns, encouraging service providers to press forward with their initiatives, even if the pace is slow going.
So while service providers begin virtualizing their networks, the next logical step is finding out how to commercialize the technology. In other words, how can service providers make money from virtualization without jeopardizing existing environments? And how can they attract and keep customers that are relying more and more on alternative providers?
One of the best ways to monetize virtualization is to establish an environment where services can be created, onboarded and delivered to customers easily and efficiently. This type of platform should be able to work with existing physical and virtual systems and allow third parties and others to bring in virtual network functions, cloud IT applications, network services and much more.
When services are delivered through a single cloud marketplace, service providers can better engage with both business and residential customers with minimal risk. If a particular service or app isn’t received well by customers, for example, service providers should be able to quickly remove it from the marketplace and replace it with something else.
These environments should also allow service providers to upgrade, change or add new services based on time and budget factors. This helps providers invest in and scale their operations without major disruptions to their business. It also means that existing BSS and OSS won’t require forklift upgrades in order to take advantage of new services.
Delivering services directly to business and residential customers is critical for service providers to increase their market share and improve loyalty. Without leveraging virtualization in risk-free environments, service providers will continue to be seen as basic connectivity vendors, despite the fact that they have the ability and the means to transform into the trusted partner for all communications services.
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