June 20, 2019

Monetization Concerns Impeding SDN/NFV Progress

A new approach is needed for operators to quickly roll out virtualization-enabled services with low risk and cost.

With 5G picking up steam as operators start to bring up their networks in various cities and handset manufacturers roll out enabled devices, there are still a lot of question marks related to mass availability and, perhaps more importantly, around potential revenue streams.

To become 5G-ready and 5G-enabled, operators must first ensure that their networks can support cloud-based operations, usually through SDN and NFV. While it’s been a long road to virtualization, it’s far from over. Besides all of the work that needs to happen on the network side, operators are rightfully concerned about how 5G and other services enabled by SDN/NFV will positively impact their business, especially those in the lucrative B2B market.

Knowing How to Market

In a recent survey of communications service providers (CSPs) conducted by Heavy Reading, one of the top business challenges they are facing is a lack of knowledge around how to market SDN/NFV services to customers. So even while the technology challenges are progressing, the business side of the equation is posing serious issues for CSPs.

In fact, more than half of respondents—61 percent—said they are struggling with how to market next-generation services. This indicates a lack of employee skillsets in the areas of defining and executing compelling go-to-market strategies.

Respondents also noted, by a similar percentage, that they have concerns related to working with multiple partners in the SDN/NFV domain. The technology shift enables the move to a more open environment that requires various participants in order to deliver services from both a technology and business perspective. The uncertainty of who is responsible for what isn’t always clear, thereby causing apprehension on the part of CSPs.

Opening New Revenue Streams

While there are concerns around getting virtualized services to market, another key area that appears to be holding back some CSPs is the BSS foundation that will enable monetization. The majority of respondents—81 percent—stated that their existing BSS was not ready to support virtualized services, although about half said they are in the process of upgrading their systems.

When asked what their priorities are for revamping their BSS, the top response was self-service portals, followed by customer management and enterprise e-commerce portals. This indicates a keen interest in customer experience, which is one of the primary reasons why operators are moving towards virtualized services in the first place. However, if they can’t offer services like SD-WAN in a seamless manner that is intuitive and easy to configure, then they will not experience the full benefits of SDN/NFV and will likely continue to encounter challenges. Without functionality from next-generation BSS to capitalize on these services, operators will find themselves running in place. Thankfully, Netcracker has already solved these problems for leading CSPs and can offer a solution that can drive new service revenues in a matter of weeks.

Netcracker Business Cloud provides CSPs with the full stack—SDN/NFV and IT—in the cloud, which they can then run as a service, either from their own data center, in a hosted environment or in a hybrid cloud arrangement. This gives them the ability to not only bring virtual services like SD-WAN to market very quickly, but they can do so without requiring a high-level of in-house expertise.

Netcracker Business Cloud’s modular, microservices-based architecture allows CSPs to pick and choose the components they need, including revenue management. Without this kind of solid foundation and platform, operators will face considerable challenges when they make the giant leap into monetizing virtual services.

Click here to download a copy of Heavy Reading’s SDN/NFV Pulse of the Industry: Commercial Realities.

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