CSPs Eye Wide Gulf to Next-Gen Networks

Communications service providers are expressing almost universal agreement that they need to modernize networks to meet the requirements of the budding Fourth Industrial Revolution.

But at the same time most providers are staring at a wide gulf between where they are now and what they need their networks to be in the medium term to deliver better customer experience, digital capabilities, and cybersecurity.

Those are just some of the key takeaways from new research – Network Cloud Transformation: Global Insights for CSPs– published on May 23 by MeriTalk Telecom and underwritten by Dell Technologies. The research captures the input of 450 execs from medium-to-large size communications service providers operating in North American, Europe, and the Asia/Pacific region.

On the aspirations front, most of the providers are firmly in line on long-term goals, the new research finds.

Nearly nine out of ten say that making the next big leap in network technology is vital to their ability to thrive, and to meet industry’s needs in the “4.0 innovation” era – which is defined by McKinsey & Co. as “the next phase in the digitization of the manufacturing sector, driven by disruptive trends including the rise of data and connectivity, analytics, human-machine interaction, and improvements in robotics.”

On top of that, nearly 90 percent say that creating open network architecture – systems that are inherently interoperable and connectable – is necessary for them to become best-in-class service providers.

So how far down the road to those goals have CSPs managed to get? The new research finds service providers pointed in the right direction, but still with plenty of ground to cover.

Among the new findings:

  • On network modernization, only half of those surveyed said their companies are taking an “aggressive” approach thus far to legacy transformation;
  • Two thirds believe their networks are struggling to keep pace with customer needs; and
  • Just 20 percent say their companies are pursuing open architecture strategies today.

What’s it going to take to make more progress toward the goal? The new research finds these attributes among the most important mile-markers on the journey:

  • Adoption of open industry standards;
  • Use of plug and play technology;
  • Reliance on cloud-native network functions and open APIs;
  • Top leadership vision that keeps its eye on the bigger picture goals;
  • An influx of up-to-date software engineering skills; and
  • A firm embrace of 5G, edge computing, artificial intelligence, and internet of things technologies as the next big wave that CSPs have to enable.

And that’s just scratching the surface on the new research findings from MeriTalk Telecom. Please download your copy today.