In today’s data-hungry landscape, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have a real challenge to meet ever-growing customer demands and expectations. Thriving in this environment depends on the ability to adapt swiftly to market trends. And, as we’ve been discussing recently, one of the biggest opportunities for CSPs will be through collaboration and partnerships.
However, to take full advantage of new opportunities, CSPs will also have to embrace Cloud-Native architecture that will underpin how they interact with the rest of the ecosystem. Cloud Native architecture brings with it huge advantages, from reducing costs to increasing agility and opening revenue streams; it is the key to allowing CSPs to be competitive in the current market. But how it is implemented and what it should look like are not clear-cut.
In this blog, we will look at the need to move towards a Cloud Native model and the part Open Digital Architecture (ODA) has to play. Rigas Parathyras, Vice President of Products, will then explore how this will have a positive impact on partnerships, driving both collaboration and revenues.
The Need for Cloud Maturity
Before we can look at the impact of a Cloud Native approach on partnerships, we must first look at how CSPs need to evolve to make the most of the opportunities it presents. The majority of CSPs now have a mix of Cloud and on-premise systems, with most having moved around 20% of systems to the Cloud. This is a good start, but a greater level of Cloud maturity is needed to fully realize the benefits of Cloud Native applications.
Traditional CSP on-premise hosted systems typically cannot support Cloud-based applications. This is not news to the industry, meaning virtually every CSP is at some point on the journey to the Cloud. But the big challenge they face is that a simple one-to-one migration of capabilities will not open all the possibilities the Cloud has to offer. Replicating existing systems in the Cloud limits the value CSPs can derive from their investment. There needs to be a rearchitecting of infrastructure, applications need to be structured differently, and all while maintaining the existing services that customers rely on.
Why is Cloud Native important?
We have spoken about the benefits of becoming Cloud Native and the need to achieve Cloud maturity to take full advantage, but why?
- It allows CSPs to adapt quickly to market trends and drivers and gain early mover advantage.
- It supports industry standardization that gives CSPs agility that was previously unachievable with legacy systems.
- It offers overall lower costs vs. legacy models. The rearchitecting that is essential not only facilitates Cloud applications but results in lower overall IT costs.
- It gives opportunities to scale, both up to meet demand and to pare back if infrastructure is not needed.
- Cloud applications make collaboration with other industry players easy, allowing CSPs to maximize the potential of partnerships – something we will explore in more detail.
Only when CSPs reach a level of Cloud maturity with their infrastructure can they look to make the most of Cloud Native applications and the advantages they offer.
ODA to accelerate the process
At ZIRA, we are experts in helping our CSP customers on their journey to Cloud maturity. One of the biggest breakthroughs in making this process accessible and achievable is the advent of Open Digital Architecture (ODA). ODA is a standardized framework that offers a holistic approach to achieving a Cloud Native architecture. You can read more about how ZIRA is working with CSPs on ODA and what to expect from the ODA implementation process in our recent blogs, but here is a quick overview of the advantages:
- Scalable and Flexible: ODA allows for seamless scalability, accommodating changes in workload and demand. It ensures that a CSP’s architecture can evolve as its business grows.
- Cost-Efficiency: ODA is a Cloud Native framework designed to help CSPs achieve lower ongoing operational costs. This cost-saving can be reinvested in innovation projects.
- Rapid Adoption of Innovations: ODA enables CSPs to quickly adopt new innovations and business models such as B2B2X (Business-to-Business-to-Everything) and Digital Marketplaces. This agility reduces the risk associated with adopting new technologies.
Empowering partnerships with a Cloud Native Architecture
With the right architecture in place, CSPs can now look at how the Cloud can drive benefits for their business. One of the big advantages, as we have mentioned, is that it allows easier collaboration. As a result, CSPs can get substantially more from both existing and new partnerships.
The Cloud allows CSPs to provide partners with well-designed APIs, allowing seamless integration and collaboration. Access to easy-to-use, Cloud-based systems opens new revenue streams for both CSPs and their partners. With previously impossible interoperability through standardization, all parties can work together seamlessly, regardless of the technologies they use, to focus on mutual revenue generation. Alongside strengthening existing partnerships, the move towards Cloud Native architecture allows CSPs to implement new, partner-oriented business models:
- Stronger Wholesale Partnerships: Cloud Native architectures create the perfect environment to make managing wholesale partnerships easier than ever. Cloud Native applications operate completely differently from legacy systems and are designed to streamline the creation and fulfillment of wholesale agreements. At ZIRA, we have a full suite of partner management tools designed to help our customers make the most of wholesale opportunities.
- B2B2X (Business-to-Business-to-Everything): This model, which can only be achieved with Cloud architecture, enables CSPs to dramatically increase their customer base by giving access to customers and partners who can extend their services to the broader ecosystem.
- Digital Marketplaces: Digital marketplaces will be the future of CSP partnerships, unlocking the ability to buy and sell services with a wide range of partners to maximize revenues. It will empower CSPs to become central hubs for digital ecosystems, driving additional revenue through these marketplaces. However, as a recent report from Analysys Mason concluded, “the success of digital marketplaces will depend on the agility and flexibility of CSPs’ commercial models.” Becoming Cloud Native will be pivotal to Digital Marketplace success.
Partnership enablement is one of the critical elements of the future CSP’s business model. Ensuring they have the infrastructure in place to support this through a well-considered Cloud migration journey is vital.
Conclusion: Laying the groundwork for a Cloud Native transformation
In a digital-first world, embracing Cloud Native architecture is essential for businesses looking to thrive. We can clearly see the role of partnerships in future business models, but to take full advantage, CSPs need the systems in place to support seamless collaboration. Cloud Native architecture, with its various benefits, ranging from cost reduction to increased agility and revenue opportunities, is central to allowing CSPs to remain competitive.
The majority of CSPs are still grappling with a mix of Cloud and on-premise systems. Defining how they continue to evolve towards Cloud maturity is a pressing issue, but the key is to take a pragmatic and phased approach. Starting with systems that are already digital, upgrading systems that need to be replaced with Cloud Native alternatives (and selecting areas – like empowering partnerships – that will drive real value), gives a route to the Cloud that will support business goals at every step of the way.
Interested in how you can plan a route to Cloud maturity that supports collaboration, aligns with business goals, and delivers maximum ROI?
At ZIRA, we have a complete suite of Cloud Native Business Support System (BSS) components that can easily be deployed as CSPs move further into the Cloud. Plus, our team of experts knows how to execute a Cloud migration strategy that empowers partnerships and delivers revenue opportunities from the outset, making ZIRA the perfect partner for the journey.