SAN FRANCISCO – Service providers are being tasked with a transformative journey to adopt greater use of software and digitization with the added stress of needing to make this transition as quickly as possible.
This at least according to Jonathan Davidson, senior vice president and general manager of service provider networking at Cisco. Speaking at this week’s Mobile World Congress Americas 2017 event, Davidson said operators that don’t successfully make this trip might not remain viable.
“As we move into the future, all companies will need to become software companies to some extent,” Davidson said. “There is just no way any company in any industry can really remain competitive without integrating software into their operations.”
Luckily, and probably not coincidentally, Davidson said Cisco is in a position to help with this journey. He referenced the company’s intent-based networking plans, which call for automating some configuration and other tasks in the access network.
Four Fast Steps
Davidson cited four “key journeys” with service provider customers as they make the transition to greater use of software and digitization.
These include increased use of mass-scale networking designed to lower the cost of moving traffic around a network; helping them increase the use of automation to lower the cost structure and reduce errors; help drive top-line revenues by supporting the launch of new services; and increasing the upgradability of their network.
Davidson stressed automation, explaining most operators are unlikely to be able to hire enough employees to handle the control of network resources that will come with increased consumer demand. This notion might challenge legacy mindsets within organizations, but Davidson said those internal battles will need to be dealt with for the good of the business.
“There might be some concern that employees will be automating themselves out of a role,” Davidson said. “But, to really take care of the capacity these networks will need to deal with you can’t throw enough people at the problem to take care of it.”
Not to put any more pressure on the situation, but Davidson also said service providers need to begin making these transformative changes as quickly as possible.
“These are important steps, but more importantly service providers need to get on tackling these steps or they could end up as one of the businesses that will not make it,” Davidson said. “Those that adapt will be the most successful, and in turn will be able to help their customers adapt and come out the most successful.”