Digital Future

The New Communications Industry Model: Be an Ecosystem Enabler

The TM Forum 2018 was the confluence for all telecommunication companies seeking answers to the challenges of the Industry. As a regular participant in the event, I was excited to see over 200 Communications Service Provider (CSP) companies attending this year and sharing their best practices, insights, challenges and more and all of them were around digital transformation.

Nik Willetts, CEO, TM Forum, summarized the state of the industry, its challenges and the way forward very crisply in his key note. The communications industry needs to transform from being a connectivity provider to being an ecosystem enabler by changing the way the industry serves its customers through new technologies, digital partnerships and, flexible and agile business models.

From Being an Inventor to Being an Enabler

Nik emphasized on two key demands on the Industry for it to be an ecosystem enabler:

  • Drive for efficiency and automate both technology and business operations
  • Expand the role of the industry to include new blue ocean opportunities around 5G, IoT and other B2B digital partnerships and go beyond mere connectivity and other technology inventions

The Infosys Way to be an Ecosystem Enabler

In alignment with TM forum’s agenda, we, at Infosys, with our extensive experience working with communications service providers and Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), believe the way forward to business agility is through business transformation that is driven by IT capabilities. We work with our clients on their digital journey with a three pronged approach:

Energize the core: The infrastructure of most communications industry is over four decades old. To be able to support new digital capabilities and new ways of working in an agile environment, it is essential for CSP companies to refresh their existing infrastructure with a new genre of nibble architectures, exploiting AI, automation, Blockchain, cloud and more. For example, roaming and interconnect can be managed using Blockchain so that it becomes near real time and reduces revenue leakage.

Reskill People: An organization with a modern core needs to prepare its people to respond with agility to the new digital environment. It is important to continually impart new skills and learning from technology domains and industries outside their own. Technology needs to be made usable by closing the gap between design and human-centric skills.

Localization in delivery: In order to be relevant and be more contextual to the client needs, we focus on building local capabilities with continuous collaboration with our clients by setting up units where our engineers work side by side from the same location as engineers from our client offices.

While the world of communications is being disrupted, the telco OEM space is set to experience seismic changes. The networks and hardware are moving from chip to cloud. At Infosys, we are partnering with a number of OEMs to help navigate this shift. We have done collaborative projects around industry specific solutions, utility transformations and uses cases, virtualization of network and more.

TM Forum is an important partner for Infosys for the Catalyst programs that they run which bring together partners and vendors to solve existing and emerging business challenges.

Infosys showcased five Catalyst projects at TM Forum. In the area of Mobile Edge Computing, our BladeRunner Catalyst demonstrated how we can create new revenue streams with network availability for operators such as Vodafone and Du in Dubai. It won the award for ‘Outstanding Catalyst Innovation’. We also won the award on ‘Outstanding Use of TM Forum Assets’ for our ‘Connected Citizens – a Smart City Enabling Digital Platform’ Catalyst program.

In another Catalyst project, we explored using existing systems and technologies such as Blockchain to transform and digitize systems. We also explored several technologies at TM Forum promoting Open Digital Architecture, using Open APIs.

While we work at the strategic level through partnerships to come up with new innovative industry solutions, we continue to work in parallel with our clients at the ground level to help them navigate their way to the next level of digital maturity through our capabilities and deep expertise in digital technologies to deploy solutions in co-creative cycles of agile development.