Blog Digital Transformation

Don’t Let Cloud Imposters Imperil Your Telco Digital Transformation

Akil Chomoko

21 July 2022

The telecommunications industry remains in the throes of a significant digital transformation.

Connectivity remains the bedrock, powering all things digital and enabling operators to expand and diversify their services. But operators understand the requirement to move beyond basic connectivity. They have lost ground to nascent internet businesses that have brought dynamic products to market, underpinned by fantastic customer experience, with greater speed and agility. Then there are the billions that have been invested in 5G infrastructure, producing massive pressure to begin monetizing sooner than later.

On the path to digitization, CSPs find themselves confronted by several hurdles. Some stem from the inherent culture and nature of the business. After all, these are businesses that have been around forever with employees who have an embedded way of thinking and resistance to change.

Then there are the operational hurdles. Most, if not all, CSPs have on-premise systems for billing and managing subscriber accounts that are expensive and inflexible. Significant costs and resources have been sunk into these systems over the years, and they are deeply woven into the fabric of the organizations. They are admittedly critical for continuing to support existing lines of business, so likely to continue serving as the primary source of revenue as the newer digital business comes online.

While these behemoths may still be doing the job for which they were commissioned, operators are quickly realizing they are not capable of supporting the evolving digital business and a new world where they are hosting products created and owned by partners, co-curated with disparate business units, or enterprise customers themselves.

CIOs and CTOs are aware of the need to modernize and adopt cloud-native and flexible IT solutions. But they are left with questions and faced with trust issues as they move away from the old guard whose business models are based on selling as many services as possible to the operator. Deeply existential questions are being asked:

We humbly offer our perspective on the questions above and advise CSPs to take caution.

You see, providers of older-school telco billing systems have proudly proclaimed their move to the cloud to appear modernized and capable of servicing CSPs in this new era when everyone wants to be in the cloud – or thinks they should be. But not all cloud solutions are the same. Not even close.

CSPs engaging in digital transformation projects need to understand the distinction between these offerings and true cloud-native SaaS platforms. From every conceivable perspective – culturally, operationally, commercially, architecturally, etc. – everything about how a SaaS public-cloud system is designed is different from legacy systems. The advantages are numerous:

The cautionary note for CSP decision-makers is this: Not everything that says cloud is cloud. Simply moving software that was once deployed onsite into a cloud environment won’t deliver the full range of benefits, flexibility, security, and scalability operators need as they evolve to become a modern, digital enterprise.

Akil Chomoko

VP Product Marketing, Aria Systems. Akil leads solution marketing at Aria, building go-to-market strategies and programs in key target industries. Akil has over 20 years of experience in the telecoms industry, serving most recently in senior product marketing and management positions at MDS Global, AsiaInfo and CSG (Intec & Volubill).

View Akil’s LinkedIn Profile