Executive Viewpoint 2015 Prediction: WebNMS – Network Providers Unify Management to Start Closing Agility Gap with Cloud Orchestration
In the 2015 virtual services market, network providers will protect and enhance the strategic leverage of their network footprints by investing in solutions that unify their network operations and management. Seeing virtual services as an opportunity for growth, savvy network strategists will set an intercept course with the cloud service ecosystem by driving toward delivering equally agile connectivity services. This connectivity will add business value through service assurance and multi-operator interoperability, both based on well-established and well-defined standards like Carrier Ethernet and MPLS.
At this time, network services have fallen behind cloud services in terms of agility. The cloud service providers, enjoying a greenfield market, have innovated and invested in purpose-built orchestration technology that automates their operations and accelerates service delivery. Network strategists have already recognized the business imperative of virtual services and heard the call to close this agility gap created by cloud orchestration platforms. Next year, the execution march will begin. As execution commences, the strategists will refine their business models. Business model options include integrating services into their networks with NFV, bundling their own cloud services, and partnering with cloud service providers. These models will evolve in parallel with execution, requiring solutions to adapt along the way rather than being postponed. To close the agility gap with cloud operators, network operator execution must make progress very soon.
The first challenge network service providers must address along this path is to start unifying their network and service management systems. Silos have sprouted up in nearly every network and must be pruned to enable effective automation. Unification solutions will require changes in organizational behavior as well as technology investments. Rather than targeting a far reaching universal solution, many projects will progress in iterative project steps of expanding scope. With each network operating in a different business environment, the specific operational workflows, project phases and uncertainty factors will vary for each network. Therefore, network providers will seek flexible, customizable and extensible software platforms that grow with them on their journey to practical orchestration and profitable virtual service businesses.
With this first wave of network management modernization starting in early 2015, we expect many providers will start realizing benefits before the year ends. It won’t be the final solution, but even relatively narrow orchestration—enabled by strategic unification—can reduce OPEX, improve user experiences and free up resources for further enhancements. A year from now, we should see progress in closing the agility gap and get a clearer picture of the next phase.