Reshaping the Telco Industry of future through Service Innovation and Simplification

Sheikh is Huawei Middle East Senior Solution and Delivery Architect covering domains of NFV, SDN ,Cloud,Internet of Things (IoT) and DevOps based innovation ,specially interested in those disruptive technology driving the industry transformation

Reshaping the Telco Industry of future through Service Innovation and Simplification

“Change your head (Mind) or wait for its removal”

According to the World’s Economic Forum report 2016-17 the investment in the global Telecom industry has underpinned an immense shift in the information, cash flows and societal development mostly adding value the global economy and improving lives of masses

In fact in next 5-10years the real value that society can reap due to Digitization and information will depend on the Telecom industry provide the underlying infrastructure and improve on customer experience side but the fact is that the Telecom industry profit has declined from 58% in 2010 to 44% in 2016 end (As per survey) and it seems clear the Health of this industry is a question in itself.

Infact this issue in telecom industry is like a iceberg theory and many coupled issues so CEO need to solve these underlying issues instead of just barraging old themes of aggressive products and rollout to improve profits .In fact such an approach can only bleed the industry woes to the bottom line . Traditionally IT and Telecom industries considered separate but the fact is that the silent nimble players like Skype, WhatsAPP, IMO , Wechat has silently taken huge profits while using Telco infrastructures to reach customers merely through digitization of services

Below are some key actions to focus, not only ideas some on ground fact that will put the Telco’s back in command


1.    Re-Architecting the Future Networks

Network synergy, Energy efficiency, Infrastructure sharing, high capacity OTN networks, Single RAN, Virtualization, NFV, Cloud based. These are all the terms you will listen from time to time but theme is simple make architecture simple and modular

It will enable you to not only offer a competitive price but also make new services innovate easily

2.    Operations simplification

This is a very important target for industry. I remember the ETSI Phase2 specification specially considered the integration between NFV and SDN to solve enterprise needs for use cases that extend beyond geographies of a typical data center.

Similarly the internet style of operations where main skill is based on programming and Meta modeling of issues instead of troubleshooting skills by written guides is very important.

In Huawei we have developed a customized process for the Telco’s based on DevOps but meeting more specific needs from carriers like high quality testing , fault demarcation and continuous delivery making best product based on Pilot and Production environment synergy and concept of remote delivery . We call this process IntOps.

The key point is that Telco’s can not merely copy IT companies default DevOps, Chef and Ansible playbooks to use them directly.

I think this is the main theme of CTIO to think how to achieve this goal.

3.    Orchestration

What is our definition of this metric is how the experience will be delivered to customer through Omni channel. The standardization of Os-Ma interface will lead us to a world where customer can not only purchase but can drive the service creation through online experience.

The Service Logic and Open Graphs will be intelligent enough to create services across many infrastructures

4.    IoT

The internet of everything is a game changer, and due to the reason each IoT use case is customized in terms of QOS and service modeling makes Operators prime drivers to speed up and monetize this opportunity for their transformation.

5.    Security ,Cyber crimes and personal data integrity 

As data volume increases beyond imagination and networks become converged the threats for safe communication is immensely threaten by the Security guarantees and the intrusion detection.

·        Security policy interaction with security devices

·        Technology to defense APT attack

·        Utilizing Industry Best Practice (CIS Standard) to enhance OS

·        Security abilities more than the original OpenStack

·        Security isolation of Virtual Resource for VNF

·        The integrity protection based on TPM

·        Introspection technology for business information encryption

·        Secured deployment, upgrading and PRIST

·        Actively participate in ETSI NFV Security Specifications

6.    Organization Re-structuring

Who will solve this issue when the decision maker itself fears his redundancy? Infact this point is complex with Telecom aging workforce. It seems difficult to tell a person all the skills he acquired in two decades are not relevant now.

How to let people work in cross function Scrum teams, how to replace each manger by leader or problem solver.

To solve idea is simple, nothing can be achieved overnight. Let us promote guys who accept the change and upgrade. Set targets and make policies that discourage lazy team’s .Focus on software skills more. Python /Cheff /OpenStack /JSON

7.    Application or Infrastructure make clear decisions

Compared to IT industries, still the Telecom industry reliance on infrastructures is huge .By this I means the Telco services are not Infrastructure independent. While on Enterprise Architecture for IT the whole pie lies on the Application itself.

NFV micro service is all the stuff targeting Telco separate from infrastructure but fact is that still many services rely on his part like SR-IOV, Smart NICS, FPGA and accelerators

The strategy set on this level will have huge impact on the future of Operators. The industry leaders like AT&T , Verizon , NTT ,DT all have make clear plans to be the Software defined operator so I think actions should follow the same .

8.    Replace troubleshooting by service automation

This is a crazy idea. The SON and Software defined networks can scale and heal automatically. But the programming logic and map need to build by operations team.

It require more specialized skills on both service modeling and coding and obviously many operations jobs will be depleted .

9.    Co-deployments and converged clouds

Telco in recent years have already deployed Cloud based applications like Cloud Core, Cloud Edge, VAS Cloud but the fact is that customer CTIO must view Cloud as a shared pool which is independent of any application. The year must see ways how to join the clouds.

Till now the Global resource sharing among tenants is key point that is not standardized and difficult to customize based on each tenant. I think the community is not doing business driven approach to solve such issues. This is also a reason why commercial companies look for productions ready Distros like Huawei Fusion, Mirantis Ocala MOS, and Redhat OSP etc

10.                       Process mapping 

This is last and most important part, as from decades Telco’s have followed a very standardized process and structures to run the organization. with the digitization many of these things is going to change like Team structures , process , procedures , upgrade the eTOM processes to the ITIL based processes , Define SLA’s across IT and Telecom domains and incorporate orchestration and key enabler

I have this idea to make the processes the Scrum leader must be appointed and below team member is essential to map the processes. It is good idea to match the processes with PMI ® ACP XP (Extreme programming matrix)

Based on across industry analysis it seems evident that with huge challenges ahead the time is now to adapt .On operational level its more about transforming the ways of working and on strategic level is to deliver complete digital experience ln addition we need to solve the cross industry Silows and specially legal and regulatory concerns

According to the World Economic Forum report there are still other factors like micro branding, atomization, legal and lastly digitization of user experience side but since the scope is too wide and I am not expert on such topics, so I am leaving those for other industry experts.

I have a sincere hope that these 10 points are very important for CXO to drive the Digitization of services across industries. Future we will not listen Cloud , NFV , SDN as different terms , also industries like banks , Telco’s , enterprise not separate Isle’s but joint realities driven by the common goal of digitization


1>ETSI standards

2>ITIL expert boot camp

3>World Economic forum report Released in January 2017






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Saad Sheikh

I am a Senior Architect with a passion to architect and deliver solutions addressing business adoption of the Cloud and Automation/Orchestration covering both Telco and IT Applications industry. My work in carrier Digital transformation involve Architecting and deploying Platforms for both Telco and IT Applications including Clouds both Open stack and container platforms, carrier grade NFV ,SDN and Infra Networking , DevOps CI/CD , Orchestration both NFVO and E2E SO , Edge and 5G platforms for both Consumer and Enterprise business. On DevOps side i am deeply interested in TaaS platforms and journey towards unified clouds including transition strategy for successful migration to the Cloud Please write to me on

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