TCS Analyst Day: TCS Is Ready to Radicalize Agile Software Development

Ron Westfall – Research Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

Summary Bullets:

  • TCS promoted its agile software development strategy at the company’s TCS Analyst Day, advocating a radical departure from traditional software development approaches, particularly in the scoping and budgeting areas.
  • With its articulation of agile software development requirements, TCS gains a marketing boost in driving more agile software development, but must strengthen DevOps-related standards credentials and address the specific requirements of telcos.

At the recent Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Analyst Day, throughout various sessions and its ‘Perspectives’ publication, TCS advocated the case for agile software development requiring profound changes in budgeting and scoping. Research indicates that nearly two-thirds of the features built into systems using traditional (i.e., waterfall) software development processes are rarely or never used, and the 20% that are used provide 80% of the value to customers. Traditional methods entail scoping system requirements which warrant a detailed estimation based on extensive upfront requirements of the whole system. In parallel, cost estimates are based on detailed upfront estimates of system scope and schedule.

In contrast, TCS sees agile development using high-level estimations with scoping based on a flexible framework that depends on how much work can be done for a fixed time and cost. Likewise, costs are fixed relying on funding by value stream. Through value stream funding, software development teams need to budget according to an economic view – i.e., how useful the feature or product is to the customer. In other words, high-value, low-cost features justify increased funding whereas low-value, high-cost features justify reduced funding.

So, how can TCS accelerate agile software development practices in the telco market? Two key moves rapidly come to mind:

  • Strengthen Telco Portfolio Focus: Due to its vast enterprise background, TCS already has more experience in driving agile software development and DevOps relative to telco software specialists like Amdocs, Netcracker, and ZTEsoft. However, TCS needs to break out its telco market portfolio from the current housing in the Communications, Media and Information domain to sharpen the company’s telco-specific messaging. By diluting its telco portfolio and marketing focus, TCS risks squandering the potential of its decisive competitive edge.
  • Align with Key Emerging Standards: One factor complicating accelerated adoption of agile software development is the unsettled nature of standards. TCS needs to align its agile software development proposition with industry standard initiatives such as the TM Forum Digital Maturity Model (DMM) and CurateFX to boost its open model credentials among developers. The DMM addresses planning digital transformation across the entire organization including overcoming cultural and organizational barriers, and CurateFX seeks to systematically capture the definition and design of complex digital models. Through stronger standards support, TCS strengthens its ecosystem influence to drive operator agile development.

TCS is strengthening its competitive position in driving operator agile software development. Through the combination of vertical industry domain knowledge, enterprise use cases, and robust promotion of agile development methods, TCS offers solutions that can work for telcos. Now TCS must prioritize solving telco pain points related to cultural barriers and standards uncertainty as well as providing clarity to its telco portfolio focus and marketing.

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