Four Mega Trends in Healthcare and the Ways Tech Can Help

Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck – Research Director, Strategic Insights

While the healthcare system in the United States, and abroad, is a complex ecosystem with an array of interdependencies that are influencing the way the market is evolving, four major trends are having a strong impact circa 2018.

  • Shifts towards “Value-based Care”. Particularly in the U.S., the healthcare system is faced with significant rising costs due to a very large portion of its population moving into retirement age. In response, the U.S. government, the largest payer in the healthcare ecosystem, is taking steps to shift reimbursements towards “value-based payments.” A central tenet of this approach is to encourage a shift in industry focus from “paying for procedures” to “paying for outcomes”. While the business impact of this trend is to transfer increasing amounts of financial risk from payers to providers and patients, the theory is that it will also result in more targeted and effective treatment and care plans.
  • The need to protect profitability. As the movement towards value-based care shifts more financial risks to providers, many are taking steps such as scaling up through M&A, opening practices in desirable geographies and investing in specialties to protect their profitability. For example, hospital systems are opening urgent care facilities in suburban and rural areas, drug companies are merging and/or buying retail pharmacies, and healthcare payers are partnering with health systems to help promote wellness programs.

Continue reading “Four Mega Trends in Healthcare and the Ways Tech Can Help”

TU Automotive 2017: More Ecosystems than a Coral Reef


Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck – Service Director, Service Provider Infrastructure

“The automotive industry reminds me of the telecom industry ten years ago.” Hearing that statement gave me faith that I was not hopelessly out of my depth at the recently concluded TU Automotive show in Detroit. Then, when I heard one of the so-called futurists on a panel tell the audience that auto manufacturers needed to start thinking like telcos my ears really perked up.

Turns out that after two full days of presentations and meetings at last week, this ICT analyst was more in my element than I expected to be. Although I think that utilities of today are much more like telecoms companies of ten years ago than auto manufacturers are, and I can’t really see how or why I would advise Ford to fashion its go-to-market like AT&T’s (the products are simply too different), there are several meaningful intersections between automotive and ICT. Continue reading “TU Automotive 2017: More Ecosystems than a Coral Reef”

The Year in Telecom Vendor Services Support

Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck

Summary Bullets:

  • 2015 was characterized by increased support for IT services and traction regarding vendor strategic ambitions related to VoLTE, small cells, vertical markets, and embarking on SDN/NFV commercialization
  • As LTE build-outs reach completion in a number of regions, operators have turned their investment to improving capacity, density, and the user experience
  • Managed services contracts continued a steady pace, although operator demand for value creation within engagements leaves work to be done for vendors

While the industry begins its ramp-up to Mobile World Congress and another year of services engagements, aimed at technology migration and network transformation, it’s a good time to look back on the year that was in vendor services support. The year in professional and managed services was characterized by continued growth of IT services and increased traction for vendor strategic ambitions including VoLTE, small cells, vertical markets, and SDN/NFV commercialization. With regard to IT services engagements specifically, solutions that accounted for a quarter of overall activity in 2012 now make up over half of the service engagement tracking database at Current Analysis.
the way, we’re excited to see the road ahead.

Continue reading “The Year in Telecom Vendor Services Support”

INFOGRAPHIC: Key Findings from Current Analysis’ 2015 Carrier SDN/NFV Survey

Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck

Summary Bullets:

  • In 2015, Current Analysis surveyed 100 decision makers at network operators regarding challenges facing network deployments, what they need most from their vendors, and which suppliers they view most favorably.
  • Although a key focus of vendor messaging in 2015 was helping operators to operationalize SDN/NFV, operators are facing more fundamental questions standing in the way of their decision to fully embrace network virtualization: uncertain ROI.
  • When asked what one thing operators feel the SDN/NFV supplier community is not adequately addressing, VNF performance dominated the responses. A word cloud below summarizes the key responses, with the size of each word corresponding to the frequency in which they appeared in the response results.
  • Cisco and Huawei have topped SDN/NFV vendor perception results for the past several years. However, IT-oriented suppliers – namely HP and IBM – made up considerable ground in 2015, now ranking closely behind Cisco and Huawei as top perceived SDN/NFV suppliers.
  • Ericsson also made a considerable jump in perception to round out the ‘Top 5’ in terms of best perceived vendors in the survey.

Continue reading “INFOGRAPHIC: Key Findings from Current Analysis’ 2015 Carrier SDN/NFV Survey”

Not Provocative, but Indispensable: Knowledge Transfer within SDN/NFV Services Engagements

Summary Bullets:
• Knowledge transfer is a relatively dull concept with regard to services engagements, but remains a business imperative for telecom services vendors
• The concept has grown in importance as optimization and consulting engagements have grown more complex
• Considering the complexity surrounding SDN/NFV projects, it stands to reason knowledge transfer abilities will become increasingly more important

One of the projects we took on this year at Current Analysis was a report determining the current state of professional services offerings for SDN/NFV and what is to come in the future. Looming virtualization projects are something of a different animal for the telecom industry, requiring new skills, talent, and portfolios. Vendors have done well to incorporate these changes into their messaging, but there’s an aspect of transformation that has flown under the radar. We felt we should shed some light on it.

Rarely highlighted in vendor messaging, but implicitly acknowledged as a component of professional services engagements, knowledge transfer is a critical part of most services engagements, especially when those projects deal with deploying and/or optimizing new technologies. As optimization and consulting engagements have grown more complex, the ability to transfer knowledge obtained or actioned during a service engagement has grown as well. Ultimately, if the operator is left with a less than complete understanding of what was done, and, more importantly, what must be done going forward to keep the network running optimally, a project can fail.

Nevertheless, it’s no surprise then that something as mundane as knowledge transfer is largely left out when discussing professional services for virtualization. For something as important as SDN/NFV the conversation has revolved around the benefits tied to the technology like scalability, flexibility, and improved time to market. Furthermore, the services requirements and organizational transformation to achieve these benefits are considerable, daunting even. It’s understandable that the concept of knowledge transfer might escape top-level services messaging.

The road to virtualization is enormously complex; few will deny it. As operators struggle to define ROI for SDN/NFV adoption, it is easy to understand why vendors are focusing their services messages on consulting and SI-type services that can help overcome some of these fundamental challenges. Nevertheless, SDN/NFV deployments will progress in 2016. As this happens, not only do operators need to fully understand the up and down stream operational and service impacts of a virtual network architecture, they also need to further comprehend how these virtualized networks will interact with their physical networks. Enter the importance of knowledge transfer. As operators face the mandate to undertake comprehensive staff re-training, a services vendor’s ability to document processes and train personnel will become an increasingly important part of any SDN/NFV services portfolio.

We’ll be paying attention to how this aspect of vendor services portfolios evolve; and we trust that all of the operators who are considering SDN and/or NFV deployments in 2016 will be as well.

Continue reading “Not Provocative, but Indispensable: Knowledge Transfer within SDN/NFV Services Engagements”

How Telecom Benefits from IoT: Life and Death Security Implications

Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck

Summary Bullets:

  • Network security is moving from something that has traditionally been seen as being “baked in” to an overt aspect of vendor solution marketing as all IP-based telecom and IoT networks proliferate.
  • As IoT security steps increasingly into the light, telecom network operators and vendors have a chance to win business in a number of vertical markets that have been previously out of their “sweet spot.”

The other day, I was invited to hear Ethernet co-inventor Bob Metcalfe participate in a live stream interview at RCR Wireless’ studios in Austin, TX. During the talk, professor Metcalfe touched on a range of topics including the history of Ethernet development, entrepreneurship and IoT networking requirements. While all good stuff, the part of the interview I found most interesting dealt with IoT security, particularly as it pertains to securing the networks needed to enable driverless cars on a mass-market scale. (For those interested, the gist of the automotive security discussion begins at about 25:30 of the video). Continue reading “How Telecom Benefits from IoT: Life and Death Security Implications”

NetCracker’s Analyst Day – Part II: Does SDN/NFV Have the Market in a State of Neurosis?

Jason Marcheck
Jason Marcheck

Summary Bullets:

  • NetCracker CEO Andrew Feinberg gave a lengthy talk at its analyst conference that was candid, but also shined a light on the challenges that lie ahead for OSS/BSS vendors looking to play a central role in telecom network virtualization.
  • Network operators are ‘feeling pain’ in a variety of ways that have them interested in SDN/NFV; however, that pain has yet to result in uniform urgency related to deploying virtualized networks.

As part of his talk at NetCracker’s 2015 Analyst conference (held May 13-15 in Boston), company CEO Andrew Feinberg provided some of his insights into not only how vendors need to approach SDN/NFV strategies, but also how operators are gauging the sense of urgency with which they need to approach deployment of the technologies. Continue reading “NetCracker’s Analyst Day – Part II: Does SDN/NFV Have the Market in a State of Neurosis?”