Nokia: Betting Telco Analytics Proves Essential for Driving Agile Telco Cloud Evolution

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Nokia used the TMF Live! event to conduct its 2015 Nice Analyst Day, including an update on its Nokia Telco Analytics solution highlighting China Mobile’s adoption for predictive complaint analysis as well as its overall approach to solving operator pain points.
  • Nokia still must show that its Telco Analytics solution can improve near-future operator monetization and data management objectives to avoid extending operator ROI concerns with previous analytics investments.

Nokia provided an update of its Nokia Telco Analytics solution at its Nice Analyst Day during the TM Forum Live! event. The solution encompasses descriptive analytics (e.g., traffic steering, analytics-aware SON), online analytics (real-time GEO) and predictive analytics. The predictive analytics component included a China Mobile use case for predictive complaint analysis applications that enabled the operator to realize outcomes such as a 38% decrease in complaints about network and service quality and 66% improvement in first call resolution. Continue reading “Nokia: Betting Telco Analytics Proves Essential for Driving Agile Telco Cloud Evolution”

CSG International: Can Its CSG Ascendon Platform Drive the Ascent of Operator Digital Services?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

• CSG International purpose-developed its CSG Ascendon platform to enable operators, content providers, and retailers to transform their operations to improve the pursuit and targeting of rapidly expanding digital services opportunities.

• By focusing more on the cloud/SaaS security credentials of the Ascendon platform, including the potential acquisition of cloud security broker technology, CSG International can further differentiate its new digital services platform against a sea of competitive alternatives.

CSG International developed its CSG Ascendon platform to enable operators to capitalize on burgeoning digital services opportunities. The CSG Ascendon platform is designed to support an overlay framework that enables operators to identify, analyze and scale existing and new digital services. The platform offers cloud-based consumer profiles, preferences, digital entitlements, e-wallet and payment options to drive operator differentiation of their digital service plans. The Ascendon platform benefits from CSG’s SaaS service support resources and deployment experience to address operator concerns related to the adoption and integration of new digital services technology.

The CSG Ascendon platform must contend against a plethora of rival digital service platform competition including offerings from systems integrators, infrastructure vendors, and OSS/BSS suppliers. What platform attributes enable CSG International to differentiate its Ascendon offering?:

Configuration Flexibility: The CSG Ascendon platform offers four solution configuration options that combine its BSS assets and content management products into a single integrated platform. As a result, the platform can drive operator digital services goals related to the building and monetizing of new digital customer relationships, extending order management to third-party digital commerce products, integrating policy control into all digital services flows, and supporting overall business transformation objectives. Few digital service platform rivals can match the CSG Ascendon platform’s configuration range and flexibility.

Digital Services Deployment Experience: CSG International can tout its deployment track record within a wide variety of digital services environments, including Comcast XFINITY On Campus, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Cineplex Entertainment and ESPN digital services implementations. Due to its systems integration heritage and diverse digital services channels, CSG International gains a leg up against solutions that lack equivalent digital services experience backgrounds, especially within non-operator environments such as retailer and content provider networks.

With the CSG Ascendon platform targeting burgeoning operator investment in digital services build-outs, what moves can CSG International make to advance its attractiveness to meeting operator digital services concerns?:

SaaS Security: Operators consistently identify cloud security as the single most important potential impediment to accelerated adoption of SaaS implementations such as Ascendon. While the infrastructure side of the operator’s SaaS implementation can deliver nearly foolproof security assurances, individual users of SaaS apps typically lack appropriate security controls that minimize risk. This includes vulnerability to phishing and other attack techniques that can compromise digital content and services. The lack of a distinct security component somewhat dilutes the Ascendon platform’s overall digital services enablement virtues.

Acquire Cloud Security Specialists: As part of the Ascendon proposition, CSG should consider proactively guiding operator outreach endeavors to educate users on best practices for avoiding security breaches. Moreover CSG needs to consider acquiring a cloud access security broker specialist, such as Skyhigh Networks or Netskope, to burnish its cloud security credentials. Such a move can ease integration of cloud security with operator policies, using technology purpose-built for cloud environments and thus avoid stretching security platforms designed for enterprise or on-premise settings.

Overall, CSG commands the portfolio and channel resources to play a major role in using the CSG Ascendon platform to drive operator as well as retailer and content provider adoption, and scaling of digital services. With a robust security offering and message in place upfront, the CSG Ascendon platform can become a more compelling solution for operators to select in steering the ascent of their digital services packages.

Continue reading “CSG International: Can Its CSG Ascendon Platform Drive the Ascent of Operator Digital Services?”

ZTE: Method Behind OSS Transformation Projects Insightful, but Needs Analytics and Swapping Refresh

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • ZTE employs its “Method for ZTE OSS Projects”, which includes consulting, OSS swapping, OSS improvement, and managed service optimization components to address evolving operator OSS transformation demands.
  • ZTE needs to accent BDA/analytics integration capabilities, while also producing OSS swapping use cases, to improve its prospects in driving more operator adoption of its OSS proposition.

ZTE advances its “Method for ZTE OSS Projects” as needed by operators to meet their OSS transformation ends. The ZTE OSS project methodology includes consulting, OSS improvement, OSS swapping, and managed service optimization components. The components all use ZTE portfolio assets including unified managed services, tools to visualize OSS processes and data, and transparency across management of the entire network to meet operator OSS transformation demands according to their specific needs. Continue reading “ZTE: Method Behind OSS Transformation Projects Insightful, but Needs Analytics and Swapping Refresh”

IBM: Can New Network Innovation Centers Drive Operator Adoption of SDN, Virtualization and Analytics-Driven Automation?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

• IBM unveiled the opening of two new Network Innovation Centers in Nice, France and Dallas, Texas, designed for operators and large enterprises to test SDN, virtualization and analytics-driven automation technologies for easing adoption of cloud models.

• After recent restructurings reduced its telco portfolio assets, IBM faces channel challenges in convincing operators that its innovation centers will prove essential in testing the orchestration and automation between their various IT systems and network infrastructure platforms.

IBM launched two new Network Innovation Centers, designed to address operator and large enterprise testing of SDN, virtualization and analytics-driven automation technologies, to ease the adoption of cloud models for driving their IT and network transformation objectives. Lab participants can vet solutions for capabilities such as automated and dynamic network resource management in support of burgeoning data applications such as Internet of Things (IoT), online transactions, social media, and mobile apps. Continue reading “IBM: Can New Network Innovation Centers Drive Operator Adoption of SDN, Virtualization and Analytics-Driven Automation?”

InfoVista: Can the VistaNEO Solution Advance Mobile Network Experience Optimization?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • InfoVista introduced its VistaNEO solution that targets growing operator demand to use geo-analysis of subscriber and network experience to advance QoS management and actionable insight.
  • InfoVista can improve the VistaNEO proposition by forming alliances with geo-location specialists, such as Polaris Wireless, to improve device location inputs and address policy control interworking concerns.

At Mobile World Congress 2015, InfoVista introduced its VistaNEO solution designed to extend geo-analytics of subscriber and network experience to improve operator management of network and service quality at the subscriber level. The solution targets the RAN engineering, optimization, and troubleshooting teams of operators with the goal of reducing customer churn and defending existing revenue streams. VistaNEO automates the collection and post-processing of subscriber-centered call detail records to aid operator analysis of QoS over temporal and spatial dimensions. Continue reading “InfoVista: Can the VistaNEO Solution Advance Mobile Network Experience Optimization?”

Amdocs: Banking on New Enhancements to Its Mobile Financial Services Solution to Gain Mobile Ecosystem Clout

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

  • Amdocs unveiled a new set of enhancements to its MFS solution, including online merchant checkout payments that target the burgeoning demand of operators and financial institutions to deploy mobile payment services that meet the distinct needs of users in developing regions.
  • Amdocs still must prove it can generate the channels, including mobile device and OS partnerships, to drive mobile ecosystem acceptance of its MFS, especially against proven mobile wallet solutions from rivals such as Ericsson and Huawei, as well as alternative credit card and web-based payment (PayPal) methods.

During Mobile World Congress 2015, Amdocs rolled out a set of new enhancements to its Mobile Financial Services (MFS) solution. The enhancements included support for online merchant checkout payments, one-click bulk transactions, unified wallet, and priority wallet features. The solution is delivered over a public or private cloud, supporting a single mobile wallet that allows users to manage and control their finances. As a result, MFS enables online merchants to expand their payment channels and enable consumers to use their mobile wallet accounts for online transactions. Continue reading “Amdocs: Banking on New Enhancements to Its Mobile Financial Services Solution to Gain Mobile Ecosystem Clout”

MWC 2015: Huawei’s Business Enabling System (BES) – Ready for Digital Prime Time?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

• At MWC 2015, Huawei promoted its Business Enabling System (BES), a framework using assets like pre-integrated software modules, analytics, and API management designed to drive operator adaptation to and influence over B2C/B2B/B2B2x digital ecosystems.

• Huawei needs to produce proof of concepts (PoCs), use cases and endorsements that demonstrate operators are ready to use the BES as the integral framework required for replacing the traditional BSS and drive their overall digital transformation.

Huawei used the MWC 2015 event to promote its BES. Or more accurately, re-promote the BES framework it has championed for at least a year now (please see: Huawei Global Analyst Summit 2014: BSS Transformation Drives Huawei BES Vision, May 5, 2014). To Huawei’s credit its core message has remained consistent in advocating that the BES hierarchal architecture design – using integrated business processes adaptive to value chains, customer experience, infrastructure, and digital/non-digital services – is essential for replacing the limitations of the traditional BSS. Such legacy BSS limitations include multiple silo-bound processes predicated on delivering telco services like voice and data but not Internet-centric digital services (e.g., Baidu, Google, Alibaba, Amazon) and dependence on inflexible processes that limit operator agility.

Since Huawei has invested heavily in its BES framework, how can it differentiate and drive its BES proposition within the global digital ecosystem to prove its indispensable role in driving operator BSS and business model transformation?

Crystallize Portfolio Details: Huawei’s outbound marketing of BES continues to lack some crucial upfront portfolio details. Through inquiries to Huawei, it has become evident that portfolio elements such as service delivery platform (SDP) and cloud infrastructure products (e.g., servers, cloud engine switches, storage platforms) play key roles in addition to designated BSS-to-BES transformation products (e.g., revenue management, business analytics, customer management). Huawei’s vision and messaging would benefit from a tighter presentation of the portfolio assets needed for BES implementations.

BES and SDN/NFV?: In laying the groundwork for operator adoption of BES the linkage to meta-technology initiatives, such as SDN/NFV, SoftCOM and digital service platforms, remains tacit but scattered. In particular, Huawei needs to specify how BES interworks with NFV orchestration and SDN hypervisor technology to assure its primacy in operator digital services planning and pre-empt rival attempts to use SDN/NFV as a wedge against the framework.The Huawei BES framework proposes the transformation of the traditional BSS into the BES framework. What are the major considerations that operators need to consider in evaluating BES?

BES Integration Options: Operators must evaluate Huawei’s BES proposition in the context of understanding how much of the Huawei portfolio in areas such as SoftCOM, distributed cloud data centers and SDN/NFV integration would be required to achieve adaptation and success within the global digital ecosystem. For example, the Huawei BES framework can play a pivotal role in adoption of the Huawei SoftCOM architecture (i.e., cloud-centric business model) to assure the scalable, elastic architecture required for operator agility in driving the digital value chain. How BES supports the cloud orchestration required across the B2C/B2B/B2B2X digital ecosystems will prove essential in generating operator confidence toward adopting the framework.

Vertical Applications: Operators need to vet the Huawei BES framework in its potential to drive the targeting of vertical markets. Unlike many of its key competitors, Huawei does not customarily target customers in vertical markets directly. Since Huawei does not work directly in vertical markets, it might be fair to question the depth of its understanding of vertical market requirements. As one of Huawei’s objectives is to help its operator customers to penetrate verticals, then these customers need to know that the advice they will be getting from Huawei comes from a place of proven deployment experience. Huawei can count on rivals using vertical competencies as a differentiator in selling against the BES framework.

Overall Huawei needs to include progress with operator trials and PoCs, let alone operator endorsements and use cases, to fuel the year-plus marketing momentum behind BES. Otherwise Huawei risks entrapping BES in an early downward spiraling hype-cycle that creates the ecosystem impression that the framework lacks prime time readiness because it was too heavily promoted ahead of operator willingness to adopt BES on a robust, wide scale. Continue reading “MWC 2015: Huawei’s Business Enabling System (BES) – Ready for Digital Prime Time?”

Comarch: Providing a Beacon into IoT Innovation and Integration?

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:• Comarch used its recent Comarch User Group event to tout the location-detection and customer loyalty benefits of its Comarch Beacon technology.

• Comarch can improve the channel prospects of its Comarch Beacon solution by enlisting and touting operator and iOS/Android developer support.

Comarch provided an update on its Comarch Beacon solution at its recent Comarch User Group event. The Comarch Beacon is designed to enable businesses to have personalized communications with customers within close proximity to the business location. The technology is supported by proximity-detection technology which supports two-way communications, including location-detection challenging indoor locations. The solution is compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Since the Comarch Beacon product must contend with a vast array of overlapping and alternative IoT sensor solutions, how does Comarch plan to promote the solution?:

Beacon Use Cases: Comarch sees its beacon technology having the most impact in the retailer segment. For example, within mall environments the beacon can pinpoint customer preferences upon their entrance at a store location to store management. This capability would apply to loyalty program and other opt-in participants. Likewise smart device users can access incentive programs and other useful data. These capabilities can appeal to operators keen on using location-based apps to improve their service packages as well as improve customer loyalty through retail partner programs that pool and share loyalty rewards and incentives.

Indoor Detection: Unlike GPS technology the Comarch Beacon solution uses proximity detection technology that work within indoor environments such as shopping malls and resorts. The lack of indoor location detection has proven in a barrier in advancing adoption of location detection technologies for smart device applications and services. Comarch avoids obliging customers to cut their teeth on inconsistent and unproven location-detection technologies.

As Comarch develops and markets the Comarch Beacon solution, what are the key concerns and barriers the company needs to address to boost its market acceptance?:

OSS/BSS Integration: Comarch may have missed an early sales and marketing opportunity to enlist operators to boost retail adoption of the Comarch Beacon solution, putting more focus on the retailers themselves. Since the Comarch Beacon technology requires compatibility with iOS and Android devices, operators have both the incentives and means to encourage retail/customer adoption of the technology. Moreover, as an OSS/BSS supplier Comarch can drive operator integration of IoT communications, such as beacons, within their evolving OSS/BSS implementations.

iOS and Android Developer Influence: The Comarch Beacon technology relies on compatibility with iOS and Android smart devices. As a result, Comarch may need to prove it can influence the iOS and Android developer communities to support its beacon technology among a wide array of IoT beacon/sensor alternatives. Without such developer support, Comarch risks its Comarch Beacon technology becoming a pedestrian location detection app that underwhelms consumers and customers.

Overall Comarch can improve the channel prospects of its Comarch Beacon technology by proactively engaging and enlisting operators to use the solution to improve their own service packages and retailer relations. Furthermore, Comarch needs to show it can motivate iOS and Android developers to devote resources in the direction of Comarch Beacon to prove it can drive improving customer loyalty among retailer brands.

Continue reading “Comarch: Providing a Beacon into IoT Innovation and Integration?”

Comverse: Betting on the Kenan Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform to Boost Cloud BSS Prospects

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

• Comverse unveiled its new Comverse Kenan Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform designed to advance operator and enterprise cloud BSS objectives

• The competitive prospects of the Comverse Kenan Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform are enhanced by complementary innovations in areas such as software licensing models and cloud security

Comverse recently introduced its Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform, powered by Kenan FX | CX | AX, at the TM Forum Live! Digital Disruption event. The newly overhauled Kenan suite targets emerging enterprise, operator and cloud service provider objectives to use cloud technologies to scale and differentiate their digital service packages. By delivering the Kenan module-based solutions via the cloud, Comverse asserts it enables operators to put focus on their customers and deliver services faster through a tailored approach that meets their specific business needs.

Since Comverse must compete against a wide range of BSS solutions that target monetization realization apps, how does the company plan to differentiate and advance its Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform within the operator, cloud service provider, and enterprise channels?:

Kenan FX Revenue Management: Leveraging the Kenan FX product’s origins in multi-play postpaid billing and revenue management, Comverse positions the Kenan FX module as providing the on-premise financial framework required for comprehensive customer lifecycle management. Comverse can claim to produce the latest refresh of revenue management tools to differentiate against the sea of competing BSS solutions with revenue management modules.

Kenan CX Cloud BSS: With its October 2014 release, Comverse asserts the Kenan CX provides the cloud BSS framework that meets the cloud security requirements of operators and their customers. This includes worldwide and regulatory support alongside billing operations service bureau resources.

Kenan AX: The Kenan AX module is targeted for launch at the beginning of 2015. It is designed to provide a web framework for combined recurring and usage, any-time any-service modeling. The key differentiator Comverse claims is a carrier grade web architecture and design that avoids the limitations of third-party OTT web frameworks.

As Comverse touts its latest revenue management proposition further into the operator, enterprise and cloud service provider channels, what are the key concerns and barriers the company needs to address?:

Licensing Model Innovation?: As Comverse fills in additional development details for its Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform during the course of 2015 it could boost the channel prospects of its solution by addressing the benefits of the Comverse software license model. With rivals such as Huawei ready to trumpet garnishment of BSS business from Comverse, it needs to produce software licensing innovation to complement its latest technical advances. Moreover key rival Ericsson introduced its Software 15A release to shepherd emulation of IT software models, such as better-defined software packages and transparent pricing models, into the telco space boosting its overall cloud proposition.

Cloud Security Credentials: Comverse is right on target to include cloud security as a highlight in the Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform rollout. Consistently, operators have identified cloud security as a top rolling concern in scaling cloud technology to support an expanding array of apps. However, Comverse needs to firm up its cloud security story and development to gain an upper hand on BSS rivals who have thus far neglected putting cloud security in the center of their BSS roadmaps for 2015 and beyond.

Overall Comverse can revitalize its BSS competitive prospects with successful execution of the Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform road map. The Kenan brand name continues to command customer respect in the revenue management segment enabling Comverse to boost the channel prospects of the new platform. Now can Comverse also produce additional innovations in areas such as software licensing and cloud security to further boost prospects for the new platform?

Continue reading “Comverse: Betting on the Kenan Enterprise Monetization Realization Platform to Boost Cloud BSS Prospects”

Intel and Amartus: An Alliance Long on Ambition in Meeting Operator Service Orchestration

Ron Westfall
Ron Westfall

Summary Bullets:

• Intel and Amartus target new operator service orchestration demands with an approach that relies on delivering run-time, programmable, end-to-end service orchestration for cloud, WAN, and SDN/NFV applications

• The Intel/Amartus partnership needs to devote more attention toward why operators need to adopt the Amartus Chameleon SDS solution against an array of orchestration alternatives and how it fits into operator NFV MANO plans Intel and Amartus recently issued a solution brief that targets delivering runtime, programmable, end-to-end service orchestration for operator cloud, WAN, and SDN/NFV applications. Intel and Amartus propose combining Intel Xeon servers with the Amartus Chameleon SDS (software-defined service orchestration) to meet the new service provisioning and orchestration demands of supporting SDN/NFV implementations. The pair have identified that operators require more than adoption of SDN/NFV to meet their emerging next generation service provisioning challenges.

As Intel and Amartus must contend against a wide range of service orchestration solutions, how does the pair plan to differentiate and advance their service orchestration proposition within the operator channels?

Elasticity and Automation: Intel and Amartus target the top operator priority in using SDN/NFV to render their WAN and cloud services more automated and elastic. Both companies advocate adopting an end-to-end service orchestration approach that is purpose-designed to scale the new class of pay-per-use type of services enabled by SDN/NFV technology. This positioning enables Intel and Amartus to claim an orchestration solution that avoids the limitations of traditional OSS platforms due to their incompatibility with emerging SDN/NFV architectures and overall inflexibility.

Unified Service Orchestration: Intel and Amartus advocate that operators adopt a unified software-defined service orchestration platform that is purpose-designed to support dynamic, run-time programmability for any service or technology. The integrated Amartus SDS/Intel Xeon server solution is already based on run-time programmable principles that can support model-driven service and network orchestration. This approach allows the alliance to assert their solution avoids the fragmented service support drawbacks of legacy OSS platforms due to their hard-wiring for specific services and technologies.

As Intel and Amartus market and advocate their service orchestration proposition further into the operator channels what are the key concerns and barriers both companies need to address?:

NFV Orchestration Battles: Intel and Amartus will need to address how their service orchestration solution can meet emerging operator NFV management and organization (MANO) demands. Intel and Amartus must convince operators that their service orchestration proposition deserves to prevail over the plethora of competing orchestration solutions flooding the market today that seemingly defy meeting operator unified management objectives. To this end, the partnership needs to demonstrate support and compliance with NFV MANO requirements that avoid the over-hyped compliance claims of rivals that plagued the embryonic phase of NFV MANO development.

Proving New Channel Competencies: Intel and Amartus must contend with a wide variety of competitors, including network and IT equipment suppliers, claiming some version of an end-to-end (E2E) service orchestration solution. This will make the partnership’s marketing efforts more challenging to execute successfully, since few if any rivals will concede the Intel/Amartus approach is unique. In particular, Intel must prove to operators it can meet the distinct demands of E2E orchestration on the network side of operations and not just the IT side. This could extend the sales cycles of the partnership as Intel sets out to prove its operator channel competencies extend beyond processors and servers and into virtual network function (VNF) infrastructure, VNFs and NFV MANO.

Overall Intel and Amartus can make inroads with their E2E service orchestration proposition since operators are in the midst of considering network architectural overhauls that span cloud, WAN and SDN/NFV considerations. However the alliance needs more than good timing to convince operators to adopt their approach since rivals will prove keen to dilute their E2E service orchestration claims. Moreover, operators may oblige Intel and Amartus to prove an extra level of competence in extending Amartus Chameleon SDS management compliance to the NFV MANO domain.

Continue reading “Intel and Amartus: An Alliance Long on Ambition in Meeting Operator Service Orchestration”