Light Reading

The Top 20 Bridge Builders

Ray Le Maistre

Light Reading believes that the ability and desire to integrate, manage and exploit a wide range of networking and service provider IT (SPIT) capabilities as part of a broader business and operational transformation is going to be critical to the world's communications service providers (CSPs) within the next few years. We've called that networks + IT integration process Bridging the Chasm, and have laid out our views in Bridging the Chasm: A Manifesto and this video interview below:

The key question to consider now is: Are any CSPs doing anything about this? Are there any "bridge builders" that are breaking down the traditional barriers between their networking and IT teams and reaping the benefits of a converged technology deployment and service creation strategy?

The answer, we're glad to say, is "Yes." We've picked 20 of them, profiled below by clicking on each company name:

The Top 20 "Bridge Builders"

Our selection process
We've already talked to one operator, BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), that has taken a top-level decision to unify the management of its networking and IT teams under a single senior executive and seek ways to innovate and create best practices that rely as much on existing and emerging SPIT technologies as they do on the physical infrastructure that underpins every CSP. Here, that executive explains his job to LRTV:

But BT is not alone, as our list shows. We think the companies above are, in one way or another, attempting to Bridge the Chasm. Identifying these operators is not an exact science -- every operator has its own operational idiosyncrasies.

We have looked for common traits and evidence of at least a desire and strategic will to foster a new operational model that brings together the traditional strengths of a telecom operator's chief assets -- its networks and the people that build and run them -- and the back-office capabilities that can transform a telco into a new-age service provider.

Those traits are:

  • A single top-level executive with responsibility for networks and service provider IT functions. This is evidence not only of an integrated approach, but also of high-level support and "buy in" to the strategy, which is essential for any long-term developments.

  • The exposure of network assets to third parties such as applications developers, which can't be adequately or sustainably achieved without the close and ongoing cooperation of network and IT staff.

  • The implementation of a cloud services strategy, again something that can't be achieved without some sort of Bridging-the-Chasm-type efforts, as network and IT assets would need to be developed and managed hand-in-hand to enable such services.

  • Evidence of specific projects (such as advanced policy control-based class of service developments, customer experience data collation and management strategies) that require dedicated and ongoing resources from networks and IT. Such projects may start as ad hoc projects, but could ultimately be the seed from which a Bridging the Chasm strategy grows.

    The final thing to point out here is that we listed the Top 20 in alphabetical order, rather than attempt to rank them in any way. We also sought to identify key individuals who are either influential executives in the Bridging the Chasm process or holding posts that are vital to that process. We hope you'll look at each operator's profile to appreciate the variety of different approaches here.

    Of course, as this is the first attempt to identify these companies and individuals there will undoubtedly be some unwarranted but not deliberate omissions. What we want is for you -- yes, YOU -- to add your suggestions and comments to the message boards below, suggesting companies that, maybe behind the scenes, are in fact Bridging the Chasm and have been overlooked in our global sweep.

    We welcome -- nay, positively encourage -- all communications on any aspect of this topic. It's a moveable feast -- let's not leave it standing still.

    — Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

    We'll be talking more about these issues, delving deeper into all aspects of Bridging the Chasm and identifying those operators that are leading by example at our exclusive Executive Summit event in Florida during October. To get more information about this invitation-only event, click here.

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    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:22:51 PM
    re: The Top 20 Bridge Builders

    On what basis have you selected these 20 companies? According to my understanding leading Korean operator SK Telecom and SMART Philiphine are two progressive networks looking at the new ways of bridging Network and IT and also overcoming the threats posed by OTT.

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