There isn't a communications service provider on the planet that isn't undergoing some kind of significant transformation process currently, as the world shifts towards an increasingly competitive, virtualized, wirelessly-connected, digital landscape with IoT making an impact and 5G on the horizon.
So what sort of transformation strategies are standing out?
Four companies – Boingo Wireless Inc. , GlobeNet Cabos Submarinos SA , Reliance Jio and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) -- made the Outstanding Transformation Strategy (Service Provider) shortlist in this year's Leading Lights awards -- find out more about them below.
The winner will be announced at the Leading Lights Awards dinner on Monday, May 15, at Brazos Hall in Austin, Texas. On the following day, the Big Communications Event opens its doors for two days of learning, networking and fun.
To find out which companies were shortlisted across all of this year's Leading Lights categories, please check out this story. (See Leading Lights 2017: The Finalists.)
So let's take a look at our finalists.
Boingo has been undergoing a significant strategic transformation in recent years and that shift really started to pay off during 2016.
The wireless access specialist describes its shift as a transition from "Subscriber-Based Retail Business to a Venue and Product-Driven Power House," essentially pivoting from being a retail Wi-Fi business to a company that acquired wireless rights at venues and monetized them a range of products and services, such as wholesale WiFi, DAS (distributed antenna system)-based services and advertising.
That Venue Acquisition transformation strategy has worked, fuelling year-on-year revenue growth in 2016 of 14% to nearly $160 million, the company's third year in a row of double-digit revenue growth. Its 2017 forecast is for a further increase in revenues, of around 15%, and a significant boost in margins.
Boingo notes that about 83% of its revenues now come from the new products and services introduced as part of its transformation strategy, with only 17% coming from its traditional retail WiFi business. The company's investors clearly like its turnaround story, as Boingo's share price achieved nearly 63% growth during the course of the 'Leading Lights year' (March 2016 to March 2017), closing on March 1 2017 at $11.51.
- Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices
- Boingo Wireless Reports Strong Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2016 Financial Results
GlobeNet Cabos Submarinos
International wholesale service provider and submarine network operator GlobeNet Cabos Submarinos has not only been clever about its transformation plan, but also about the name of that strategy.
Its "Digital Transformation: The Three Waves" plan is focused on three areas of its business:
1st Wave – Back Office Transformation, implementing one single ERP with an integrated business intelligence tool;
2nd Wave – Commercial Transformation, implementing the optimal solution for processes that impact the sales cycle and back office solutions for automated billing, credit risk and taxes;
3rd Wave – Engineering & Operations Transformation, digitalizing the existing network and automating the provisioning processes by providing a centralized solution for all the existing technologies, specially focused on improving the OSS and BSS systems. The OSS transformation is a particular challenge, as it involves building a single OSS platform that can manage transport network technology from seven different vendors and the assets of seven subsea cable stations (including data center capabilities).
This digital transformation, which is underway, aims to "automate internal processes, reduce the revenue recognition and budget cycles, guarantee revenue assurance and provide with a single source of information for GlobeNet," the company notes in its Leading Lights submission, and it's clear that the company knows what it needs to do, how and why.
In many ways it could be said that greenfield 4G operator Reliance Jio has transformed India's communications sector, as it has clearly been the catalyst for massive change, including consolidation amongst its rivals, since it launched its LTE services last year.
Jio's aim, in fact, is to kickstart a digital revolution in India and it did so by building the first nationwide broadband wireless (4G LTE/WiFi) network in India and the largest all-IP network in the world and then offering free voice services and building its business around data and value-added services. Jio notes that its "business case focuses on offering affordable high speed broadband to address the pent-up demand for digital services that empowers all Indians -- e-health, e-government, education, e-commerce/payments -- and drives significant data usage on Jio's network."
Jio's strategy was an immediate success, with the operator signing up more than 100 million customers in less than six months after launch.
- Jio Piles Further Pressure Onto Indian Old Guard
- India's Jio to Boost Networks With $4.4B Investment
- 4G Deals Dominate Indian Market in 2016
The story at Verizon is all about the implementation of its SDN Network Transformation Delivery program, which is enabling it to offer what it describes as "full mix-and-match options across our portfolio for SDN, Routing, WAN Optimization and Security… to us, SDN is all about flexibility."
Using its SDN capabilities, Verizon's enterprise services business supports all configurations, including premises-based services, public and private cloud, hybrid and fully virtualized site options. And through its "automated Service Orchestration, Verizon is also alleviating the burden as well as removing many barriers which delay service installation, policy maintenance, or service upgrades which interfere with business objectives," an approach that is supported by its network analytics and network application performance management solutions.
SDN capabilities are now at the heart of Verizon's 'Virtual Network Solutions' portfolio, which includes universal CPE and white box options and what the operator describes as "Software Defined Perimeter technology to help customers match and arrest security threats through this next generation platform."
- Verizon's Next With VNFs
- Verizon NFV Plan Pushes OpenStack Forward
- Inside Verizon's 1st Production SDN-NFV
— Ray Le Maistre, , International Group Editor, Light Reading