Whenever surveys provide positive outcomes, there's always tremendous temptation to focus on the positive to the exclusion of everything else. And in this new world order of business and operations support systems (B/OSS) that is being overhauled by transformation, virtualization and automation, vendors and operators are eager for good news.
But while the results from this month's Thought Leadership Council (TLC) do, in fact, highlight some positive news in terms of B/OSS automation, it's important for vendors and operators to focus equal attention on the frustrations and obstacles that service-provider panelists identified in the report, B/OSS Transformation Focus Group: B/OSS Automation Plans Equate to Cautious Optimism.
For this report, council members were asked ten questions to analyze their company's deployment strategies, assess technologies involved and discuss drivers and obstacles impacting B/OSS automation. While the overall strategies of these providers indicate that they are, in fact, moving forward with automation plans, their answers and comments to several other questions revealed lingering frustrations that could slow overall adoption.
For example, when asked what needs to happen for B/OSS automation to become mainstream, almost half of the panelists said they want proven case studies or applications in the marketplace. It's important to note that this answer is the only one chosen by the panelists that vendors actually can influence. It's also important to note that this single "fix" was preferred equally to the remaining options combined, including infusions of capital, greater customer demand and increased competitor implementation.
Another question that revealed areas in which vendors and operators need to direct attention asked panelists to identify the biggest obstacles to the adoption of B/OSS automation. More than 70% of panelists said the lack of knowledge and skills was the biggest issue. "We see skills being tossed away in favor of cheaper apprentice staff," one council member said. "The need to use GUI-based and auto tools seems inevitable. I suppose it's part of the 'do more with less' mindset that comes before major service fails."
Although investment and budgetary concerns were seen as the next biggest obstacle by more than 60% of panelists, one member's comments reiterate the opportunities vendors have to influence automation of B/OSS: "We need to see proven business cases to justify the increases in capex allocations that B/OSS automation will require."
TLC is a Heavy Reading research initiative that consists of panels of CSP experts focused on key areas of telecom development, including service assurance, SD-WAN, automation, 5G and IoT. Members participate in Q&A forums several times a year, and all information disclosed by Council members remains anonymous.
— Denise Culver, Director of Online Research, Heavy Reading