Mgmt World: DT Bridges the Chasm

DUBLIN -- Management World 2011 -- Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s CTO Olivier Baujard and the carrier's CIO Steffen Roehn provided a united front today during their joint keynote presentation here, telling the industry exactly what's needed for carrier transformation programs and explaining why they now collaborate on everything new.

That collaboration process is something that Light Reading regards as key to the future viability of traditional telecom operators, and a process we're calling Bridging the Chasm. (See Bridging the Chasm: A Manifesto.)

Baujard and Roehn said DT is undergoing a radical revamp in terms of its networks, its IT and its business processes so it can address the demands of the new communications services marketplace that's driven by the mobile Internet and the involvement of multiple external partners, including those that share DT's networks (such as MVNOs).

"Services growth will stretch the current systems" that ultimately won't be able to cope with the demands of mobile data and users' demands for new applications and services. So a new network factory and a new IT factory need to be built that are in tune with each other to enable the new business models.

"Everything being developed is a joint project between networks and IT," even if it's something that seems like it's a standalone physical network project that wouldn't normally require any input from the CIO's office. "We have to work closely together on everything," added Baujard.

While the CTO gave a snapshot of what his new, simplified network will look like – IMS has a key role to play alongside a new optical transport platform -- Roehn noted that the IT transformation process involves:

  • A business process transformation that requires business process standardization
  • The brutal retirement of legacy systems -- "we will fail without a big clean-up job in our networks and IT"
  • A new IT infrastructure (server farms) to support private cloud services
  • A new CRM platform from Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL) (Siebel)
  • A new billing platform from Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX)
  • A new ERP system from SAP AG (NYSE/Frankfurt: SAP)
  • A new next-generation OSS suite from a vendor yet to be selected

Key to the selection of DT's new IT suppliers has been a greater emphasis on standardization (as much as possible) and automation.

"We don't want to have to customize everything to death. We want out-of-the-box capabilities and not by any half measures. Our suppliers have to work hard -- we need partners who can deliver. And we can't do this on our own -- we need standards," stated the CIO.

To that end, he urged the TM Forum , with which DT is already working closely, to go further with its standardization programs and develop methodologies for business processes as well as Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) systems. "We need a tough body to enforce standards and enforce them."

So have Roehn's new suppliers been able to fully live up to his wish list? It seems not quite. "Our suppliers have understood the message," said the CIO, but currently he feels only SAP is delivering against his requirements for an out-of-the-box system as its "core competency is back-office practices. Oracle and Amdocs need to become experts at producing CRM and billing out of the box."

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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