For any network operator planning to introduce SDN and NFV capabilities in an effort to become more efficient and agile, their starting point on the journey to a more virtualized working environment should be their staff and their OSS and BSS capabilities.
Addressing the cultural implications of SDN, NFV and the cloud services environment is critical. No longer can the network operations, IT and marketing teams work independently: They need to be working as an integrated unit and all to the same gameplan. The CTO, CIO and CMO need to become best buddies: If they don't, then the journey to a next-generation business is going to be either very slow and painful -- or impossible.
Light Reading has been encouraging operators to "bridge the chasm" for years, and it's clear that some operators, including XO Communications Inc. in the US, see the benefits or a revamp in their organizational structure and culture. (See SDN, NFV & The Future of XO's Network and Bridging the Chasm: A Manifesto.)
That corporate cultural challenge is a tough one. Equally tough is figuring out how the introduction of SDN applications and virtualized functions will affect the back office -- the OSS and BSS. Can existing management and business tools cope with a hybrid network comprising legacy network elements and virtualized/programmable functions? If not, what new management, billing, security and business continuity tools are needed, and where will they come from?
Such questions are so important that Light Reading is gathering together a group of experts in London on November 6 for a one-day conference, OSS in the Era of SDN & NFV, to address and answer them. Leading industry analysts from Heavy Reading , including Caroline Chappell and Gabriel Brown, will be joined by OSS and networking specialists from BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), Colt Technology Services Group Ltd , Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT), Comptel Corp. (Nasdaq, Helsinki: CTL1V), Netcracker Technology Corp. , Tail-f Systems (now part of Cisco), UBiqube Plc and others to analyze and debate the challenges facing network operators and their options.
Some of those companies already have real-world experience to share: Deutsche Telekom has long talked about the need for a new OSS strategy for its TeraStream network architecture, with Netconf and Yang at the heart of its approach. (See Netconf & Yang Go Mainstream, Deutsche Telekom: A Software-Defined Operator and Nothing Is Sacred, DT's Clauberg Tells BTE .)
Colt, meanwhile, has been forging ahead with its plans to capitalize on the benefits of both SDN and NFV. (See Colt Targets Network Virtualization in the Data Center and Beyond.)
Both of those operators will have unrivaled insights and experience to share at the London conference.
SDN and NFV are game changers, and that means they'll have a significant impact on every part of a telco's business, starting with the staff and the OSS. And given the rate of change in the communications networking sector these days, the time to take the first steps is right now.
— Ray Le Maistre, , Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading