FREMONT, CA: Telecommunications operators know that automating network management and operations is a crucial step in the modernization of their networks and eventually in their businesses' digital transition. Technology is the immediate imperative: allowing network management that can adequately address the expectations placed on it by the burgeoning development of data, devices and innovations. This serves a greater imperative to enable the business to understand and satisfy customer demand for services, and to scale as needed quickly and efficiently.
Not all operators are highlighting 5G in the construction of the automation business case. Furthermore, the network reliability enabled by automation is integral to their ability to manage 5G complexity and offer customers with end-to-end 5G services. With efforts to modernize the data center, some operators begin their automation journey. Others are focused on automating systems of operational support. Wherever they start, before deciding how to handle legacy systems, operators logically aim virtualized functions. Although many operators are in the process of automation, their implementation has not always been seamless and painful lessons have been learned.
Structural changes are being made by operators to focus solely on automation. This often involves the fusion or redistribution of responsibilities across the network and IT teams. Moreover, the toughest issues are to retrain existing staff and try to instill DevOps principles.
At tier-one operators, automation is well underway, but the application of such programs was far from smooth at many. The aims of new automation are modest, but ambitions are going to increase. Earlier gains are unrealistic due to significant upfront costs, including onboarding from virtual network function, but returns would be ripening eventually. Healthier capital efficiency is another short-term objective, while some operators see enhanced network resilience as the most significant early benefit.
Though still to be realized, there are still big hopes for open standards. Open source development of standard solutions is strongly supported, but creating critical momentum requires more dedication from all stakeholders.