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Highlights of the TMF Digital Transformation World Series (DTWS) 2021

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Written by
Marina Alonso
Published on
October 28, 2021
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Highlights of the TMF Digital Transformation World Series (DTWS) 2021

The TMF DWTS 2021 has been full of very enriching talks about the present and the future of telcos. The event finished a couple of weeks ago. Last week, we shared some personal thoughts of our advisor, Roland Leners, which you can still read HERE. Today, we would like to share some of the most relevant key points of the sessions that we were able to attend:

  1. Operational simplification

Simplifying the products and their operations, offering a smaller set of products is one of the end-game goals to align operational frameworks and keep moving towards the necessary transformation of the industry.

Analysts discussed that the introduction of DevOps as a strategy is still a future goal. In the past, vendors used to take care of the Dev while the Ops was done by the operators. Now, operators have realised they can perform most of the Dev operations if they find the right people with the right skills. But the reality shows that most companies are still on their way to implementing it inside their own structure.

  1. Partnerships

No company is big or strong enough in all the areas, so collaboration is necessary. More importantly, knowing when to compete and when to collaborate is key in the present and future market. And TM Forum provides a safe space where communication and collaboration are taking place.

Some stimulating talks and ideas have been raised during the past weeks. But in general, all companies agree: we are better when we work together. And similarly to any aspect of life, it is essential to choose your friends wisely.

  1. Experimentation

An interesting fact presented during the sessions is the role of technological advances nowadays. Traditional telco legacy services might still represent 99% of the economy inside telcos. But the reality shows that this 99% is not growing fast enough if compared to that 1% remaining. Moreover, forecasts predict an inflation point where the growth of the new systems will balance the decline of the old systems.

Rethinking traditional models, learning from the past and adopting new activities is what telcos require. CSPs are moving towards the unification of their business intent and their technological advancements. As a result, the CEO and CIO roles are starting to talk the same technological language. And this is only beneficial to create a clearer way to communicate.

  1. 5G

Where are we exactly? How can the industry truly monetise it and move forwards? These are some of the common topics discussed. 5G is critical for many different growth areas, something which was not necessarily considered in the past. Nowadays, 5G is deemed necessary and a true channel to a digitalised world where there is room for IoT. This technology has the potential to transform the market rather than limiting telco’s efforts to only selling connectivity and new bundles and assets.

The expert opinion also suggests that there will be a point where systems will start communicating with machine devices by 5G. This advancement will unlock a way to innovate with new technology. But this is an idea yet to be developed and conceived to cover the necessities of future scenarios. Hence, finding the necessary “killer activation” for 5G will promote even faster growth in the future.

  1. AI

AI is a relatively new technology that still needs a lot of effort to be completely integrated and understood. Developing user-friendly tools could be incredibly important to have a common environment to share analytics. This way, the most basic problems could be solved, which means less programming from scratch.

In the sessions and panel discussions held about AI, experts from different companies agreed to declare that companies need to be prepared to make mistakes. Companies should not be scared to not be right when implementing AI, and specially AI at scale.

One of the tips shared was the necessity of having a “top-down approach” to implement AI. Also, we need to keep in mind that Artificial Intelligence cannot solve every problem. And it involves really hard work to develop new algorithms. Therefore, defining the problem that needs to be solved is key in AI. There is no universal one-size-fits-all solution.

Finally…

The common message we have heard from multiple CEOs during these events is that they are disappointed. In general, they are disappointed with their progress in the digitalisation of their IT stacks due to a lack of standardisation.

This is where TM Forum is playing an important role to provide that desired standardisation, agreement, and alignment. And together, as partners and competitors, the companies of the industry will be able to leverage the true potential of new technologies. This way, we will be able to seize opportunities, reuse methods and evolve our technology and strategies.

The sessions have revealed some pain points and key common areas to drive a successful business transformation and become a digital player in the near future. Now the question is: are these ideas the real cornerstones to drive business operational success in the future? And more importantly, will the industry be able to keep up with the demands?

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