Getting Started: The Critical First Step in Telecom Transformation

It's time for telecoms to make the journey from Tel-co to Tech-co.

Digital transformation is a challenging but existential undertaking for the telecommunications industry. While most other vertical industries are well into their respective journeys, the world’s mobile network operators are only just getting started. But with initial 5G rollouts mostly complete and the 6G rollout at least a few years away, 2024 opens a valuable window of opportunity for operators to start laying the foundation for the journey from Tel-co to Tech-co.

Over the past three years, that foundation has become abundantly clear: the telco network cloud. This isn’t a new thought, and the promised benefits of much lower network TCO and revenue growth from new service delivery remain as compelling as ever. Nonetheless, progress on network “modernization” has been painfully slow and the reason is equally clear: cloud transformation is a classic people, process and technology “problem.” Technology adoption alone does not lead to digital transformation.

In fact, the technology aspects of cloud transformation are well understood. The architecture is defined by cloud-native network functions running in containerized software on industry-standard compute with as much automation as possible. In other words, cloud apps on cloud infrastructure—a consistent, standardized, highly automated cloud infrastructure from OSS/BSS and core to edge and, eventually, to RAN.

But deploying cloud infrastructure is insufficient to realize the promised benefits of digital transformation. CSPs must also transform network operations processes in parallel with the deployment of cloud infrastructure to make the TCO equation work, as network operating costs dominate network capital costs over time. This is where telecom transformation moves well beyond technology. Telecom network transformation is, at its core, a human change management program that is often delayed or even outright resisted with a range of objections—from increased operational risk to unproven technology to application maturity to the notion CSPs have to become system integrators. There may be any number of reasons, and while some (not all) of these concerns may be valid today, they will all certainly be addressed in this window of opportunity. So, the time for network cloud transformation is now, and the clear starting point is cloud infrastructure and operations.

While this is a somewhat new and daunting challenge for telecommunications networks, the process of private-, hybrid- and multicloud implementation has been going on for a long time. At Dell Technologies, we have deep experience working hand-in-hand with global enterprises to execute these types of transformation programs, and we’re applying our experience and capabilities to help the world’s network operators accelerate their digital transformations. How can we help you? Click here to learn more.

About the Author: Dennis Hoffman

Dennis Hoffman leads the Telecom Systems Business at Dell Technologies. In this role, Mr. Hoffman is responsible for the development and execution of Dell Technologies end-to-end operating plan and strategy in the Communication Services market. Mr. Hoffman is a 30-year veteran of the technology industry. Prior to his current role, he led the Corporate Strategy function at Dell Technologies following a similar role at EMC. Before that, he was responsible for launching EMC’s Virtual Computing Environment coalition with Cisco and VMware to help organizations around the world capture the promise and benefits of converged infrastructure platforms. He was previously responsible for the professional development, productivity and technical excellence of EMC’s global presales organization, as well as the performance of EMC’s Education Services offering and organization. Mr. Hoffman led the team at EMC that developed and initiated the execution of the company’s information security strategy, which resulted in the acquisition of RSA Security and several other security companies. While at RSA, he was responsible for the strategy development, execution and financial performance of RSA’s Data Security Business Unit, as well as strategic planning, strategic partnerships and business development for the RSA Division as a whole. In his first role at the company, he led product marketing for EMC Software Group. Earlier in his career, Mr. Hoffman served as CEO and Co-founder of Storigen Systems, a pioneering developer of distributed storage networking software that was acquired by EMC in October 2003. Mr. Hoffman also spent six years at Avid Technology where he was responsible for the marketing and business development of its storage and networking products, and he has held strategy consulting and engineering roles at companies including Marakon Associates, Eastman Kodak and Polaroid Corporation. Mr. Hoffman graduated from Union College with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and holds an MBA from Harvard University.