Laddie Suk – InFocus Blog | Dell EMC Services https://infocus.dellemc.com DELL EMC Global Services Blog Thu, 18 Apr 2019 17:47:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.7 Seeding the Right IoT Architecture at AeroFarms https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/seeding-the-right-iot-architecture-at-aerofarms/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/seeding-the-right-iot-architecture-at-aerofarms/#respond Wed, 16 Jan 2019 10:00:54 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=37011 Dell Technologies’ customer AeroFarms is on a mission to build and operate environmentally responsible farms throughout the world by enabling local production at scale to nourish communities with safe, nutritious and delicious food. AeroFarms is the world’s largest indoor vertical farm and yields up to 390x more produce than a traditional field farm – all […]

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Dell Technologies’ customer AeroFarms is on a mission to build and operate environmentally responsible farms throughout the world by enabling local production at scale to nourish communities with safe, nutritious and delicious food. AeroFarms is the world’s largest indoor vertical farm and yields up to 390x more produce than a traditional field farm – all without sunlight, soil, or pesticides and all with 95% less water.

AeroFarms builds vertical farms in urban areas such as Newark, New Jersey, where they have their global headquarters as well. Through a high-tech, data-driven method of misting nutrients directly on to the plant roots, as well as directing appropriate amounts and wavelengths of artificial light, leafy greens can thrive!

AeroFarms Production Farm in Newark, NJ

In order to optimize the plant health, growth and yield, AeroFarms needs best-in-class technology to harness diverse data types quickly that allow their teams to drive insights and make informed decisions. Their partnership with Dell Technologies enables them to implement the right data-driven machinery into their industry-leading processes, whereby they can automate and analyze everything from seed to package using data from temperature, humidity, airflow, nutrients, light, water, and food safety.

To begin their IoT journey, AeroFarms worked with Dell EMC Consulting to determine their use cases, design a technical architecture that met their business requirements, and develop an implementation roadmap to achieve their business goals.

Designing the Architecture

From an architectural standpoint, there were several unique challenges and considerations for AeroFarms that needed to be taken into account:

As part of the architecture, we recommended Dell Edge Gateways for IoT so the research and production farms could speed the plant health instrumentation data to be analyzed. We also included a Dell EMC PowerEdge R740xd, High Performance Compute node, to support artificial intelligence, deep learning and advanced, custom analytics that can help AeroFarms with improved growing conditions, such as automating image recognition and classification to adjust plant nutrients, light and other factors.

Value Delivered

AeroFarms is a fascinating example of how technology advances human progress and we’re proud to be part of their story. In providing strategic and technical guidance, Dell EMC Consulting has helped AeroFarms implement a scalable architecture that meets their business requirements, including custom grow analytics, and also works within the unique parameters of their being an emerging company.

To quote David Rosenberg, CEO and Co-Founder of AeroFarms, “We also greatly benefited from Dell EMC expert consulting services, which helped us align our business and determine our highest-value analytics use cases.”

I’ve had the pleasure of working with AeroFarms directly and have also co-presented our joint story at industry events including: CIAB 2018 conference in Sao Paulo, Brazil where I presented with Jess Karol, Software Engineer, AeroFarms (pictured) and more recently with Michael Fernandez, Senior Systems Engineer, AeroFarms at the AT&T Summit in Dallas, Texas.

A Collaborative Approach

As with any technology project, IoT, AI and big data analytics solutions must be planned and executed with full orchestration of business needs. Our style of consulting is to develop an architecture and roadmap ‘WITH YOU’ – not ‘FOR YOU’.

Learn more about our services and work at AeroFarms in this new Dell EMC | AeroFarms video.

From Farming Using 95% less Water, to Seeing Millions of Gallons of Water

Iguazu Falls, View from the Brazilian Side

After the conference in Sao Paulo, I was fortunate to spend a fabulous weekend in Iguazu Falls National Park. On the border between Brazil and Argentina, the Iguazu River (translation: “Big Water”) has carved a spectacular gorge with more than 270 waterfalls. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is worthy of the time and effort to visit. My recommendation is to stay on the

Brazilian side of the falls in the fantastic Hotel Belmond, which is within the National Park itself and provides early access to the falls before the park opens. There are convenient flights from major Brazilian cities to the Iguazu airport (Brazil side), which is just minutes from the falls.  An incredible experience not to be missed!

Contact us if you’d like to hear how Dell EMC Consulting can help your organization.

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4-Phase Approach to Overcoming the Challenges of Merger-Driven IT Integration https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/4-phase-approach-to-overcoming-the-challenges-of-merger-driven-it-integration/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/4-phase-approach-to-overcoming-the-challenges-of-merger-driven-it-integration/#respond Thu, 03 Jan 2019 10:00:15 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=37191 In a previous blog, “Why Is Merger-Driven IT Integration Like a Hike in a National Park?,” I wrote about using a merger or acquisition to trigger modernizing IT infrastructure and expanding the use of big data analytics. This blog picks up where I left off and adds greater detail. Recently, I hiked extensively in Zion […]

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Figure 1: Wall Street Canyon, Bryce Canyon National Park

In a previous blog, “Why Is Merger-Driven IT Integration Like a Hike in a National Park?,” I wrote about using a merger or acquisition to trigger modernizing IT infrastructure and expanding the use of big data analytics. This blog picks up where I left off and adds greater detail.

Recently, I hiked extensively in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in southern Utah. I compared the characteristics of mergers and acquisitions to the terrain of the two parks, which have similarities yet striking differences.

At respective park entrances, I stopped at the Visitor Center for advice on which hiking trails to attempt. The helpful rangers first asked consultative questions: How much time did I have? What types of hikes did I wish to undertake? What difficulty level was I prepared to take? Then, we jointly mapped out routes that met my desires.

Planning for the Merger-Driven IT Integration

Just like park rangers, experienced consultants have an important role to play advising companies preparing for and executing a merger. Like park rangers, we’ve already hiked trails of IT integration from mergers and acquisition with many clients. Some of the questions we pose to clients who are undertaking an IT transformation program through a merger or acquisition are similar to the questions a ranger poses prior to a hiker:

  • How much time do you have before the new company launches?
  • What are the most critical systems that need to be ready on day 1?
  • How well-prepared is your team for changes in systems, processes, and roles?

“Never let a good crisis go to waste” has been attributed to Winston Churchill in reference to the conditions after World War II that drove the formation of the United Nations. There is some doubt as to whether he actually used those words, but it certainly sounds like something he would say.

I have repurposed this phrase to “don’t let a merger or acquisition event go to waste – use it to transform.”

Why?

Leveraging Disruption to Drive Progress

You’re already facing disruption due to the merger and integration, so you may as well also leverage this disruption to drive progress towards your “north star” IT service delivery objectives. In short, a merger event provides all the necessary ingredients to implement transformation in an enterprise – not only a short range timeframes (100-day) for the most urgent tasks, but an impetus to map out a multi-year roadmap for modernization and transformation. Getting expert advice from an IT “park ranger” (e.g., a Dell EMC Consulting professional) can provide a seasoned perspective and a second pair of eyes as IT organizations merge. Most importantly, it can provide the opportunity to ‘question everything’ (Euripides).

How?

A recent Gartner report Key IT Challenges in Mergers, Acquisitions and Divestments cites 5 key challenges to IT success with mergers and acquisitions. The table below shows how Dell EMC Consulting addresses each of these challenges.

Abiding by Proven Methodologies

Dell EMC Consulting’s pragmatic experience focuses on delivering value in the ‘just right’ zone of integration and spending (see Figure 1 which plots IT costs vs. various types of merger integrations). Our experience is that it’s easy to overspend by attempting to modernize every IT system, focusing on total integration. It is also easy to underspend by not recognizing the IT challenges during mergers. We bring seasoned advisors to client programs to help develop and achieve results that balance integration with cost. Finally, Dell EMC has proven methodologies based on our own internal Dell (and EMC in the past) experience in acquiring dozens of companies. We can bring this experience to help you!

Figure 3: IT Costs vs. Various Types of Merger Integrations

Summary

Never let a merger, acquisition or divestiture event pass without considering how to effectively modernize and transform the business and IT infrastructure. Just as park rangers provided relevant and knowledgeable advice at Zion and Bryce Canyons, consider Dell EMC Consulting as a valuable partner for your merger planning, 100-day execution and long term integration.

A final note: I hiked more than 14 miles and the equivalent of 102 floors up and back down over 2 days (1 day in each park) and loved every minute!  I came away with a sense of accomplishment (thanks to excellent advice from the park rangers) and deep admiration for some of America’s most beautiful sights.

Learn More about Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Zion National Park 

Bryce Canyon National Park

Fantastic hotel adjacent to Zion National Park – you can literally walk to Zion!

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Why Is Merger-Driven IT Integration Like a Hike in a National Park? https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/why-is-merger-driven-it-integration-like-a-hike-in-a-national-park/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/why-is-merger-driven-it-integration-like-a-hike-in-a-national-park/#respond Wed, 19 Dec 2018 10:00:13 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=37174 How can one compare the similarities and differences of an IT organization’s merger or acquisition with a hike in a National Park? Seems unlikely, but it’s possible! Recently, I hiked extensively in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Southern Utah. Both locations display commonality in rugged terrain and drop-dead scenery (sculpted red rock canyons, […]

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How can one compare the similarities and differences of an IT organization’s merger or acquisition with a hike in a National Park?

Seems unlikely, but it’s possible!

Recently, I hiked extensively in Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Southern Utah. Both locations display commonality in rugged terrain and drop-dead scenery (sculpted red rock canyons, pristine blue sky and evergreen foliage), and provide a blissful state of peace that permeates your soul.

And the differences between locations?

Zion National Park

At Zion, you begin hiking from the floor of the canyon up to the rim. Maximum exertion on the way up! At Bryce, you hike the opposite—from the rim down to the canyon floor. Zion affords much more oxygen for the hiker—the canyon floor is 3,900 feet, and most hikes go up to nearly a mile high. Bryce’s rim is at about 8,000 feet above sea level, making it more difficult for the hiker to breathe.

As I carefully negotiated my way down Bryce, I noted its similarities and differences compared to Zion, prompting me to consider a topic fresh on our minds at Dell EMC Consulting: the similarities and differences in merger-driven IT integrations, and using integration opportunities to modernize IT infrastructure and expand the use of Big Data Analytics. I will elaborate on the similarities and differences in Merger-Driver Integration roadmaps below.

Similarities in the Merger-Driven IT Integration Roadmap

  • Bryce Canyon

    Perform initial merger Integration planning – prepare for ‘Day 1’. This joint activity often has experienced consultants facilitating planning activities.

  • Execute on first 100 Day plan. The merged IT organization drives execution of both external-facing and internal-facing systems changes that are high priority yet relatively low effort to complete.
  • Integrate towards ‘North Star’ – the merged IT organization continues down the roadmap towards a merged to-be state for IT systems and processes.

Differences in the Merger-Driven IT Integration Roadmap

  • Specific integration requirements can change based on rapidly shifting business needs. Even if a company has performed multiple acquisitions in the past, each one comes with new business requirements – and often business units expect IT to ‘just do it’. IT may be expected to drive process integration as well as systems integration – and often IT needs consulting resources to augment their team.
  • Each ‘Newco’ has its own unique requirements for Day 1 branding, web sites, network security and email integration.
  • Quick wins within the first 100 days are always unique – and these are critical in order for IT to demonstrate confidence and competence.
  • Each merger involves large numbers of IT and business personnel – and leadership needs to acknowledge the need to keep everyone engaged in the tasks at hand. Personal executive interactions with key team members to hear concerns and future job prospects is critical. No two resources are alike.

5 Key IT Success Factors in Mergers and Acquisitions

I have lived through many merger/acquisition events – both as an employee and as a consultant advising clients. Here are my top 5 factors to keep in mind as IT organizations prepare for an event:

  • Understand outside dependencies – plan for ‘shadow IT’ that is not within IT’s control. Identify business unit processes for certain IT functions and plan for the merger jointly with the business unit.
  • Two-in-the-box organization structure – on Day 1, use this approach for key leadership positions to enable a successful integration. Over time, this can be phased out to gain merger efficiencies.
  • Continuous flexibility – adopt this mindset to adjust when Day 1 plans change frequently.
  • Don’t strive for perfection – perfection can impede the on-time on-budget delivery of Day 1 solutions.
  • Culture matters – acknowledging and treating culture is a key success factor. Conversely, not considering it can torpedo merger efficiencies and delay IT integration.

Summary

External consultants such as Dell EMC have an important role to play advising companies preparing for and executing a merger. Come back soon for my next blog with an overview of Dell EMC Consulting’s proven solutions portfolio for companies facing mergers, acquisitions and divestitures – and how to leverage the event for true IT Transformation.

Many thanks to Dave Buffo for providing invaluable input to this blog.

Learn More about Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks

Zion National Park 

Bryce Canyon National Park

Fantastic hotel adjacent to Zion National Park – you can literally walk into Zion

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Skepticism at the Top: A Case Study in NFV Deployment https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/skepticism-at-the-top-a-case-study-in-nfv-deployment/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/skepticism-at-the-top-a-case-study-in-nfv-deployment/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2018 09:00:00 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34776 As discussed in my previous blog, Silos Never Die: A Case Study in NFV Deployment, despite considerable investment and effort, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been slow to realize the advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). A recently published white paper, Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment […]

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As discussed in my previous blog, Silos Never Die: A Case Study in NFV Deployment, despite considerable investment and effort, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been slow to realize the advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). A recently published white paper, Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence, identifies major stumbling blocks keeping operators from fully leveraging the agility, dynamic scaling, and efficiency advantages of network virtualization.

In this third CSP NFV and final deployment case study, we look at the role of C-level leadership in NFV program success and how to gain CXO commitment.

Case Study #3: Skepticism at the Top

The IT and Network Operations groups at a large Tier 1 CSP agreed on one thing: a major competitor was close to capitalizing on NFV/SDN and it would take quick, bold action to keep pace.

At the C-level, however, executives were skeptical. They detected a high degree of hype—and risk—in NFV/SDN. Some even predicted that public failure and big cost overruns would be the outcome of their competitor’s ambitious transformation program.

Cautious Tactical Trials

Fearing that problems with a large-scale NFV/SDN deployment had the potential to knock out half of their services, senior executives took a conservative, tactical approach.

Rather than moving forward with a holistic, enterprise transformation strategy, architecture and operating model, they limited NFV to one-node trials, with each virtualized network function thoroughly unit-, module-, regression-, performance- and scale-tested before proceeding to the next.

Focused on the cost savings to be had from separating network function from underlying hardware, the CXOs failed to recognize the need for a new operational model and skill sets to reap the benefits; and slow to fund hiring, training, and/or external consultants.

The IT and Network department teams, working together on the NFV trials, did what they could to manage. IT shared their experience managing virtualized environments with the network group while Linux teams were encouraged to advance trials of open source solutions and increased participation in industry standards groups.

Playing Catch Up

It was only when faced with the very public success of their competitor—including incremental revenue, agility and cost-savings—that CSP senior management changed their approach, approving an aggressive SD-WAN roll-out, funding a formal training program, and moving forward with an initiative to manage distributed virtualized edge network nodes and functions through a common platform.

However, even today, the CSP remains a year or two behind its competitor and has yet to launch a single, strategic program for enterprise-wide conversion to the NFV/SDN model.

Getting CXOs On-board

In our experience, the most difficult and typically unforeseen obstacles to NFV/SDN are operational and organizational—not technical. In this case, IT and Network Operations were on the same page, but the C-level was not. A fundamental transformation of network architecture and operation is not possible without the informed, sustained support (if not leadership) of senior management.

Building the Business Case

Indeed, even with an enthusiastic C-Suite, the first step in developing the right NFV/SDN transformation strategy is building the business case—including ROI and financial modeling in the context of the CSP’s business and objectives. Initially, high-level, single-VNF analysis can be used to justify more detailed, multiple-scenario modeling and sensitivity analyses to more precisely quantify the benefits to be accrued from NFV/SDN deployment.

Because people and process are integral to the successful deployment and operationalization of NFV/SDN, the business case should include an objective assessment of the current organization/operation—compared to the organizational structure, operating model, processes required for NFVi management.

In addition, C-level executives (and, often, Network Operations teams) may require presentations that show how a well-architected and orchestrated NFV/SDN infrastructure can deliver reliability and resiliency that is equal-or-better-than the existing physical network.

First Step on the Roadmap

As the chart below shows, a solid business case provides the foundation for defining next steps in a phased, multi-dimensional roadmap for planning and executing NFV/SDN across people, process and technology.

Dell EMC Methodology for the Transformation Journey

Summary

As our blog series of CSP Case Studies shows, every situation is different. There is no “right” model for deploying NFV/SDN technology—all decisions and options involve trade-offs.

To delve deeper into successful NFV deployments, download the new Dell EMC white paper Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence. Based on research with MST Consulting and Dell EMC experience with than 2,000 successful cloud implementations, the paper describes approaches and methodologies that can help mitigate risk and provide CSPs with a new perspective on the right next step for their company.

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Silos Never Die: A Case Study in NFV Deployment https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-deployment-case-study-silos-never-die/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-deployment-case-study-silos-never-die/#respond Tue, 03 Apr 2018 09:00:46 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34604 As discussed in Failure to Migrate: A Case Study in NFV Deployment, despite considerable investment, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been slow to realize the advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are critical to remaining competitive—especially with new over-the-top (OTT) players entering the market. A recently published white paper, Bridging […]

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As discussed in Failure to Migrate: A Case Study in NFV Deployment, despite considerable investment, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been slow to realize the advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) are critical to remaining competitive—especially with new over-the-top (OTT) players entering the market.

A recently published white paper, Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence, identifies cultural and practical differences between IT and network operations as a major stumbling block keeping operators from fully leveraging the agility, dynamic scaling, and efficiency advantages of network virtualization.

In this, the second in a series of CSP case studies, we look at yet another operator’s experience with NFV deployment and how an architectural approach integrating IT virtualization from the start could have accelerated return investment while keeping future options open.

Case Study #2: From Old Silos to New Silos

This national mobile operator, determined to move forward with NFV, had strong internal core network competencies, but lacked virtualization expertise and experience.

While staff were adept at meeting network service level agreements (SLAs), maintaining network facilities and managing network traffic, they were unfamiliar with:

– Technologies in the virtualization stack

– Designing flow architecture for software-defined networks

– Managing software-defined networks

– Orchestrating workloads across network domains

– DevOps service delivery models

Limited Choice: Niche or Proprietary?

To supplement its in-house expertise, the CSP planned to leverage services and solutions in the “ecosystem” of software-defined network solution and service vendors touted in NFV lab trials, by ETSI, and others.

In practice, however, it discovered its choice of partners was starkly limited to:

  • New suppliers that had delivered innovative technical solutions in the lab or in small scale node-based deployments, but had yet to been proven in large-scale production networks.
  • Traditional network suppliers with the proven capability to deliver production-reliability at scale, but with solutions designed largely around their own products.

Fear of the Unknown

Given network operations reservations about the reliability of software-defined networks, the CSP decided against working with untested smaller companies and opted to partner instead with its existing large network suppliers.

To avoid vendor lock-in, it asked both of its radio access network (RAN) suppliers to virtualize their Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) platform using NFV/SDN. It also directed them to incorporate open system technology into their vEPC solutions to optimize interoperability.

Battle of the New Silos

Unfortunately, what ensued was a battle between vendors and two new silos.

While both suppliers succeeded in delivering vEPC functions that ran on commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) servers, each had virtualized EPC and related applications in a unique way. As a result, each required their own unique orchestrator to manage the virtual network.

Neither vendor could develop an orchestration solution for both platforms.

Recognizing that multiple orchestrators would negate many of the agility and efficiency advantages of NFV, the CSP eventually turned to a third-party provider of a multivendor orchestrator built on open source technology. The CSP also hired and invested in training in its staff to be able to implement and manage the open source virtualization stack.

Bottom line, the CSP is now working to consolidate its vEPC silos into a single platform. The cost savings and automated agility it had expected to gain from its investment in NFV/SDN has not been realized and critical 5G and IoT initiatives have been delayed.

New Ways of Thinking

How might this mobile operator have avoided the complicated and interim step of replacing old hardware platform silos with new virtual platform silos?

The CSP’s initial strategy—to leverage outside expertise to kick start its NFV initiative—was sound, as was its commitment to open source technologies to optimize interoperability.

Their mistake?

To turn to two different traditional network partners who were unable or unwilling to provide vendor independent network choices.

Traditional network vendors will naturally want to deploy virtualized applications and infrastructure based on their own products, but if asked by the customer to provide vendor independent aspects to the implementation, many could accommodate this request. CSPs now have the option to pair their traditional network vendors with open, non-proprietary infrastructure. By doing so, they can now take advantage of a virtual infrastructure that will dynamically and automatically adapt to changing workload demands and unpredictable and varying traffic patterns.

In short, by building upon proven and open infrastructure solutions, they can take a holistic view and architectural approach across physical, virtual and application layers.

Based on our experience working with CSPs on some of the largest NFV deployments in the world, including the largest OpenStack Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) deployment, we recommend an application-driven strategy. Applications, not infrastructure, drive revenue. However, choosing the wrong infrastructure can hamper revenue and increase OpEx.

Therefore, the virtualized network function (VNF) application requirements should drive the definition of a common architecture, infrastructure, and set of tools across both IT and Network Operations.

A composable architecture, with Management and Orchestration layers that mediate between different application requirements, for example, should guide the selection of the right partners to help onboard required VNFs, test and certify the underlying infrastructure, integrate VNFs into OSS/BSS functions, and deploy proof of concept.

By stepping back from the traditional closed and proprietary network viewpoint and implementation to leverage consultative and architectural expertise integrating both legacy network and IT virtualization from the start, this operator could have avoided replacing old silos with new silos—and considerable time and cost delays.

Summary

As CSPs work toward envisioning and executing NFV-based capabilities in their networks to help them conduct business in smarter and more agile ways, look for solutions that bring:

  • Open architecture – offering maximum choice, flexibility and investment protection, without forklift upgrades.
  • Modular systems – with open building blocks enabling mix and match interoperability, up and down the stack.
  • Modern, cloud-centric portfolio – comprising of modern systems and technologies, and supporting the leading Linux and OpenStack distributions plus software options for data plane acceleration and service chaining.
  • Scalable solutions – including systems tailored to your multitude of workloads and designed to grow with your business.

Next time: Skepticism at the Top: A Case Study in NFV Deployment

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Failure to Migrate: A Case Study in NFV Deployment https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-deployment-case-study-failure-migrate/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-deployment-case-study-failure-migrate/#respond Mon, 26 Feb 2018 10:00:12 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34186 As discussed in part one of this blog series, Bridging the Operational Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment, and despite considerable investment, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been slow to realize the advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). NFV and SDN are critical drivers to remaining competitive—especially with new over-the-top (OTT) […]

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As discussed in part one of this blog series, Bridging the Operational Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment, and despite considerable investment, Communications Service Providers (CSPs) have been slow to realize the advantages of Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN). NFV and SDN are critical drivers to remaining competitive—especially with new over-the-top (OTT) players entering the market.

A recently published white paper, Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence, identifies cultural and practical differences between IT and network operations as a major stumbling block keeping operators from fully leveraging the agility, dynamic scaling and efficiency advantages of network virtualization.

In this blog, we take a look at one carrier’s experience and how an agile operational approach can serve to bridge the IT/Network Operations gap and accelerate return on NFV/SDN investment.

NFV Deployment Case Study #1: Failure to Migrate

This European-based Tier 1 multinational CSP, with operations in 20+ countries, set out to be an early adopter of NFV.

The CTO began by creating an overlay organization of IT and network experts to develop an enterprise NFV strategy. The integrated team lab-tested NFV and management and network orchestration (MANO) solutions from multiple suppliers and selected a single IT services partner to help them implement a common environment in regional data centers and deploy their selected NFV infrastructure (NFVi) and MANO solutions across all of its operating companies.

Within the regional data centers (where virtualization concepts were understood) the transition to NFVi went smoothly. Network engineers in the operating companies, however, struggled with separating network functions from the underlying physical hardware—as evidenced by questions such as: “If a function experiences a fault, how do we know which server or storage device to check?”

Faced with network engineering mistrust in the virtual ability to automatically shift capacity to whichever functions need it, the CTO permitted each operating company to opt for either the fully virtualized solution or a “hybrid” model, in which the IMS application platform was virtualized, but physical capacity was dedicated to specific functions.

With each operating company essentially dictating the configuration it wanted, including custom software, the CSP was unable to realize the benefits of automation across the enterprise. Not only did the fragmented solution take more than two years to deploy, project costs were much higher, due to both extensive vendor customization services and dedicated hardware capacity.

Today, with resources continuing to focus on non-critical elements rather than close-to-the-customer applications, the CSP is still pursuing full NFV transformation and currently implementing industry standard operating models with sufficient assurance measures to satisfy the network side.

How Might All of this Have Gone Differently?

In our experience, many of the open standards and “service-centric” lessons learned through maturation of IT virtualization and IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) enablement over the past decade can be leveraged to help CSPs drive the people, process and technology transformation needed to succeed with NFV/SDN.

For example, the CSP could have avoided bifurcation of its NFV deployment by applying the ETSI NFV framework to architecturally separate each network vendor’s “appliance” into:

  • Infrastructure (NFVi) – Compute, storage, networking
  • Network function (VNF) – Application layer to provide customer configuration and execute the network function
  • Management software (MANO) – Allows operation and management of the layers

Another recommendation would have been to build on the CSPs existing IT-side as-a-service capabilities and the consumer-centric organizational structure, processes and closed feedback loops of today’s mature IT Service Centers to create an agile NFV Service Center as illustrated below.

Additionally, this CSP could have looked to build upon a pre-validated NFV infrastructure platform, such as the Dell EMC NFV Ready Bundles for VMware and/or Red Hat. These bundles are designed to simplify deployments by removing the complexities of NFV frameworks. Ultimately, they will reduce the overall cost of production and accelerate time to revenue.

Dell EMC Agile NFV Service Center Organizational Model

 

By combining the strengths of both its Network and IT organizations in a new service-oriented organization, the CSP could drive people and process changes that shift focus from infrastructure to services and applications, as well as to put a structure in place to manage the ongoing modification/build of services and operations to meet business and consumer needs.

To read more about this and other case studies—as well as about Dell EMC NFV consulting services that can help drive the holistic people, process and technology transformation necessary for NFV/SDN success, read the whitepaper, Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence.

Next Time:  Silos Never Die: A Case Study in NFV Deployment

 


Today’s Travel Tip

Know how to reach your airline regarding complaints!

With so many travel challenges and service failures these days by travel providers (particularly airlines), I have found it helpful to be quite vocal to their respective customer service organizations via email.  In addition, airlines and other travel providers generally monitor twitter and other social media to respond to customer issues.

Some helpful hints in raising issues:

  1. Be specific – list the specific flight number, date and issue.
  2. Be insistent – point out your frequent flier number and status.
  3. Be rigorous – keep a log of everyone you talked to with names (and their corresponding call center city), dates and what they said.
  4. Be flexible yet aggrieved – ask for compensation in the form of either credits, travel vouchers or miles/points.
  5. Escalate – if all of the above fails, consider the old standby- a ‘snail mail’ letter to the CEO of the company at their corporate headquarters (all located via searching the internet, not necessarily their website).

Most major airlines have forms on their website you can complete. In addition, many such as United and Lufthansa provide additional direct email addresses (e.g., customer.relations@united.com, customer.relations@lufthansa.com) which can prove fruitful in getting results. Good luck!

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Bridging the Operational Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/bridging-operational-gap-accelerate-nfv-deployment/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/bridging-operational-gap-accelerate-nfv-deployment/#respond Wed, 07 Feb 2018 10:00:17 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=34043 New case study-based white paper offers valuable insights for CSPs on accelerating NFV deployment and achieving operational excellence. Welcome to the first of a 4-part blog series on NFV deployments.The blogs will provide additional perspective on our newly released white paper, which brings the operational challenges of NFV deployments to life through three real-world examples – […]

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New case study-based white paper offers valuable insights for CSPs on accelerating NFV deployment and achieving operational excellence.

Welcome to the first of a 4-part blog series on NFV deployments.The blogs will provide additional perspective on our newly released white paper, which brings the operational challenges of NFV deployments to life through three real-world examples – detailing both where they went awry and how applying a new agile methodology would have mitigated it. I encourage you to check it out.

In 2016, AT&T Labs predicted that adopting Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Software Defined Networking (SDN) would save the company a whopping 40-50% in OPEX in coming years.

One year into its 3-year journey to virtualize 75% of its network by 2020, the company reports significant cost savings – and that’s not all. Some 1,700 businesses are using new AT&T FlexWare NFV/SDN devices and services to set up multiple Virtual Network Functions (VNFs), such as bandwidth management, virtual routers, firewalls, and other security applications on AT&T’s managed network.

Not Just a Business Opportunity—Business Survival

Like AT&T, mobile and fixed-line Communications Service Providers (CSPs) are investing in NFV/SDN to reduce CAPEX and OPEX and enable new kinds of revenue-producing services. In fact, SNS Research estimates that CSP NFV/SDN investments will rise to nearly $22 Billion by the end of 2020.

But the business case of NFV/SDN goes beyond top- and bottom-line improvements. As the following chart illustrates, CSP business survival depends on quick migration to a new business and cost models capable of delivering new kinds of added-value, on-demand services at web scale. In short, CSPs must emulate cloud service provider models to be able to compete against them and other emerging market entrants.

Why NFV/SDN?

With NFV/SDN, CSPs can leverage agility, dynamic scaling, and efficiency advantages similar to those that have been realized in IT through infrastructure virtualization and software-defined technologies.

Operators gain the flexibility to efficiently shift network capacity to where it is most needed, in order to deliver the new kinds of services that customers are demanding. It enables CSPs to keep pace with rapidly evolving technologies, by allowing changes to underlying infrastructure without impacting customer experience.

Arrested Deployment

Despite the compelling business case and investments in NFV/SDN to-date, CSPs have been slow to reap expected benefits. Often the trouble is in moving from proof-of-concept and lab evaluations into field trials and commercial deployments.

Research outlined in a new white paper on accelerating NFV deployment finds that a major obstacle to the successful deployment of dynamic, software-controlled network functions has been operational – specifically, legacy domain- and node-based silos of IT and network management that lack the service-oriented processes, skillsets and organizational structures and metrics to successfully deploy and operate NFV/SDN.

Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap

Having personally, in my past professional life, led both Network Operations responsible for core network functions – and IT Operations responsible for the IT systems that network organizations depend on – I can attest that:

  • Successful NFV/SDN service operations require both IT and network expertise, applied in new ways
  • NFV/SDN operations challenge both: traditional IT operations and traditional network operations
  • The gap between IT and network operations is both practical and cultural – each is accustomed to dealing with different kinds of workloads/applications, resiliency mechanisms, regulatory requirements and ecosystems (e.g., (OSS/BSS vs. ERP); and each perceives that the other “goes about things in the wrong way”

Read All About It

To delve deeper into these issues – and learn about agile approaches to operating model transformation critical to NFV/SDN success – I invite you to download our new Dell EMC white paper Bridging the IT/Network Operations Gap to Accelerate NFV Deployment and Achieve Operational Excellence

Based on research with MST Consulting and Dell EMC experience with than 2,000 successful cloud implementations, the paper describes methodologies that can mitigate CSP challenges and includes NFV case studies that can help CSPs avoid missteps and gain a new perspective on the right next step for their company.

Next time:  Failure to Migrate: A Case Study in NFV Deployment

 


Today’s Travel Tip

For those headed to Barcelona, here are my top 4 must-see sights:

  • La Sagrada Familia – Gaudi’s spectacular basilica that has been under construction since 1882
  • The Gothic Quarter with the Barcelona Cathedral
  • Picasso Museum – also in the Gothic Quarter
  • Las Ramblas – for shopping, restaurants or just people watching

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NFV Operating Models – How to Mix Oil and Water (also known as IT Operations and Network Operations) https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-operating-models-it-operations-network-operations/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/nfv-operating-models-it-operations-network-operations/#comments Fri, 20 Jan 2017 10:00:26 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29950 Network Function Virtualization (NFV) brings the concept of a common, virtualized infrastructure (now prevalent in most Telecom IT shops) to the core network.  Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) such as Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) will operate on a robust, highly available infrastructure. I explored the myths and realities of NFV in my blog last month. […]

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Network Function Virtualization (NFV) brings the concept of a common, virtualized infrastructure (now prevalent in most Telecom IT shops) to the core network.  Virtualized Network Functions (VNFs) such as Virtual Evolved Packet Core (vEPC) will operate on a robust, highly available infrastructure. I explored the myths and realities of NFV in my blog last month.

Today, I want to focus on an often-overlooked question: “Who will operate the VNFs and NFV infrastructure? IT or Network?”

This topic is hugely important – for a variety of reasons.  Furthermore, it is an extremely sensitive and political debate dealing with organizational roles and responsibilities – especially in this age of downsizing.   Obviously, a blend of both organizations could be a straightforward solution.  Yet, perceptions have developed in each organization that could inhibit this blend – just as oil and water won’t mix.

And I won’t even try to compare this situation to worldwide politics (Conservatives vs. Liberals, etc.) – but the analogy is similar.  Any analysis to prepare to answer this question must begin with an understanding of the aforementioned long standing perceptions.

While at AT&T, I ran several network operations organizations responsible for core network functions in the Northern California area plus Hawaii.  While at Verizon, I was Group CIO for Network Systems – responsible for development and operations of IT systems that supported Verizon’s network organization.  Based on the above, I have experienced both sides of the debate.  Here’s just one example comparison that outlines the major perceptions:

Area Network’s Perception of IT Operations IT’s Perception of Network Operations
Availability/Keeping systems up IT doesn’t run anywhere close to 5 nines availability – how can they run an NFV infrastructure? 5 nines availability is not the issue – the key is developing management and orchestration procedures to keep virtual machines and VNFs operating to meet the demand.  Network doesn’t have experience in this approach.

How do you overcome such deep-seated perceptions and design an organizational approach that will be successful in operating NFV?  Dell EMC has excellent experience here.  A few excerpts from an upcoming white paper on this topic are next.

Considerations to design a blended organization to operate NFV (Partial List):

  • Involve both organizations in the planning activity.
  • Hire an independent consultant to help design the ‘to-be’ organizations. Dell EMC Professional Services has deep experience in performing these types of projects.  Our heritage in virtualized infrastructure coupled with our Telecom Network experience bridges the gaps and builds instant credibility with your teams.
  • Both Network and IT operations organizations have similar processes and functions – start with grouping similar functions.
  • Apply ‘-as-a-Service’ mindsets to the project. This includes modernizing processes to enable significant self-service and automatic management and orchestration for NFV and corresponding VNFs.

Final thoughts:

  • There is no “right” answer – all choices involve trade-offs. The best approach is to ask “what is the right approach for my company right now?”
  • Multiple viable options can exist – depending on the current state of operations in both entities
  • Balance structural changes and accountability with process efficiency
  • Choices don’t have to be permanent. It’s ok to design a roadmap that is an evolution rather than a flash cut and/or radical answer that may further harden divisions between Network and IT organizations.

Want more details on how to successfully mix oil and water?  Please contact me to receive an upcoming Dell EMC white paper with our complete approach to this dilemma.

Don’t miss: Make sure to check-out my recent blog series and whitepaper focused on NFV Deployment.

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!

 


Today’s Travel Tip:   Where to hike when visiting Las Vegas

Just heard that Dell EMC World (Bigger and Better!) is confirmed for May, 2017 in Las Vegas.

This event will showcase Dell EMC solutions and include our Telecom portfolio of Products and Services.

I know that the schedule is jam packed with speakers, seminars and evening activities, but there are at least two hiking trails nearby for those of you desiring an outdoor adventure.  The following are my personal experiences – try one or both!

    1. Just an hour’s drive from the Las Vegas strip is Red Rock Canyon. http://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/.
      This state park provides easy access to spectacular red bluffs and desert flora and fauna (e.g. Tortoise).  You can drive the loop entirely or stop and take one of several loop trails.  Bring water and snacks.  Total time needed (hotel door to door) is 3-4 hours.
    2. For the more adventurous, try the Mary Jane Falls Trail in the Spring Mountains Recreation Area which includes Mount Charleston. .
      This challenging trail starts at about 7800 feet above sea level and goes up from there to almost 9000 feet above sea level.  About 3 miles out and back, or more than 1.5 hours round trip.  Great views of the mountains and valleys – and yes there are two falls at the end (top) of the trail.  Bring water, snacks and a sweatshirt.  Closest restaurant is Mt. Charleston Resort for a solid meal. Total time needed (hotel door to door) is 4-5 hours.

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Network Function Virtualization (NFV) – Myth or Reality? https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/network-function-virtualization-myth-reality/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/network-function-virtualization-myth-reality/#respond Mon, 02 Jan 2017 10:00:30 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29873 Top of mind for most Telecom, Cable and Service Providers these days is Network Function Virtualization, or NFV.  Is it the elusive unicorn, never to be found?  Or, are the benefits real? What should a Service Provider be doing today – to achieve the promised benefits in the future?  Let’s take a closer look. The […]

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Top of mind for most Telecom, Cable and Service Providers these days is Network Function Virtualization, or NFV.  Is it the elusive unicorn, never to be found?  Or, are the benefits real? What should a Service Provider be doing today – to achieve the promised benefits in the future?  Let’s take a closer look.

The Evolution to Network Function Virtualization (NFV)

Service Provider networks need to evolve toward an IT-like infrastructure to meet the needs of diverse applications and to compete with emerging competitors.  This requires a holistic storage, compute and network solution.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and its cousin Software Defined Networks (SDN) are the tools to make this transition, and they provide the following:

  1. Programmability of resources
  2. Open-ness
  3. Virtualized network functions for greater competition and operational scalability
  4. Multivendor/multidomain/multilayer control
  5. Abstracted applications for a faster innovation cycle

This is an evolution, not an overlay – a Service Provider’s embedded network infrastructure needs to coexist and migrate. For more on NFV and SDN I recommend reading my Stu Bennington’s blog, What are NFV and SDN, and why should I care?

Service Providers need to have options for in-house solutions (functionality and reliability) and also open source/ecosystems (abstraction = choice, COTS = web-speed upgrades and economies of scale).

In short, NFV dramatically changes a Service Provider’s network from a traditional architecture where hardware, storage and network infrastructure is bundled tightly with Network Functions – all provided by Network Equipment Manufacturers.

OSS BSS

The architecture above provides an overview showing how Network Equipment Manufacturers offered complete racks of equipment to deliver a Network Function.

OSS BSS 2

Figure 2 shows the NFV approach – enabling Network Functions to benefit from the same virtualization technology that has become commonplace in IT application architectures today.

Network Function Virtualization (NFV): Myth or Reality?

To answer this question, consider the following:

  • Many major Service Providers have selected an NFV architecture, are currently identifying key elements of their planned ecosystem and are conducting lab trials/proofs of concept.
  • However, an equal number of Service Providers are aware of the concept and potential benefits but do not have specific plans.

Furthermore, the target benefits of NFV implementation can vary significantly based on the answers to three key questions:

  • Which function / element do you virtualize? (drives potential CAPEX savings)Example: Router, Switch, EPC, RRH, Firewall, DNS, Management Systems
  • How do you implement orchestration in a multi-vendor, multi-domain environment? (drives potential OPEX savings)Example: Virtual CPE Service, Service chaining
  • Do you implement robust application-driven programmability? (drives potential new revenue opportunities)Example: VNF-FG association with dedicated bearers/QCIs, mobile video local cache

Dell EMC’s experience is that NFV is rapidly transitioning from Myth to Reality.  However, Telecom service providers may erroneously move through development of the technology without truly having a clear business case, leading to missteps, and delays.

How We Help

Dell EMC’s approach to helping Telecom service providers realized the benefits of NFV follows a pragmatic and business-focused path.  It begins with a Network and Services Virtualization Workshop.  This Workshop gets everyone on the same page with respect to NFV opportunities and explores initial use cases that are the highest priority to implement.

Next, we recommend an onsite test of NFV infrastructure technology coupled with at least one VNF vendor for the highest priority use case identified in the prior Workshop.

The final step in launching a successful journey to NFV involves developing a solid business case and ROI that can be shared with executive management.  The business case must take a holistic approach to Operating Expense and Capital Expense – not just an initial one time cost of implementing NFV.

Want more details on how to successfully begin your NFV journey from Myth to Reality?  Please contact me!

 Next Up:  NFV Operating Models – How to Mix Oil and Water (also known as IT Operations and Network Operations)

Also, make sure to check-out my recent blog series and whitepaper focused on NFV Deployment.

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!


Today’s Travel Tip:   For those going to Mobile World Congress, Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona makes a lasting impression on all who visit.

It has been more than 9 months since I visited the Sagrada Familia during Mobile World Congress in 2016.  It is a spectacular Basilica in Barcelona that was designed by Antoni Gaudi starting in 1882.  Construction has taken more than 130 years and will not be complete until 2026 at the earliest.  Art critic Rainer Zerbst said “It is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art”.

It continues to make a profound impression on me as I review my attempts to photograph its immense scale and beauty.  Anyone going to Barcelona must visit! More details can be found at http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/.  I plan to visit again during MWC 2017!

Barcelona

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It’s Back: Telecom Merger Mania – The Top Ten Ways to Use Big Data in Mega Mergers https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/top-ten-ways-use-big-data-mega-mergers/ https://infocus.dellemc.com/laddie_suk/top-ten-ways-use-big-data-mega-mergers/#comments Tue, 20 Dec 2016 10:00:28 +0000 https://infocus.dellemc.com/?p=29784 With AT&T’s announced merger with Time Warner, Verizon’s announced acquisition of Yahoo’s network business plus XO’s fiber network, Windstream’s plans to purchase Earthlink and CenturyLink’s announced purchase of Level 3, the Telecom Industry’s merger mania is back with a vengeance – over $127B in deals announced in the past 8 months.  And more are likely […]

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With AT&T’s announced merger with Time Warner, Verizon’s announced acquisition of Yahoo’s network business plus XO’s fiber network, Windstream’s plans to purchase Earthlink and CenturyLink’s announced purchase of Level 3, the Telecom Industry’s merger mania is back with a vengeance – over $127B in deals announced in the past 8 months.  And more are likely on the way.

Taking a closer look at the largest merger (and likely the most controversial) – AT&T’s CEO states its merger with Time Warner is designed to “get the most content to the most people at the lowest prices delivered on any screen, particularly mobile.”

Many, including my hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, support this ‘Vertical’ merger.  In an October 24, 2016 editorial it stated “Trends in the digital world are moving in the direction of giving more options to consumers, not fewer. Good.”

Both AT&T’s CEO as well as The Chicago Tribune’s editorial agree on one thing:  The merger is designed to enable AT&T to compete head-to-head with cable operators using 5G technology – and it aims to disrupt long-established distribution channels.

But how do you make these mergers successful?  Certainly vertical mergers may have greater challenges than horizontal mergers.  Vertical mergers are geared to provide new and interesting bundles and services to customers – to satisfy their appetite for content and bandwidth.

Yet, even the FCC has recently weighed in with proposed rules to require Internet Service Providers to ask permission of their customers to collect and use personal information such as Web browsing history.

So how do you design the right bundles of services that will be attractive to customers when you are hamstrung by such onerous FCC regulations?

Job 1 is to turn this restriction into an advantage:  Promise your customers a bevy of benefits if they allow access to this information and use it – both anonymously to help design new services as well as specifically to help improve a customer’s individual service.

With the above as a backdrop, here are my Top Ten Ways to Use Big Data in Mega Mergers:

  1. Suggest new content based on a customer’s mobile viewing habits, with a preference to content produced by internal business units. For Example: Verizon offering content from The Huffington Post.
  1. Automate the suggestion of new content based on a customer’s mobile application usage, such as location and recent purchases via mobile apps.
  1. Leverage data analytics to identify and upsell customers to customized usage plans as they approach monthly plan limits.
  1. Provide customized choices, content and service options in real time to your high value customers as determined by their total lifetime value across an entire vertically-integrated business. For Example: AT&T offering customized bundles to DirecTV customers based on customer longevity.
  1. Develop new offers focused on micro-segmentation of customers – also across an entire vertically-integrated business
  1. Provide upgraded ‘white glove’ customer care in case of network problems for your high value customers. One example of ‘white glove’ service is a proactive notification to a high value customer of an immediate credit to their account within seconds of a dropped wireless call or data connection.
  1. Provide more customized options in real-time for consumer credits in case of network problems for high-value customers. Examples could be a wide range of choices from (standard) bill credits to customized options of free upgrades to high usage tiers, free music downloads or a free episode of a favorite show.  The last three options would be customized to their specific recent usage history.
  1. Implement Item 6 above to reduce Operating Expense (Opex). The proactive, automatic treatment of high value customers reduces calls to your call centers by 15% – and correspondingly reduces your Opex.
  1. Implement an integrated application infrastructure for rapid and low cost establishment of the Big Data analytic environments needed to support items 1-8.
  1. Implement an integrated IT service catalog (with easy provisioning of Big Data sandboxes, for example) plus a standardized, modern operating model. In this way, businesses within the merged company can continue to choose and pay for IT services that they need – but efficiencies lead to an overall lower Opex.

Okay, so the last two items are not strictly Big Data – but they provide a foundation for the rapid implementation of Big Data analytics environments necessary for items 1-8.  Dell EMC’s experience in working with clients that once you’ve identify the right use cases for analytics the biggest challenges for Big Data projects is the rapid access to analytics environments and data sources to ingest.

Everything I mentioned above is pragmatic and achievable with a solution of Big Data Analytics operating on data ingested from many sources within a Telecom company as well as external sources plus actions taken on an individual customer basis.  In addition, transformation of the disparate IT infrastructures and operating models lead to significant Opex and Capex savings for the enterprise.  And many of the above techniques are already in production around the world using Dell EMC solutions.

Want more information on how to grow revenue and reduce Opex and Capex with the above techniques?  Please contact me!

Next Up:  Network Function Virtualization – Myth or Reality?

I hope you will join me and will pass on the link to your friends and networks. Please … subscribe, send me feedback, and check back for the next installment. If nothing else, I promise the Travel Tips will be extremely useful!

Today’s Travel Tip: Vacation in Puerto Rico – For American’s (like me) it’s like going to a foreign country, excepts it is not (a foreign country, that it), and for the international traveler it is a hidden gem. 

  • Great beaches all around
  • Old San Juan has plenty for any history buff
  • The average temperature is 70-80F (or 21-26C)
  • There is an endless supply of rum
  • For Telecommunication geeks and movie buffs, take a ride to the Arecibo Radio Telescope Observatory – and take the ‘VIP Tour’ if it is offered. Even if it is not, you’ll enjoy seeing and learning about the cutting edge science that takes place here.  It’s much more than what was shown in the 007 movie GoldenEye.  I had a great time –as shown in the photo below.

laddie

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