Alex Zhang, president of the carrier software business unit at Huawei, advised operators to be bold in their transformation initiatives, noting that “if your vision is to get a Ferrari, you cannot just replace the tires, suspension or engine on your existing car”.
The executive said that a “big bang” transformation can provide the necessary foundations to accelerate digitisation, enabling agile operations and process optimisation.
Speaking in a keynote presentation, Zhang noted strengths and weaknesses with alternative paths. An “add-on” strategy, where legacy systems are modernised with new modules, provides quick wins for short-term needs, it is only a partial solution, and there is a risk of fragmentation.
And a standalone deployment, with a new stack created in parallel to the legacy, enables new services and platforms, at the expense of an inconsistent experience across services and additional capex and/or opex.
But undertaking a big bang is also not without its issues, with Zhang stating that “this approach needs strong governance and strong commitment from the executives from the operator and even from the solution provider side. It needs all departments to be involved.”
“Many operators are hesitating, because they think that it takes a long time to achieve. But we found that if the project is well structured and well governed, a big-bang transformation can be done within 12 months,” he said.
The executive also said that operators need new tools and methodologies to assess progress in the digital transformation. Huawei has worked with industry partners to develop its Digital Maturity Model & Metrics (DM3), to measure the readiness, progress and achievements of a digital transformation.
This takes into account a number of factors, including strategy, governance and customer experience.
“We hope this Model will be continuously evolved, with a lot of contribution of operators planning to do transformations with us,” Zhang said.