FROM TM FORUM LIVE, NICE, FRANCE: Atul Purohit, principal enterprise architect at Vodafone Group, expressed frustration with a perceived lack of speed among vendors to support more rapid digital transformation and virtualisation processes at global telecoms operators.

Purohit (pictured, left), who is one of the architects leading Vodafone’s software-defined networking (SDN) and network functions virtualisation (NFV) transformation programme called Ocean, said “the urgency is not there”, with vendors still trying to sell boxes and proprietary solutions to operators.

Although there are signs mindsets are changing, there is growing impatience at operators to transform how they buy hardware and software, and also how software is “consumed” within the business.

For Purohit, who was speaking to Mobile World Live at the event, one primary area of focus is persuading vendors to move more quickly towards bridging the gap between traditional IT and “cloud-native applications” – in other words, providing software made for the cloud.

Another focus is to try and come up with a standard for virtual network functions (VNF) onboarding (“to automate the entire lifecycle of a virtual function from procurement and onboarding to testing and validation, deployment, configuration and assurance,” according to the TM Forum).

At TM Forum Live, Vodafone is involved in a number of proof-of-concept Catalyst projects including Enabling the Digital Marketplace, which focuses on driving industry-wide adoption of a metamodel and standardised metadata which will enable same day onboarding of a virtualised function. At present, this process can take up to 24 weeks.

In terms of Vodafone Ocean, Purohit said the reference architecture is in place and the 26 markets within the group are now at various stages of adoption and implementation.

“I see optimism in the industry,” said Purohit, when asked about the progress operators are making with the digitalisation of their own structures. “We will see a lot of dust before we settle down. But it’s a journey worth taking.”

– Anne Morris, contributing reporter to Mobile World Live