FEATURE: Understand - Redesign - Implement

Understand - Redesign - Implement
Narus' Jay Thomas explians how Wireless and wireline carriers need to adjust their strategies as the industry moves to IP networks.

Today's incumbent telecommunications carriers are concerned and confused about how to address the fundamental changes occurring within the telecommunications industry. These changes, like IP and VoIP, have taken over the world, and with them, disaggregating transport from application. In the IP world, "connectivity" does not mean "application provider"--the applications can be anywhere in the world. Carriers must understand what business they want (or can) be in, reinvent themselves, and then do it. It seems simple, yet many carriers haven't even begun to address the change, and many who have don't understand what to change.

Changes happen everyday in business. We are used to it. Change is good!  While there are a lot of books out there that tell you how to approach change, the process is the same: Understand where you are and where you want (or need) to be, understand your process (or lack thereof) and how it needs to change, and then implement and monitor.  Understand - Redesign - Implement.

How should carriers address their change? First they must recognize that IP is the connectivity of the future. Start understanding your IP traffic today. It may not be mature, but it already has a personality and direction. Get a "total network view" of what traffic your customers are creating, what services they are using, and where they are going to get those services. If you don't understand usage, you will never build a plan to get there. VoIP may not be a big use of your network today, but with the simple knowledge of how much there is currently and by measuring growth, you can determine when it would make sense to consider offering a VoIP service. And while you are looking at the traffic, find out who those early adopters are using. You have all the market data in your networks--mine it and use it.

Build a plan for where you want your business to go. Will you be a carrier, or a carrier that offers applications? Remember that the Internet is one big, level playing field. If you are going to offer a service, understand that customers may not want to use yours.

If you do implement an application, look at the usage and understand how much of the total market you have; remember that market is not limited to your connected customers. Play the whole field, not just customers who use your connectivity. Watch your traffic, tune your plan. Look for new opportunities and trends. Your customers are your best market data - learn from them. And remember the past, when a owning the connectivity meant a monopoly on service. It won't revert to the days of old, but use the advantage of connectivity to create packages; packed offering, security, one bill and every trick you used before. Learn from the past.

Grab hold of the changes in the telecommunications industry, understand what is happening and look at how you want to play in this new landscape. Use your customers to learn, use the marketing of the past to win and track that data. And if you think this doesn't pertain to wireless carriers, think again: Change doesn't differentiate.

Jay Thomas is Vice President, Product Marketing, at Narusexplains.