• Dean Ramsay

Netcracker 2020: empowering CSPs to make significant transformational steps

For the majority of the communication service providers I work with, digital transformation continues to be a hugely daunting undertaking and in recent years we have seen many examples of CSPs backing away from their original ambitions due to the real-world problems involved. Of course no two service providers are the same, but there are many common roadblocks that we see again and again in the industry: implementing the right cloud strategy, developing complex new partner and value chain arrangements, having the right systems and processes in place to be highly responsive to new market opportunities, deploying advanced new communications technology paradigms, effective security, fully automating existing processes and harmonizing new IT with old.

These large-scale transformations projects are in truth, a complex series of smaller, more discreet interlinking projects and approaching CSP evolution in this way is where the new Netcracker 2020 leverages the company’s experience not only as a software vendor with a broad range of BSS/OSS systems, but as a professional services company. The Netcracker 2020 portfolio can be seen in essence as a map of those industry macro transformations broken down into components, and a series of interlocking products and service solutions mapped to each of those challenges. The wide breadth of solutions from Netcracker 12 has been retained but redesigned, to a more simplified modular architecture developed under the ongoing feedback from DevOps, and there are now several new feature sets with a renewed focus on security frameworks and digital business enablement across the portfolio.

Here we look as few of the macro challenges faced by service providers and how Netcracker 2020 has been built to specifically overcome them.

The CSP evolution to cloud-native, microservices and DevOps

The move to the cloud has been slow for many operators, with many early experiences of hosting traditional on-prem software systems in a private cloud resulting in few benefits and several new operational problems. For several years now Netcracker has been very vocal about its commitment to modernize the way CSP software is developed, delivered and continually improved. As such, the full Netcracker 2020 portfolio is built to be cloud native with a microservices-based architecture with continuous release using Agile/DevOps processes. The company now has partnerships in place with Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure, plus their own Netcracker Cloud to offer a wide variety of multicloud strategy options.

A perfect example of this is the recently announced deal with A1 Telekom Austria Group using Netcracker’s multitenant, cloud-based resource inventory solution. The operator needed a cloud-based solution to take advantage of dynamic scaling options and the ability to quickly launch new services and capabilities - including 5G services - consistently across four different country markets, while maintaining consistency and centralized master control.

Digital consumer lifestyle enablement

Becoming a central player in the digital consumer economy is a steep mountain to climb for many mature telcos, due to their core businesses being built over decades specifically to deliver simple communications services. The completeness of the Netcracker 2020 portfolio is a key differentiator here, allowing a two-speed approach with everything that is needed to set up digital services lines of business, while leveraging the CSPs existing communications infrastructure and allowing them to reengage with their customer base through a modernized BSS deployment, while transforming and driving greater efficiencies into their existing core communications business.

The interoperability of BSS/OSS architectures can become a tangible competitive advantage for a CSP’s digital business. Automating intelligent workflows through the BSS, down through the OSS into network requires a level of detailed data management and orchestration that was not previously needed in telecoms, and consequently is rarely possible with legacy systems and processes. In the complex digital partner environments of the 2020s CSPs need to be able to interact with partners from other industries in a fully automated fashion through standardized APIs. Enabling this has obviously been a key goal for Netcracker with this release.

5G and next-generation mobility

The complex RAN conversations surrounding 5G have often obscured the more important subject of service-level management and orchestration and ultimately how CSPs can effectively monetize 5G-specific services. Netcracker of course has many MNO customers currently rolling out 5G and have consequently baked 5G specific requirements into its BSS/OSS products for this new release. This can be seen in convergent revenue management for 5G for dynamic distributed charging architectures and rating designed for network slicing scenarios, in edge cloud operations and orchestration, for slice management and service-centric and intent-based MANO.

Driving hyper-automation within service providers

Many of Telecoms Tracker’s CSP surveys are focused on how automated operators are and at what rate this automation is increasing. Today in Western Europe CSPs estimate that only 40% of BSS/OSS processes that could be fully automated actually are, which presents a real issue for competitive digital service operations and customer experience expectations in the 5G era. Netcracker 2020 has evidently been designed to significantly boost automation and while doing so, build intelligent decision making into the process with AI-powered analytics. This is the natural extension of Netcracker’s active involvement with the way the industry adopted NFV/SDN over the last half decade, creating end-to-end lifecycle management paths from the business intelligence in Netcracker Digital BSS, down to the xNF management in the network.

Check out Netcracker's own press release and portfolio details here: #Netcracker2020

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