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Telco service operators: Transforming towards digital business

On February 22-25th, the 2016 Mobile World Congress was held in Barcelona, Spain. Leading global operators, standards organizations, open source communities, analyst institutions, partners and media outlets gathered to discuss the future development of the Telco industry. A key theme of Huawei Services was “ Telco Service Operators – Transforming towards Digital Business”, that is to say “Building the Capabilities and Operating Model required to deliver the ROADS Experience, by Re-architecting Operations and Infrastructure, through Digital Technologies”. To support this, Huawei formally launched the Open ROADS Community to act as the incubator for the ICT transformation best practice.

There are massive opportunities for operators in the digital era. The hot emerging digital businesses that operators are talking about include video, cloud services, Internet of Things (IoT), and Smart Cities. These, and other developments, will lead to 100 billion connections in 2025. The more connections there are, the more data are consumed. If handled correctly, these new digital services will easily compensate for operators’ loss of revenue from their traditional voice and messaging businesses.

The rapid evolution of the internet into a primarily mobile platform has significantly changed user behaviors. They now expect digital services to be seamlessly available anytime, anywhere, and on any device. As a result, we believe that operators must be able to deliver the ROADS experience to stay competitive – that is their services must be Real-time, On-demand, All-online, Do It Yourself, and Social. Support of these exciting new trends requires businesses to undergo technology transformation, which in turn requires that the ICT industry must undergo profound changes to remain as an engine for advancement and modernization.

During the operators’ business transformation, key obstacles to progress are mindset and operating model. Operators must adopt a comprehensive customer experience mindset if they are to remain successful. Right now, there is still a large gap between the experience delivered by operators and that of the leading internet companies. For example, in China, operators offer 100Mb/s 4G service, yet users still have to go to the customer service centre in person and generally queue for at least half an hour to upgrade their plan. As experience becomes the driving force for new business growth, operators must expand their experience focus from networks to end-users and services. To deliver the ROADS experience which people are now demanding, operators need to transform from a network centric to a customer-centric operating model.

Experience drives re-architecting of operations and infrastructure, and ultimately reflects the business outcome of the transformation.


Experience has become the primary driver for retaining users and increasing the user lifetime value. In future, from the end-user’s point of view, there will be no difference between the services provided by operators and those provided by the internet companies. Consequently, the operators must start to deliver a much better customer experience or they will not be able to compete with the great experience that many internet companies provide.

Based on over 30 successful deliveries and five years of progressive development, HUAWEI SmartCare® CEM helps operators to achieve service operations excellence, monetizing the improvements both internally and externally. One recent development is the introduction of Omni-channel management capabilities which allow the operator to quickly respond to market competition and user requirements, exploiting users’ favorite channels to promote personalized services. Another exciting development is the possibility for operators to expand from infrastructure provider to become a Smart City integrator, delivering the ROADS experience to businesses and citizens when they access city services.


Operations interlock the ROADS experience with the ICT infrastructure. However, the change of operating models has not yet been clearly defined, and many questions remain unanswered, such as how operating models will be architected and how key business capabilities must evolve. Further research and effort to define the Future Mode of Operations (FMO) is needed from the entire industry to solve these problems, which is why Huawei is playing an increasingly active role in many industry organizations.

For example, we are working with the TM Forum to lead an Omni-channel Management Catalyst Project to create best practice in digital customer experience journey design. We are also co-leader of the Digital Business Strategy and Customer Experience Working Group at the Open Group, aiming to understand and deliver the experience requirements of different industries.

ICT infrastructure

ICT infrastructure needs to exploit software-defined, virtualized, cloud datacenter and ultra broadband capabilities to provide real-time, flexible and elastic ICT resources for service delivery.

The purpose of infrastructure re-architecting is to provide services and end-user ICT resources with “Speed, Flexibility and Scalability”. The cloud should be the foundation for re-architecting the ICT infrastructure. All services will be implemented on cloud datacenters, with all data flows within the cloud. The cloud datacenter will be the centre and router of the network, and hence is becoming an increasingly important part of Huawei’s overall business strategy as we approach 2020. We already have rich experience of datacenter integration, having delivered more than 660 DC projects, including 255 cloud datacenters, covering more than 800,000 square meters.

The Huawei Open ROADS Community

The Huawei Open ROADS Community is a new industry organization aiming to incubate ICT transformation best practice which brings together leading voices from the ICT industry such as telco service operators, solution providers, consulting firms and universities.

Re-architecting operations and infrastructure to deliver the ROADS experience is a complex process, and no single vendor can deliver a complete solution. Huawei believes that industry collaboration is the answer, so we have taken the lead to create the Open ROADS Community to develop best practices to help service providers transform their ICT operations to become truly digital businesses. In an initial project, Huawei and SAP have applied Design Thinking to prototype the Telecom Digital Boardroom to address the many pain-points executives face with their business operations, and accelerate decision marking via real-time information and forecasts.

Huawei is committed to becoming operators’ long-term partner, driving industry collaboration, aligning with operators’ different strategies, and providing the best-fit solution for both short and long term goals, ultimately leading to successful transformation and business outcomes.

If you are interested in being part of this exciting community to develop the business and ICT transformation best practices to become a truly digital business, then please join us by registering at


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