In the past year we have seen the technology industry pushed to new extremes and communication service providers in particular are having to keep up with the speed at which this technology is developing. Planning ahead is critical. It’s crucial that you don’t jump on the latest technology trends when they are released, but invest time and resources in analysing upcoming technologies and assessing whether they would work for your company's IT strategy moving forward. Communication service providers can already see the landscape shifting as we begin 2020, with the impact to their infrastructure and end user demands set to increase further.
Digitalisation has already had a significant impact, with more enterprise businesses taking advantage of new services, such as cloud solutions, software defined networks and business analytics. In 2020 we are set to see this continue further, with businesses making higher demands for these services even quicker, whatever their market or goal. Service providers will have to react to this by ensuring they are prepared for increased pressure from their customers.
To stay relevant, service providers must get a head start on tomorrow’s trends. As the demands and needs of the end customer keep rapidly changing, service providers and their resellers need to keep up. Additionally, to deal with the challenge of the increase in digitalisation, companies must come up with an end-to-end response. It’s crucial to create a highly detailed digital strategy, whilst rethinking their business and operating models. Regarding strategies, businesses should think beyond marketing. For example, they should look at extensive cross-channel connectivity and the ability to stay constantly engaged with customers, suppliers, employees and investors. Moreover, change almost always comes from the top; having strong C-level leadership in place to drive the business in the right direction, will be crucial.
Another important trend expected to gain further traction in 2020 is the self-driving network. With rapid advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI), the programming and management tasks required today to run a network are being streamlined and automated, whilst also reducing operational costs and human effort. This digital world is evidently ready for autonomous networks. We’ve seen continuous growth in artificial intelligence, with machines becoming extremely knowledgeable and automation is moving out of the way for autonomy.
Self-driving networks are set to take the mundane tasks off the hands of IT staff, freeing up time and resources for higher level tasks. They will be able to self-configure, monitor, manage, correct, defend and analyse without human help. Self-driving networks will also be adaptive to their environments, and therefore able to optimise and personalise the experience depending on the end user or situation.
The self-driving network will be the end state of a developing journey which starts with automation and programmability. It will be formed through the integrations and advancements of telemetry, machine learning, intent-driven networking, and local/global awareness.
Analytics are expected to become more popular and permeate throughout enterprises. They allow businesses to have full visibility, providing in-depth insights into what is going on, how it is happening, and what impact it is having - something that is becoming more and more critical. In 2020, we expect to see a major shift as organisations start to recognise the challenges of handling and making the most out of the growing amount of information being collected.
This could be a turning point in acknowledging the change in the ecosystem. Advances in data management and analytics will determine whether 2020 will bring success or struggle for many organisations. Potential challenges include the growth in adoption of cloud technology, whether data visualisation delivers truth, and the impact of end users running rampage without control processes and putting extreme stress on BI tools that are not designed for the scale of the enterprise.
The pace at which technology trends evolve can be daunting for any business, but this is particularly the case when it comes to communications service providers, which are under more pressure than many to keep up. It may seem that almost as quickly as a company adopts new technology, a new version or product comes along to take its place. Whilst the “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” methodology may cause less stress, there are risks associated with being behind current technology trends. Afterall, technology is essential for any business to function efficiently and effectively.
To make sure that you are offering a great service for your customers, it is important that your systems run as efficiently and as quickly as possible. Technology is always improving, and if you’re not keeping up with it, odds are that your competitors are far ahead of you. And in such a volatile market, with limited customer loyalty, this can create a serious problem. By staying up to date with technology, your business is constantly ready for new consumer demands and expectations.
Daniel Thomas, Head of Product Development and Engineering, Axians UK