As technology keeps advancing, cloud-native platforms are becoming the new standard for businesses worldwide. Gartner's predictions show an astonishing shift, with over 95% of new digital workloads expected to be on the cloud by 2025, up from just 30% in 2021.
Even though the telecom industry has been cautious about moving to the cloud, some telcos have already seized the opportunity and managed to get impressive rewards. For instance, Deutsche Telekom used AWS and Azure to dramatically reduce the number of their data centers from 89 to 13, boost their computing and storage power by around 25%, and save a significant amount of resources. Similarly, Globe Telecom in the Philippines chose AWS for their IT environment migration, leading to a remarkable 30% cost reduction, a 15x increase in app performance, and a drastic decrease in provisioning times from three months to just two days!
At Flyaps, we have over a decade of hands-on experience in the telecom industry. We've seen our clients achieving positive business outcomes thanks to cloud adoption. By helping them break down monolithic architectures into microservices, we've given them opportunities for scaling and more efficient operations. With cloud-native platforms, our telecom clients also benefited from faster development, smoother integration possibilities, and continuous deployment, resulting in quicker service launches and a competitive advantage in the dynamic telecommunications field.
In this article, we take you on a journey into the world of telecom cloud migration. We'll share inspiring success stories, explore the immense potential for those embracing this transformative path, and provide you with a step-by-step roadmap to successful telecom cloud adoption.
What is telecom cloud?
Before we delve deeper, let's clarify with a definition. A telco cloud is a highly resilient and flexible network architecture that combines the best features of traditional networks and cloud technology to make communication faster and more reliable.
Think of telecom cloud as a futuristic and super-smart transportation hub for telecommunication service providers. It's like a high-tech terminal that allows telcos to easily add new services, just like new routes for transportation, when they need to expand their offerings.
Inside this advanced hub, there are various terminals representing different technologies. In the past, the telco cloud used virtualization concepts, similar to traditional train stations, to improve its network. But with the arrival of 5G, this cloud hub evolved, adding new cutting-edge terminals like containers and microservices, which work together with the older terminals (virtualized network functions) to create a seamless and efficient network. Think of these new technologies as modern electric scooters and bikes sharing the same space with the traditional trains and buses.
With all these components working together in harmony, the telco cloud becomes the ultimate hub for telecommunication services, making the journey of data and communication smoother, faster, and more adaptable for the digital age.
This innovative concept brings together the following key elements:
- Software-defined infrastructure. This means that the network's setup and management are done using software, not only physical hardware. It allows for more flexibility and control over the network, making it simpler to adapt and change as needed.
- Network functions virtualization (NFV). This is a way to separate different network functions from the specific hardware they run on. It makes it easier to add new services and features without having to change the physical equipment.
- Cloud-native technology. This refers to using technology that works like cloud-based applications. Cloud-native brings more flexibility, scalability, and resilience to network resources, making the process of handling large amounts of data and demand more seamless.
- Automation and orchestration. Automation means letting computers do repetitive tasks, reducing the need for manual work. Orchestration means coordinating different parts of the network to work together smoothly. Both help make the network more efficient and easier to manage.
- Service assurance. This is about making sure that the services provided by the telecom company work well and meet certain standards. It involves monitoring and managing the network to ensure everything runs well and customers get the best experience possible.
But surprisingly, not all telcos have jumped on this opportunity yet. Let's find out what's holding them back.
Four main challenges of telecom cloud adoption
Telecom industry has a reputation for being slow when it comes to trying out new technologies and modern approaches. Same goes for cloud adoption. Here are four main reasons why telcos tend to be doubtful about it.
Let’s consider a well-established telco that has been operating for decades on the market with a robust on-premises infrastructure. They have millions of clients and they are proud of how balanced and stable things are. But as the industry started evolving, the demand for their services began to increase as well. What’s more, customers started demanding more innovative services and faster connectivity.
The IT department proposed moving operations to the cloud, but the CEO, Mr.Miller let’s say, worried about data control and that this transformation would disrupt the company’s stable processes.
But eventually, realizing the threat of falling behind, Mr.Miller decided to opt for a hybrid cloud strategy. So instead of abandoning their on-premises infrastructure, the business integrated select public cloud services. Customer-facing applications moved to the public cloud, ensuring better scalability and flexibility.
As a result, with the hybrid cloud approach, the telco retained control over critical data while offering new services and handling increased demand. This decision allowed them to adapt to the changing industry landscape and thrive in the digital era.
As the demand for innovative services like over-the-top (OTT) streaming, internet of things (IoT) connectivity, and cloud-based applications grows, many telcos find it challenging to integrate these new services seamlessly into their existing infrastructures. Additionally, their digital systems have become complex over the years, leading to operational difficulties and inefficiencies.
We’ve seen this scenario countless times. Our firsthand experience shows that modernizing and migrating older applications to more efficient and scalable cloud-native platforms is the most rock-solid plan to address the problem.
That's exactly what we did for Yaana Technologies. One of their telecom startups, Neustring Analytics, was struggling to provide top-notch services due to their outdated desktop application. Keep reading to learn how we helped Yaana to gain a leadership in the European market and get global clients like Orange Group and Hutchison 3G thanks to cloud adoption.
Imagine a telecom company that is eager to embrace the cloud for its IoT devices and infrastructure. However, they are concerned about potential cybersecurity risks. Public clouds can be vulnerable to outside threats, leaving their precious IoT devices and broader infrastructure exposed.
But there is a solution to this problem, which is setting up real-time threat monitoring and response mechanisms. With a vigilant eye on their network activity, the company can deploy intrusion detection systems and telecom data analytics, letting them quickly detect any suspicious behavior and respond promptly to any security incidents that might arise.
By staying one step ahead and investing in proactive cybersecurity measures, the telco ensures that their cloud adoption journey is smooth and secure. They can confidently embrace the power of telecom cloud without compromising on their customers' safety.
Finding skilled tech talent is a tough challenge for telecom companies these days. They have to compete with other industries in a talent war, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made things even trickier for hiring new IT experts. It's like trying to find a needle in a haystack, especially when it comes to in-demand roles like cloud infrastructure specialists, cloud security experts, and DevOps engineers. Statistics show that 88% of telecom tech talent who switch jobs end up leaving for other industries with better opportunities.
Teaming up with a reliable software engineering company like Flyaps, equipped with expert cloud engineers and DevOps specialists, can be a good strategic decision. Having our help and knowledge in telecom cloud adoption projects can save your recruitment team from spending months searching for candidates and convincing them to join your team. Not to mention the cost savings you'll get!
Now that we’ve talked about the main challenges of cloud adoption and ways to solve them, it’s time we talk about the key steps for implementing telecom cloud services. It will definitely help you overcome any doubts or uncertainties you may have.
Telecom cloud migration roadmap
To successfully perform cloud migration, we highly recommend assembling a cross-functional team involving the CIO and technical professionals. The CIO provides leadership and guidance, while the technical team handles architecture, process plans, and tool selection for migration projects.
In general, telecom cloud migration can be divided into five main stages:
- Aligning objectives
- Developing an action plan
- Preparing for execution
- Establishing governance and risk mitigation
- Optimizing and scaling the telecom cloud environment.
To better understand how to move through these stages, let’s use the example of a well-established telco that is about to start cloud migration and is determined to do it seamlessly and effectively.
To kickstart the telecom cloud migration process, the company has to ensure that all stakeholders are on the same page and understand the reasons behind this strategic move. So the company starts by creating a value proposition highlighting cost efficiency, scalability, enhanced performance, agility, and data security as main benefits.
To get everyone on board, they also identify different use cases where the cloud can make a significant impact, like targeted advertising and improved customer service. Then the business starts to develop a formal cloud strategy, combining public and private clouds for optimal results.
The company’s IT team breaks down the migration process into actionable steps, conducting thorough data assessments and security audits. They established clear decision principles for selecting which applications to migrate, prioritizing critical data for private cloud adoption. Lastly, a cross-functional team analyzes data and metrics to identify areas for optimization.
By addressing these points, the company achieves a shared vision among stakeholders, paving the way for a successful cloud migration.
Developing an action plan
Next, the team focuses on creating a detailed plan to move forward with the cloud migration.
They carefully select cloud vendors and negotiate contracts to ensure they have the best fit for their requirements. The telco invests in developing cloud competencies across the enterprise to ensure a smooth transition and adoption of cloud technologies. Their team assesses different service providers, analyzing the offerings to select the ones that align best with the company’s business needs. To mitigate cloud-specific risks, the team builds protections and safeguards, ensuring data security and continuity during the migration.
Preparing for execution
Before the actual migration process, the company has to make sure they are well-prepared. So they deploy and optimize workload placement, identifying the most suitable cloud environment for each workload. Segmenting workloads for migration helps streamline the process and ensure efficient execution. Establishing a cloud management workflow enables them to manage resources effectively in the cloud environment. The team adopts best practices for implementation, ensuring a smooth and error-free migration.
Establishing governance and risk mitigation
To ensure a secure and risk-free transition, our telco establishes specific rules and measures.
For instance, minimizing workflow disruptions is a top priority to maintain smooth operations during migration. On the other hand, prioritizing sensitive data discovery helps protect crucial information during the migration process. The team develops a robust security control plan to safeguard data and maintain data integrity throughout the migration. Adopting a life cycle approach for cloud governance helps them manage resources efficiently and optimize performance.
Optimizing and scaling the telecom cloud environment
As the cloud environment becomes operational, the company focuses on optimizing and expanding its cloud services. They continuously evaluate and improve their cloud footprint so that they are leveraging the most suitable services for their clients’ needs. Prioritizing investments in cloud technologies allows them to allocate resources effectively. Creating shared objectives enables collaboration among teams, fostering innovation and productivity. Iterative optimization allows for continuous improvement in their cloud services and processes.
Through a well-planned roadmap and a collaborative approach, the company successfully migrates to the cloud, reaping the benefits of enhanced services, increased performance, and a gained competitive edge in the telecom industry.
Real-life examples of telecom cloud adoptions
Let’s delve into our clients' experiences with cloud adoption, looking at the process from their perspective.
Nextgen Clearing: moving from monolith to microservices
Nextgen Clearing, a leading provider of global roaming services and telecom BI solutions, found it challenging to scale due to the limitations of their monolithic-based internal system. To tackle these issues, they turned to Flyaps for help. We immediately got to work, breaking down the monolith into microservices, and moved everything to the cloud. The result was a connected platform that brought together different Nextgen products, making them work better together. Let’s see how we managed to do this.
First, Nextgen Clearing had to move away from the old system, Oracle Application Express (APEX), because it couldn't keep up with the changing telecom world. Together with our team, they brought together all the separate applications into one system using microservices. These microservices acted as the foundation for Nextgen to develop new products in the future and make the existing ones bigger. It gave them the flexibility to add, remove, or change services as needed.
Next, our team started working on the Connected Platform, which united different systems in one tool. This platform made it easy for both clients and employees to access all the applications in the Nextgen ecosystem from a single entry point. In the future, they could even make it bigger and turn it into a telecom marketplace for other businesses to use as well.
To make the Nextgen system more independent, we moved it to the cloud using a solution called Rancher. This made the system more flexible and allowed it to scale easily.
To make sure all the applications had a consistent and smooth look, Flyaps developed a design guide using Storybook. We also used the micro frontends approach to update the design elements across all the different systems.
The final step was to ensure that everyone could access all the Nextgen products through one platform without having to log in multiple times. We used an open-source tool called Keycloak for this, which managed users' access rights for different applications.
The result of this hard work was a Connected Platform that allowed to streamline Nextgen Clearing's business processes. With the modernized architecture and design guide, Nextgen is now able to deliver new solutions faster and improve the experience for their customers.
Yaana Technologies: replacing outdated desktop system with modern cloud-based platform
Yaana Technologies is a California-based leading global provider of innovative BI solutions for various purposes, including cyber security and telecommunications. Telcos use Yaana's groundbreaking software and services to optimize network performance, enhance customer experiences and ensure compliance with government regulations.
When the company decided to enter the European market, they acquired NeuString – a telecom startup that also offers BI systems for roaming analytics to mobile operators. NeuString acquisition was a good strategic move, but their desktop solution, which had many different subsystems, required an update to meet the industry's standards as well as the evolving needs of European customers. So Yaana asked Flyaps to replace the outdated system with a web-based cloud-native solution.
Though we had a tight schedule, but we promised to deliver the first version within four months, and we succeeded.
We moved important features from the old system to the cloud. This means users can still use familiar services, but now on a more advanced platform. We also added new calculation and forecasting models, giving users better budgeting options. As a result, users can now create multiple budgets, compare them, and plan more effectively.
We made sure our cloud-based solution worked smoothly with the old system. We set up dynamic dashboards, including an interactive world map, to show data in a user-friendly way. These dashboards display volume, charges, and insights sorted by country, time, and service types.
We put a lot of effort into designing an easy-to-use interface that looks great too. We followed the latest UI guidelines to make sure the whole system looks consistent and appealing.
The final result was a unique and high-performing system for NeuString Analytics clients. Today, big companies like Orange Group and Hutchison 3G UK Ltd use this solution for forecasting, negotiation, budgeting, and data analysis.
Opportunities cloud adoption opens for telcos
Now that we've explored the process and impressive outcomes the telecom cloud adoption can bring, let's summarize the main opportunities it offers:
- Better analytics capabilities. For example, Vodafone successfully migrated its entire analytics platform to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), involving 600 Hadoop servers across 11 countries and handling a massive 17PBs of data. This move resulted in significant cost savings, estimated at $12 to $14 million annually.
- Flexibility. Cloud technology offers significant cost savings for businesses. With its flexible pay-as-you-go models, companies can have the exact amount of resources they need, reducing expenses for updates, backups, and storage.
- Real-life charging. As an example, Truphone moved its real-time charging to Google Cloud Platform (GCP), resulting in a remarkable transformation. They reduced the number of tests from over 5,000 (all done manually) to less than 200 (mostly automated), making the process much more efficient.
- Scalability. Cloud scalability allows businesses to adjust their storage and infrastructure needs easily. They can scale up or down as required, making the most out of growth opportunities, while handling traffic spikes stress-free.
- Better customer problem management. For instance, Verizon leveraged GCP AI-powered Contact Center apps to improve customer satisfaction. By using bots with enhanced intent detection accuracy, they were able to address 5 times more issues than humans and achieve a 15% increase in accuracy.
- Market adaptability. Cloud technology helps businesses quickly respond to changing customer demands and market conditions. It supports innovation and enables operators to update their services easily, gaining a competitive advantage and attracting more customers.
- Revenue growth. Here we can mention Vodafone Italy, who utilized various AWS services with secure and elastic access to personally identifiable information (PII) data. This enabled them to build scalable new offerings, such as subscriber top-up services. As a result, the company experienced a 30% reduction in capital expenses and significantly increased customer satisfaction rate.
How Flyaps can help you with telecom cloud implementation
Over the past ten years, we at Flyaps have been creating products for the telecom domain. Many of the products we helped develop are now being used by over 100 telecom companies, including big corporations like Orange Group. Companies like Yaana Technologies and Nextgen Clearing have selected Flyaps to assist them in transitioning to the cloud.
Here is what we offer to telcos to successfully move their operations to the cloud:
Virtual network function (VNF) migration. We can help you decide which network functions should remain in virtual machines (VMs) and which ones can be transformed into cloud-native microservices. This ensures a smooth and efficient migration process.
Monolith to cloud microservices migration. With us, you can move from monolith to microservices fast and effortlessly. This transformation enables faster development, testing, and deployment of new features and fixes without affecting other parts of the application.
Management and automation strategy creation. We will assist you in defining priorities and plans for automating internal processes, choosing the right tools to efficiently manage the cloud environment and improve operational efficiency.
Hybrid cloud integration. Based on the telco's ecosystem strategy, budget, and operational needs, we can help you plan the best combination of private and public cloud resources to create a flexible and scalable infrastructure.
Experience a seamless telecom cloud transition and optimize your operations. Reach out to us today!