In prior posts, I’ve submitted for your consideration some thoughts as to why now is the time for managed services and how today’s end user community is primed like never before to adopt managed services.An important aspect to the Managed Services 3.0 migration is change. Telecom carriers, VARs, system integrators and other major players are each facing unprecedented market challenges:
- Telecommunications carriers’ traditional wire-line services are experiencing a rapid shift in demand. Customer acquisition and retention for traditional telecom services has never been more difficult. Therefore, it is imperative for network service providers to create new ways to deliver differentiated and higher value services to their customers in order to achieve a more defensible position in the market.
- Wireless service providers are seeking new ways to raise average revenue per user as the number of incremental new users plateaus in developed markets around the world.
- VARs are also witnessing declining demand for their traditional services. Customers have grown impatient with extended deployment cycles and reactive support programs. They must develop a new value-proposition which enables them to become a trusted advisor, offering proactive support -- rather than simply a technology supplier.
- Systems integrators are also facing growing customer frustrations with extended projects which often fail to achieve their original business objectives. They must devise a method of establishing an ongoing relationship with their customers -- rather than merely respond to finite projects.
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Following up my earlier entry about the NGMN conference in Frankfurt, founding-member Sprint just indicated they will leave the group. Intel will follow suit. During the Frankfurt conference, the NGMN Board announced the selection of LTE as the first approved technology which broadly meets NGMN requirements. Given the commitment of Sprint and Intel to WiMAX, this selection probably made their ongoing participation in NGMN untenable.While understandable, this schism undermines the original NGMN vision of multiple operators collaborating on a coherent view of what the community would require beyond 2010, creating “one integrated network for the seamless introduction of mobile broadband services.” Even as the old battle between CDMA2000 and WCDMA fades, a new division widens between the OFDMA standards, LTE and WiMAX (Qualcomm UMB seems all but abandoned).The polarization over radio standards seems somewhat backwards looking. As discussed in a previous entry, radio access technologies seem sure to multiply and change rapidly, so the design emphasis should shift to a stable foundation in the core network, built using IP. Both LTE and WiMax, plus other radios from 3G femtocells to WiFi, can serve as useful components in the Mobile Internet.Meanwhile, Apple introduced the iPhone 3G last week. It sold over 1 million units in its first weekend, generating an estimated $330 million in revenue according to some estimates. Impressive results, but more impressive still is this experiment to determine, Will It Blend?
When I speak with customers or at conferences, I often speak about data trends and applications as input to dimensioning a service and network. These data are being transmitted over a network; and, this fact highlights Cisco’s”Network as the Platform.” Three trends are converging today:1. Entertainment content is collapsing onto a common, digital source Music, film and print are all now just a string of O’s and 1′s.2. We have the global, Internet Protocol network that allows us to distribute and share digital content around the world.3. Finally, with digital content devices are freed from being tied or locked into a single distribution network.We now have phones that act as cameras, newspaper readers and portable music players.This shift fundamentally changes our relationship with entertainment content and empowers us to consume entertainment when, where, and on the device of our choice.Further, Web 2.0 drives greater consumer choice, participation and control as the Internet is now surpassing TV in terms of media usage. When we add applications like interactive gaming, broadcast TV and HDTV MPEG-4, planning and dimensioning the services and underlying network are critical for the Service Provider. Assuring quality of service, security, and implementing overall network management will be pivotal towards service level agreement compliance.These issues are opportunities for the industry as a whole.In the meantime, I will be hosting a plenary panel at the Broadband World Forum in Hong Kong on July 16 2008.Stay tuned for more!
For managed services providers, a combination of market forces for today’s end user businesses have combined to create a ‘tipping point’ that offer a new opportunity for a variety of providers to capitalize on the promise these services. These forces include changes in the business environment which are making customers more receptive to the idea of ‘out-tasking’ specific day-to-day responsibilities so they can focus on their core business and more strategic business initiatives. At the same time, advancements in remote network management technology are also making it possible for xSPs to deliver more robust managed services to a broader set of potential customers.A series of macro-market trends have combined to fundamentally change customer attitudes about managed services, and create a new opportunity for innovative MSPs to deliver differentiated solutions to their customers. Some of these can only be done by an xSP or at least done more efficiently.
- Globalization and e-commerce have opened new opportunities for business expansion, and created new competitive pressures for companies of all sizes, but have created the need for global delivery of services.
- Acceleration of new applications such as mobility has permitted workers to do their jobs anywhere, and created new challenges encouraging employee collaboration and protecting valuable data.
- Escalation of application access, performance and reliability expectations of workers at all times from wherever they are.
- Expectation of cost savings and improved efficiencies for IT delivered as a service.
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Did Star Trek foreshadow social and visual networking? Could it actually serve as a bit of a Nostradamus for this and future generations? Stay with me now, because I think yes.. Remember the Vulcan mind meld? It was”a procedure that involved physical contact with a subject (though instances of mind-melds without contact have been seen, according to my trekkie friends -if you ask them they will you about it in great detail…), making it possible to share thoughts, experiences, memories, and knowledge with another individual.” Voila, collaboration of the highest order. And, with the integration of video into this equation, the world of communication and collaboration will be life and business expanding. In a sense, it’s a path to meld the various modes of communication together seamlessly throughout all aspects of our Connected Lives, at home, at work, and on the move.It’s no secret we’re on a path to uber communication and collaboration. First it was text. Then is was two-way communication. Then audio and sound joined along and even video. But, now it’s a mash-up world where visual networking is more than a two-way street. In the oft-cited work by Dr. Paul Lester, attribution is given to educational psychologist Jerome Bruner of New York University for finding that”persons only remember ten percent of what they hear, 30 percent of what they read, but about 80 percent of what they see and do.” In other words, seeing is believing and retaining.As a result, visual networking will play an even greater role in the way that we communicate going-forward. And, it will place increasing demands on bandwidth and quality. A truly connected life must ride within an intelligent network that will adapt, expand and prioritize to help realize the full impact that visual networking can offer.