As business leaders navigate an increasingly complex world of connections, they need IT to provide a programmable infrastructure that can dynamically respond to their needs. This four-part blog series explores how responsive infrastructure helps IT leaders succeed. Today’s post discusses how service providers specifically stand to benefit from a Fast IT strategy specific to their needs.

To read the first post in this series by Colin Kincaid which introduces Fast IT, a new model for IT, click here. To read the second post in this series by Jim Grubb which discusses a roadmap to adopt a Fast IT model, click here. To read the fourth and final post in this series by Jeff Reed which explores how a Fast IT model can mitigate infrastructure challenges, click here.

Over the course of this blog series, we’ve discussed how the Fast IT model can empower businesses to take advantage of new connections and prepare for the future. Along with businesses, service providers (SPs) can embrace innovation in IT models as a key driver to business agility and transformation.

To thrive in a constantly changing environment, SPs need to embrace an architecture that enables them to transform their business… essentially to bring the best of their network capabilities and blend them with those from a web company to effectively become a Fast SP.  To achieve this, architecture is built from both physical and virtual infrastructure designed to be faster and more flexible.   Ultimately, an architecture that can move quickly and respond to real-time demands will give providers the ability to acquire, analyze, and act on the influx of data and connections created by the growing Internet of Everything (IoE) – and ultimately offer improved services for their end-customers. With Cisco’s announcement earlier this year around the Evolved Services Platform, Service Providers now have advanced means to enable providers to deploy new services to businesses and consumers alike.

With capabilities like programmability, automation, orchestration and virtualization, SPs can gain more value through their existing infrastructure, respond quickly and easily to customer demands and enable end-consumers to have richer experiences. In addition, these infrastructure capabilities can enable organizations to go down-market and offer turnkey solutions for all customers, regardless of size.

Is such a change feasible for providers next few years?  Absolutely.  According to a recent ACG Research report, they are accelerating the transformation of their architecture – which means these new and differentiating services will increasingly be coming to the market for businesses and consumers alike.   In fact, SP spending on software architecture systems is forecast to reach $15.6 billion in 2018, up from $626 million last year. These software architecture systems – like the Cisco Evolved Services Platform – are the key to achieving programmability, automation, orchestration and virtualization which allow for quicker analysis of data, real-time security response and programming manual tasks to save time and costs.

The best part is, this technology is already being deployed and providers can begin using it today to see benefits. Over the past six months, SPs around the world have begun to take advantage of these new capabilities and leveraging Cisco’s architecture—customers like Deutsche Telekom, China Mobile, SunGard, Telecom Italia , Telstra XO Communications, TDS, Tencent, Hawaii Dialogix Telecom, and many more.

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The ways Cisco’s Evolved Services Platform and the Evolved Programmable Network will help these and other SPs benefit include:

1. Generate new revenue streams. Through the automation, provisioning and interworking of physical and virtual resources, SPs can open the door to innovation and create new revenue streams by orchestrating new or improved services.

2. Reduce operating expenses to increase efficiency. Deploying infrastructure with programmability capability can cut down on provisioning times to not only lower costs but speed time to service. Running software and network functions on open standards-based hardware also gives providers the flexibility they want to craft their own unique portfolio of services.

3. Increased agility. The combination of new revenue streams and the reduction of expenses allows SPs to easily adapt to changing consumer demands and deliver quick benefits to the end-consumer. With the growth of mobility and cloud, this is increasingly relevant to many providers.

Relying on an architecture built to deliver programmability, automation, orchestration and virtualization will be key as SPs look to prepare for the future. Strategies exist and hype is everywhere, but execution of an infrastructure that gives carriers the speed to deliver customer services will ultimately define success to translate Fast IT into a Fast SP.

For more about how service providers can prepare for the #FutureOfIT, visit the Cisco Executive Perspectives.

Additional Resources



Doug Webster

Vice President