Service providers (SPs) have been wracked by wave after wave of disruption, creating new winners and losers on every front. Traditional carriers continue to look for ways to make up for lost voice revenues; over-the-top (OTT) players have redefined the ways video is delivered and consumed; exponential growth in mobile data traffic devours network capacity without creating comparable revenue; and new cloud services are transforming IT consumption and challenging old operating models. The industry is changing with whiplash speed—leaving service providers scrambling to get ahead of the next wave.

For years, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group has engaged with global and regional service providers to help them navigate and seize the opportunities afforded by industry disruptions. Now, as part of Cisco Consulting Services (CCS), we have identified key industry areas where SPs have transformative opportunities for new services, operations, and business models.

Five Areas of Opportunity for SP Growth and Transformation

Based on Cisco’s own market sensing of trends, tracking of customer behaviors and industry inflection points, and strategy engagements with leading SPs around the world, Cisco Consulting Services has developed unique expertise to help SPs address their challenges and capitalize on opportunities. We are specifically focused on transformative engagements with SPs in five key areas—helping them identify and address the strategic questions they need to answer to be successful:

1Cloud Services Market Entry: Many SPs are exploring cloud services as a logical extension of their service portfolio and a growth opportunity for direct and indirect revenues. Cisco Consulting will help address key questions including: What are the strategic drivers? What is the right target segment? What products should be offered? What is needed for a successful go-to-market strategy? How can key software-defined network capabilities catalyze the market?

2SMB Commercial Services Growth Strategy: While consumer revenues have flattened for many SPs, small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) are increasingly looking for managed services from a single provider. SPs need to meet this opportunity with an optimal business services product portfolio. Key questions include:  How can core networking services be developed into a broader portfolio of offers, including cloud? How should we design a long-term offer roadmap? How can SPs best articulate their value propositions to an SMB audience? What is the optimal go-to-market approach? How can SPs build an agile operating model for the SMB market and gain a competitive edge?

3Mobile Data Service Monetization: In contrast to OTT providers, network-based SPs have struggled to monetize the explosive growth in mobile data, which has been driven by new mobile devices and machine-to-machine technology. What are the emerging use cases and demand profiles? How can SPs optimize their pricing? How can network analytics capabilities create new revenue streams for SPs?  How can SPs become more agile and efficient? What role might mobile network as a service (NaaS) play?  What additional opportunities will arise from mobile virtual network operators?

4Small Cell / Wi-Fi Business Model Strategy: Every SP now needs a Wi-Fi strategy, as fixed broadband SPs focus on customer retention, and mobile operators focus on capacity for mobile data traffic. What is the role of small cell and hybrid small cell / Wi-Fi technologies? What are the best business models? What are the operational requirements? How can SPs build a unified service platform for all types of mobile broadband networks and tap into new revenue streams like location-based analytics and targeted advertising?

5Next-Generation Video Transformation: OTT providers are redefining the video landscape, and SPs are currently trapped behind inflexible technology and operations platforms. What is the economic value of providing next-generation IP-delivered video? What is the product and services roadmap? What capabilities are needed?

Integrated Consulting Services with Business Impact

Cisco Consulting Services is Cisco’s integrated consulting organization, offering management, business, and IT consulting. Cisco’s Service Provider consulting practice works with telecommunications companies, cable providers, media providers, broadcasters and online players. Our management consulting group has the benefit of deep strategy consulting expertise married with Cisco’s in-market view of emerging trends and research-driven insights.

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Chris Osika

Senior Director, Global Lead

Service Provider Practice Internet Business Solutions Group