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Network automation provides telecom operators with opex savings of up to 40% in three years, says new report by MIT Technology Review Insights
[May 10, 2019]

Network automation provides telecom operators with opex savings of up to 40% in three years, says new report by MIT Technology Review Insights

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A new study by MIT Technology Review Insights in association with Ericsson finds that telecommunications operators are automating network management and operations as a vital step in their networks' modernization, and ultimately in the digital transformation of their businesses.

Insights (PRNewsfoto/MIT Technology Review Insights)

Based on interviews with senior network executives at leading operators globally, the report finds that there is an immediate technological imperative for network automation—efficiently addressing the demands of burgeoning data traffic, devices, and new technologies. "This serves a bigger imperative," says Claire Beatty, editor of the report, "enabling the business to understand and meet customer demand for services, and to scale quickly and flexibly as needed."

The key findings of the report are as follows:

  • Early automation aims are modest, but ambiions will grow. Expectations of opex reduction—for example through the elimination of manual configuration of processes and reduced time need to fix errors—range between 30% and 50%, though usually over a three-year time frame. Better capital efficiency is another short-term goal, while some operators see the greatest early benefit in improved network resilience.
  • There is no one-size-fits-all automation pathway. Some operators start their automation journey with data center modernization efforts. Others focus on automating operational support systems (OSS). Wherever they start, operators logically target virtualized functions before deciding how to handle legacy systems.
  • The benefits to 5G could be made clearer. Not all operators highlight 5G in building the business case for automation. Operator executives interviewed for this report, however, agree that the network efficiency enabled by automation is integral to their ability to manage 5G complexity and deliver end-to-end 5G services to customers.
  • Although yet to be realized, hopes for open standards remain strong. Open-source development of standardized solutions is widely supported, but it needs more commitment from all stakeholders to build critical momentum.
  • People challenges are far tougher than the technology ones. Operators are making structural changes to capitalize on automation. These often involve merging or redistributing responsibilities across network and IT teams. However, retraining existing staff and trying to instill DevOps principles are by far the toughest challenges.

Download the report here.

Claire Beatty
Editorial director - international custom content
MIT Technology Review

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