Automation & Virtualization: Driving Operational Transformat

Automation & Virtualization: Driving Operational Transformation

15 June 2020 | Sponsored Q&A

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Telefónica International Wholesale Services (TIWS) manages the international business of the Telefónica Group, leveraging its footprint and assets to deliver international services for Wholesale and Large Enterprise customers worldwide. Javier de Carlos, Vendor Management Director, tells us about CTO TIWS’ disruptive digitalization plan.

Q. Could you tell us more about the mission of CTO in TIWS?
CTO TIWS is the result of an Operating Model that looks to handle all the activities that are key to guarantee excellent service for our customers. In addition to Customer Service activities, we are in charge of the complete lifecycle of the International Network and Services: from Design & Technology to the Development, Deployment & Operation of all services and infrastructure. We also manage the IT (BSS & OSS), as well as the relationship with more than 100 International Vendors, which is critical to complete our geographical coverage.


Q. What motivated your organization to implement such an ambitious transformation plan?
CTO TIWS launched this plan five years ago. As Telcos we have been forced to change our strategy to capture sustainable growth and face the “More for Less” paradigm. Technology disruption cycles became shorter, which made us question how we are doing things. Customers are demanding a full digital experience, and new players like OTTs have also become an opportunity to adapt to new ways of collaborating and offering services.


Q. What have been your main levers during this journey?
In addition to simplifying our activity and stopping doing those things that do not add value, we have focused on the Virtualization of our systems, network functions and services; the Automation of our processes and finally, on Internalizing all core activities and know-how.


Q. Could you give us an overview of your Virtualization strategy?
To carry out our virtualization plan, we have deployed Network Functions Hubs worldwide. Since then, all services are being designed on virtual environments, and today we have +25 virtualized network and service components running over this architecture. As an example, our mSIP runs over a fully virtualized voice network. This has been key during the COVID-19 crisis, as it is was capable of deploying a new cluster of virtual SBCs in Miami in three days, making it possible to handle the exponential traffic increase seen in April.

Virtualization also allowed us to offer our clients more flexibility and build self-management tools so that they gain agility and control, but also delivering a positive economic impact. Moving all our OSS & BSS to the Cloud has cut our infrastructure costs by half.

We have also been pioneers in the virtualization of our network controller, boosting the value of SDN technology. This was the first step towards our vision of building a Self-Driven Network to manage our network with no human intervention.


Q. How did you make your daily tasks more efficient with Automation?
Setting up a Fullstack system, capable of managing all business processes with a powerful service orchestrator, was key to achieve the E2E Automation. But the traditional way of automating, where the IT area received all the requests from the rest of the organization, does not work anymore. For this reason, we have promoted a Do It Yourself culture, providing the teams with methodologies, governance, development environments and all necessary tools, to become responsible for automating their daily work. To boost Automation, we have also deployed a Big Data Architecture to become a Data Driven Operation.


Q. And what about the digitalization of Service Delivery & Customer Service?
We have completed the automation and simplification of operations across the entire portfolio, automating order handling and provisioning processes to eliminate the need for human intervention. In customer service, the implementation of APIs for ticketing and Machine Learning for diagnosis, have helped us to be faster and more proactive in our response to our customers.


Q. What has been the role of your Partners in this transformation?
The traditional sourcing model has become obsolete. Our Partners need to enable our new Digital Business Models and help us to accelerate technology innovation. As a result we are transforming our Vendor Management into a Strategic Partnership, and creating a Digital Vendor Experience, implementing APIs to automate all our key processes, from Ordering to Billing, and this year we have launched a Vendor Management Portal (Prime) to handle and centralize the relationship with them.


Q. What would you say has been the key to success?
Our people. Previously I have talked about our “Do It Yourself” program and about the importance of internalizing the core know-how. And to retain talent, we are making our people the owners of the future. We reward courage and proactivity, without penalizing failure.