Modernize, automate and
accelerate: Hybrid cloud,
business transformation
and the future of
telecommunications
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Modernize, automate and
accelerate: Hybrid cloud,
business transformation
and the future of
telecommunications

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Introduction

Introduction

Delivering value at unprecedented speed

The road to the future will be paved by communications service providers (CSPs) that can simultaneously deliver customer value and business results at unprecedented speed. If this dynamic wasn’t clear before the pandemic began, it’s crystal clear now.

CSPs that take the following three-step approach will be well positioned for ongoing innovation and success:

  1. Modernize existing infrastructure so it’s ready for 5G hypergrowth and a post-5G future.
  2. Automate processes so networks can respond to changing conditions with minimum human intervention.
  3. Accelerate network transformation to reduce time to revenue.

The CSP of the future will deploy a state-of-the-art infrastructure that’s resilient yet elastic and can be built once to run wherever necessary—at the core or at the edge. This infrastructure will fuse connectivity with computing to seamlessly span manufacturing, transportation, entertainment, gaming and beyond. It will automate and elevate. It will transform. And it will deliver customer and business value at unprecedented speed.

Hybrid cloud is the agile infrastructure that will make this future a reality.

69% Reduce operating costs

59% Automate workflows

49% Lower data-processing latency

44% Increase reliability

40% Increase operational efficiency/productivity

29% Increase visibility and transparency

27% Secure data at the point of action

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Qualified benefits over 5 years. Source: Forrester Total Economic Impact of IBM and Red Hat for Telecommunications, June 2020

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IBM Cloud for Telecommunications

IBM Cloud for Telecommunications

Addressing the industry’s
unique challenges

An open, hybrid cloud

In its simplest form, a hybrid cloud combines public and private clouds and on-premises infrastructure with some level of integrated communication or orchestration. A variation of hybrid cloud is multicloud, which contains clouds from multiple providers, such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform, IBM Cloud® or Microsoft Azure.

Traditional approach / Hybrid approach illustration

Traditional approach

Hybrid approach

IBM advocates an open, hybrid approach that includes multicloud and unifies an enterprise’s architecture. This approach is a useful strategy for quickly building new cloud-native applications, modernizing existing applications and extending AI capabilities across multiple clouds. It’s also a useful strategy for automating how networks are defined, constructed and deployed.

To perform these and other operations, IBM has created a set of integrated offerings called IBM Cloud Paks. These lightweight, modular solutions include:

  • IBM Cloud Pak® for Integration simplifies the integration of legacy workloads onto the Red Hat® OpenShift® Platform as containers.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Data enables enterprises to run analytics where their data lives, shortening the path to AI adoption.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Security gives enterprises a unified view of threats that spans hybrid, multicloud environments.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Business Automation offers design, build, run and automation services to rapidly scale programs and fully execute and operationalize an automation strategy.
  • IBM Cloud Pak for Watson AIOps enables the deployment of advanced, explainable AI across the ITOps toolchain to confidently assess, diagnose and resolve incidents across mission-critical workloads.

The IBM hybrid cloud strategy reaches its pinnacle in Red Hat OpenShift, which provides a single operating system across environments and enables developers to deploy apps without any hardware dependency. Red Hat OpenShift also employs a container orchestration platform to automate the deployment of applications across cloud environments with security, load balancing and scalability.

Designed for agility

IBM Cloud for Telecommunications addresses the industry’s unique challenges with an open, hybrid cloud platform that has security and agility built in. The combination of a unifying architecture, data sovereignty and IBM’s deep industry expertise gives CSPs new ways to rapidly transform and innovate.

This combination is designed to enable CSPs to easily deploy and manage new cloud capabilities throughout their networks. It also enables them to enrich customer relationships with AI-driven digital enhancements that harness network investments to monetize 5G and deliver next-generation services.

The IBM Cloud for Telecommunications solution comes to life by using some of IBM’s fundamental technologies, including:

  • IBM Cloud Pak for Network Automation, for service assurance orchestration and lifecycle management
  • IBM Watson® AIOps, which provides a holistic view of entire IT environments to deliver insights to resolve IT incidents and outages faster and more efficiently
  • IBM® Edge Application Manager, the edge “fabric” that enables autonomous provisioning of data and AI workloads for ease of maintenance in delivering enterprise edge and device edge use cases
  • The Red Hat OpenShift Platform, making the solution container-first so it runs on essentially any cloud
  • The IBM Cloud Satellite™ solution, which extends the IBM public cloud and as a service offerings to the CSPs’ network data center or other on-premises location
  • IBM's network consulting services, providing strategy, assessment and design services aligned to your network and edge needs.

IBM’s leading encryption capabilities give clients peace of mind about the integrity of their data, which is completely invisible to IBM. IBM has an ecosystem of more than 35 vetted partners, including Nokia, Samsung and newcomers, to extend the solution’s value to tools for data, AI, analytics, operations support systems (OSSs) and business support systems (BSSs). CSPs have access to it all—without vendor lock-in. The solution also includes advanced automation tools that help make deployment and management more efficient while reducing costs, from the core to the edge.

IBM's open, hybrid cloud platform has security and agility built in for CSP's.

Zero-trust security

The challenges faced by CSPs stretch far and wide, so IBM provides the highly regulated telecommunications industry with unequaled levels of protection and vigilance.

Whether technical or human, every connection is meticulously protected, even in the cloud. From hardware, networks and platforms to developers, codebases, data and beyond, the operation of entire ecosystems in a security-rich environment is key.

A platform that’s similar to the one IBM has used to help secure government, banking and defense applications will now be made available for telecommunications applications. Policies, methods and procedures for the management of network functions are built in and applied at every point. Third-party developers and networks are validated, adhering to stringent protocols that are constantly updated.

Perhaps the most important challenge is data itself. Customer data has become a proxy for trust, which means data security has become a necessity. IBM Cloud for Telecommunications creates a security-rich foundation for the wide-ranging and unique challenges faced by CSPs.

  1. 3rd party product of solution
  2. IBM product
    of solution
  3. IBM Cloud Paks a complete and pre-integrated stack of containerized software
  4. Foundation services
  5. Red Hat OpenShift

Red Hat OpenShift, powered by Kubernetes, allows you to run containerized appplications and workloads anywhere

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Real-world
examples

Real-world examples

Built on history, powered by vision

IBM has a rich background building mission-critical cloud infrastructure, migrating IT workloads to the cloud, mitigating risk and virtualizing network functions. All of this experience is relevant to the present, as well as the future of the telecommunications industry.

Equally relevant is IBM’s history in IT cloud and IT workloads, as well as network cloud and network workloads. Bringing these two historically separated environments together into a single cloud-based platform is essential. A clear vision for using automation, security and data to transform the business of telecommunications is the reason why the following CSPs have turned to IBM to create their futures.

Verizon

Driver

Verizon is well positioned to use its unique and trusted role in communications and capture value from enterprise 5G adoption. But to truly realize the transformational potential of 5G, the company realized it needed a partner that understands cloud. That’s because all its innovations must be powered by agile network platforms that can support AI and data-intensive use cases as low-latency edge computing moves closer to where data is created and captured.

Solution

Verizon is embracing an open hybrid cloud platform that enables a world-class operations environment, aligned to its next-generation vision of an intelligent, highly automated and efficient 5G network. IBM Global Business Services®, a leading systems integrator in the telco industry, is also integrating IBM Telco Network Cloud Manager solutions into Verizon’s service orchestration platform to automate and manage services much more efficiently. With this transformation, Verizon can scale and deploy new services across a variety of environments, speeding innovation that delivers new value to customers.

Automation engineer and Robots machine

Telefónica Tech Cloud Garden

Driver

Telefónica Tech, a division of the Telefónica Group, built an offering called Cloud Garden, a managed platform that brings the cloud down to earth, providing enterprises across industries with faster, easier access to resources that accelerate innovation. The challenge, for Telefónica Tech, was how to bring all the leading public clouds, including advanced services for AI, analytics, IoT and blockchain, into a single, seamless space where the underlying IT would be transparent to customers.

Solution

Telefónica Tech brings it all together using IBM Cloud Pak software, which allows customers to develop and run services and business use cases on any of these platforms, and combines it all into a single, seamless solution—including integration with existing, on-premises systems. The cloud-native development components in the IBM Cloud Pak software allow new services to be developed directly within Cloud Garden, while its Red Hat OpenShift container platform enables portability between existing, private cloud and public cloud environments.

Office building

Bharti Airtel

Driver

Bharti Airtel recognized that delivering a consistently high-quality customer experience—fewer dropped calls, better-quality video and low data latency—is the key to its growth and competitiveness. The broad challenge was in optimizing the operations of a highly complex and diverse network spread across multiple environments. With traditional manual processes for fault detection and a new cloud capacity provision constraining flexibility, Airtel saw AI-enhanced automation as the answer. But without the ability to orchestrate across silos of multiple clouds and systems, automation wasn’t feasible. Vertically separated clouds are what Airtel had; horizontally connected hybrid is what it needed.

Solution

Airtel embarked on a broad architectural transformation, the first step of which was to implement an open hybrid cloud network running on the Red Hat OpenStack Platform and Red Hat OpenShift. On top of this network, Airtel—working with teams from IBM Services®—developed an automated, one-click cloud provisioning process that handles every stage from plan to build to run. With this new tool, a network planner or engineering team’s request for a new site has become a virtually touchless, completely catalog-driven user experience. This tool has enabled Airtel to reduce cloud implementation time by 75%—from four weeks to one week—while all but eliminating the implementation errors that can degrade the customer experience, weaken satisfaction and ultimately reduce revenue.

Woman on the Smart Phone

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Conclusion

Conclusion

Network transformation is business transformation

IBM’s real-world experience is driving the next wave of network transformation into business transformation. 5G, fixed line and everything between can be modernized and connected like never before. Automation decreases time to revenue and accelerates opportunity. New services can be created more quickly and efficiently so new revenue streams can be developed rapidly.

It adds up to unprecedented business potential that can be quickly transformed into real, tangible value.

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