8 Steps to Power Your Network Virtualization Journey

Communication service providers (CSPs) are at different stages of network virtualization. In our industry report, “Future of Networks”, we outline the challenges that CSPs are facing in virtualizing their networks. While it’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to network transformation, we have identified some tangible steps that businesses should consider to ensure the success of their virtualization initiatives:

1. Make NFV/SDN a top strategic priority for the firm

The transformational impact of virtualization should not be underestimated. 69% of respondents to our survey agree that network operators which do not virtualize their networks will struggle to compete.

2. Create a comprehensive business plan for NFV/ SDN deployment

Ensure you have a complete view of benefits and costs (83% of respondents to our survey believe the decision to virtualize network functions should be strategic), considering the operational and organizational impacts as well as the technological ones.

3. Prepare employees for change

Perform an assessment of the workforce and a gap analysis against the new requirements. Develop training programs to ensure employees are adequately educated in the area. Recognize the human component of change management.

4. Engage the whole organization

CSPs that view NFV/SDN as just a technology change will not reap the full business benefits of network virtualization.

5. Create a working ecosystem by finding the right partners

Finding and assembling partners with the right level of experience for your organization is essential. Unlike in the past, where vendors provided turn-key solutions, telecom service providers need to learn how to lead their own network transformation by acquiring the necessary skills and resources to do so.

6. Start small

Not everything needs to change in one go. Start with a few VNFs running alongside the legacy environment and gradually migrate to more VNFs and a service in the virtual environment.

7. Ensure you have a robust plan for the back-office

Operating virtual and physical networks in parallel creates new challenges for OSS/ BSS, processes and operating models. Assume you will be in a hybrid environment for several years.

8. Participate in standardization efforts from industry bodies

Learn and share with other operators to accelerate your own deployment and benefit the wider industry.

> Cartesian survey report: The Future of Networks: Dealing with transformation in a virtualized world

We conducted over 40 interviews and an online survey with over 100 respondents to reach a cross-section of decision-makers from telecom vendors, system integrators, and communication service providers. We asked about the status of network virtualization, the challenges they are facing, and approaches to overcome them.

Their responses provide a comprehensive overview of the challenges facing an industry undergoing significant transformation.