According to a report from Research and Markets, the Telecom System Integrator Market is primed to grow from USD 16.56 Billion to USD 25.16 Billion, and this growth will be accelerated by the 5G wave with software-driven and service-based architecture holding the promise of a robust disaggregated stack functioning seamlessly. However, this brings risks that are similar to what any un-precedented phenomena would bring; such as Technology Risk, Business Risk, and Compliance Risk. While the jury is out on sizing factors like Business Benefits, Total Addressable Markets, and Smartly Positioning System Integration offerings, clients are looking at a Partner who brings in a material precedent to provide them with comfort and confidence as they navigate through the different risk vectors. In this blog, I would like to make an attempt at how HCL assists the clients’ journey through its Investment-Led approach and in navigating through the different elements of concerns as they embark on the journey of monetizing the promise of 5G technology.
Let’s first freshen up this idea by using this cartoon that highlights a typical business review scenario in the marquee tier-1 system integrator where the business leader questions the sales leaders for not being able to engage with customers in new technology areas like 5G.
The interesting thing to note here is that these customers have been taking the help of system integrators for years. However, in the above case of engaging Telecom Operators on the 5G related areas of investment, the team is faced with the challenge of not having a precedent or case-study proof points to drive a credible conversation. The client’s concern is valid as it’s a live environment with millions of subscribers and tight regulatory compliance SLAs. The natural tendency is to lower risk vectors while selecting a partner for implementation.
Let me share a few genuine concerns and risks that the clients articulate while they take up new technology implementation in a fragmented, dis-aggregated, software-defined, agile world like 5G.
- Technology Risk - With each client looking for validation from other’s experience to check the robustness of the new technology, or technology risk, in a heterogenous environment, a partner with investment in ecosystem players ahead of time and a vendor-neutral standpoint helps to not only evangelize, but also provides the confidence and comfort that the new technology would work seamlessly across the dis-aggregated stack.
- Business Risk – With executives pressured to make a water-tight case for ROI, a partner with multi-vertical use-case understanding can tie in the same into the technology implementation, which can help the customer significantly de-risk the ROI Business Risk factor.
- Compliance Risk – With tight compliance risk regulations around SLAs and performance standards for consumer and enterprise segments, operators would like to work with a partner who has experience in validating and sizing, and tuning for these performance and SLA benchmarks to prevent business risk and compliance risk.
I will take four examples of areas of 5G like <strong>Telco Cloud, Network Automation & Testing, ORAN, Private Networks to lend a practical perspective on how HCL Leadership has taken a Co-Investment and Co-Creating approach in working through the clients’ concerns by demonstrating capability in New Technology areas, while Reducing risk vectors ahead of time.
HCL has invested in co-creating the 5G ecosystem along with partners by investing in a Distributed 5G Lab, Private Network Lab, and ORAN Lab, and deploying passionate 5G & Cloud certified engineers into building an internal IP in a team. The objective clearly is to envision and accelerate the Customers’ 5G journey from use-case visualization, validation, pre-deployment testing, deployment, and post-deployment “single neck to choke” support. The result of this exercise, from HCL’s monetization perspective, could be two-fold based on the customer’s technical adoption & maturity curve.
- Customer groups with larger budgets aligned to buy from OEMs, and already invested in IPs can leverage the Engineering Services aspects – Architecture, Plan, Develop, Test, and Deploy that went into building the IP.
- Customer groups with thinner budgets and who are open to exploring System Integrators can leverage HCL’s IP. Customers would build their system integrator platforms with 60-70% code readiness with accelerated time-to-market.
Let me now walk you through the examples in each of the above areas of IP-led Readiness and Risk Reduction.
- Telco Cloud
The Telco Cloud market is positioned to take off from USD 21.93 Billion in 2019 to USD 62.68 Billion by 2025, with multi-players emerging in this space from OEM vendors, to newer SW-only orchestration and automation vendors, with specific implementation approaches, it’s important to see the woods for trees.
HCL has developed the Blue Genie Telco Cloud Solution with Open-Extensible and modular approach. It aims to walk the “whole nine yards” end-to-end Telco Cloud Journey of Operators. Blue Genie automates the journey from Platform Standup, Deployment and Operations, provides Customized test cases for Platform Validation, Standardized templates and customizations for onboarding Multi-vendor, multi NF / NS deployment with different upgrade cycle, NFV Orchestration integration from Domain, Service Integration to Test Simulation Tools, and Smart AIOps to integrate into Orchestrator platforms for Network Slicing use-cases.
- Network Testing & Automation
With the increasing demand for self-healing, agile, SW-defined networks, the Network automation market is projected to grow from USD 2.9 Billion in 2020 to USD 8.9 Billion in 2025. With a myriad of Network Test and Automation Solutions from OEMs existing in the market and Telecom Service Providers investing in their own development, it is important again to see that the value lies in Open, Extensible Framework, with out-of-the box connectors to Standard Network elements, Tools, and Interfaces in network automation.
HCL Turbo Solution offers AI-driven Test Planning, Automatic Test Orchestrator, Test Visualization and Reporting and Lab Management with applicability across OSS/BSS, Telco Cloud, RAN, SD-WAN, Device Lifecycle Management, and Engineering Test-Bed Management.
- ORAN Integration Validation and Radio Intelligence Controller
The ORAN market is projected to grow to USD 26 Billion in three years’ time. HCL started this initiative with membership in the ORAN community, and it forked out into a larger initiative to establish HCL as a leading ORAN Engineering Services player. HCL then became a partner of choice among O-RU, O-DU, and O-CU vendors in 5G Ecosystem for System Integration, Customization, Radio Conformance, and Interoperability.
HCL has invested in contributing to ORAN RIC Platform, RIC Apps, and ODU. Through this exercise, HCL is not only in a position to understand the specifications to be positioned as vendor-neutral ORAN conformance, but it can also offer this as an IP for Telecom Operator’s Whitebox initiatives.
- Private Network
The 5G Private Network Market is expected to grow from ~ $ 900 M today to approximately $ 7 Billion by 2027. HCL’s private network strategy on 5G technology offers to address the Industry 4.0 need for connecting people, processes, and working environments. HCL has invested in this initiative to establish new revenue streams by offering services and solutions to TSPs, OEMs, ISVs, and enterprises.
With the Shift-left in the System Integration Approach from “boots-on-the ground” to “engineering till the farthest-mile”, in 5G technology HCL is in a unique position to weave together its Strong Engineering DNA, Network Domain and Vertical use-case understanding, and a strong suite of IPs into a Compelling Telco Executive Journey navigating through the risks even as it offers its services to accelerate the monetization value of 5G Technology to Telecom Operators.