I’m tempted to insert a link here – click if you’re still reading this blog – because rumour has it that when the word “platform” appears in a technology conversation, the usual reaction among participants is “run”. In the opposite direction.
That’s a problem, because if you’re not still reading then you’re probably in trouble or at least in self-denial (not, as you’re no longer reading, that you’d know it). So, in the last blog, I said “billing mediation is dead”. Now, I’m stating that “platforms are the new black”. Still with me? Here’s why.
Platforms are the new black because in the Digital Service Provider era, data (integration and management) requirements demand horizontality.
That is not to deny that the shift from legacy infrastructures needs for logical reasons to start from what the CSP already has in terms of vertically siloed technology applications, skills, and organizational models but it is to recognise that the point of departure will be significantly different from the desired destination. So yes, you (the CSP) most likely has significant investments in legacy but almost certainly it will need to evolve them to support the hybrid dimensions of its desired future data architecture.
It’s important to get one thing straight at the outset. This does not mean legacy investments have reached their sell-by date. But it does mean that your next buying decisions should be focused on extending rather than simply augmenting (by which I mean just adding another siloed box to address a single Use Case) legacy.
Put another way, the road to DSP requires incrementally deploying additional applications that are needed to fill the gaps in your incumbent integration infrastructure, as required by changing business priorities and application project requirements. This need not mean an endless array of additional investments if the right approach is taken. And the right approach limits not only the number of boxes but the damage to your budget too.
The goal here is to provide interoperability and a degree of life cycle management, governance and IT operations homogeneity across the different building blocks of a data integration and management infrastructure. Yes, the approach to this might be to acquire multiple different building blocks. But we recommend that another, better one would be to take a “horizontal” track Why?
Horizontality recognises that the integration of applications, data, elements, and delivery models is reliant on water drawn from a common well. That being the case, how does rigidly adhering to the siloed enabling technology purchasing values of the pre-digital era make any sense? If PCRF, Billing Mediation, OSS Optimization, Cloud and IoT Enablement and other cases all have shared requirements and data sources then why acquire five (or more) vertically deployed boxes to address them? The answer for those who do is, presumably, “because that’s what I’m used to”.
Familiarity, of course, breeds nothing like contempt. And contempt rarely solves either technical problems or helps to increase revenues. And it almost never leads to the best outcomes.
If you’re in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress next week, understanding “horizontality” should, if you're a CTO or applications infrastructure leader, be a priority. Click the link below if you’d to have a brief chat about what the roadmap to your envisioned profitable and effective digital infrastructure might look like. We’d be happy to share our thoughts, expertise, and experience.
If you want to continue this conversation personally in Barcelona, why not click here to book a meeting? Otherwise, look out for the next blog in our series.
Keith Brody is head of communications and product marketing at DigitalRoute