It takes vision, confidence, a high tolerance for risk, and a big pile of cash to become an early adopter of a transformative technology. Yes, the rewards are great, but so are the risks. This has been particularly true of transformations from physical network functions to VNFs.
Technical challenges such as security, orchestration, and integration with OSS systems are difficult barriers to surmount. So are "soft barriers," such as integrating the individual components, support, and migration from legacy systems.
Significantly improving business agility and operational effeciency
Well, the investment of those early adopters has started to pay off. Operators such as Telefonica, Swisscom, and NTT Docomo have lowered capex by 30% and opex by 25%. They have reduced onboarding time from weeks to minutes. And they are significantly improving their business agility and operational efficiency.
However, a key concern for operators without the deep pockets of the early adopters is whether there is yet a business case for them to adopt NFV. It's an excellent question.
Industry analysts like Heavy Reading and TBR Research have asked that question many times over the years, and last year they finally projected a tipping point in NFV adoption, with 72% of telco operators stating that NFV is either essential or very important to their network strategy over the next 2 years.
Follow the early adopters. Now.
We agree with them. At Ericsson, we have been industrializing, re-inventing, and transforming our technologies, operations, and business model multiple times in our 140-year history. This has made it possible for us to help several Tier 1 operators across the globe virtualize their network functions and transform the rest of their business. That experience with the day-to-day challenges of virtualizing network functions led us to define several recommendations.
Our first recommendation is that you follow the early adopters in transforming your physical network functions. Now.
Want to know more about the adoption of NFV among service providers, and why adoption is projected to increase?
For more information on barriers, read first eBrief: NFV strategy, from trial to commercial operation.