With CaaS, customers will order connectivity between locations in the same way they order more cloud storage, with the click of a mouse.
CaaS will also make it easier for operators to offer differentiated services to enterprise customers. Operators will be able to expose capabilities such as 5G network slicing to customers. In theory, this will lead to increased revenue for communications service providers (CSPs) because they will be able to charge for new features and capabilities.
Delivering CaaS also will make it easier for developers to create applications with easy connectivity in mind, and CSPs should see some portion of revenue from the increase in usage. Moreover, CSPs should also see OpEx savings because using consistent and standardized processes and service models will result in fewer errors, more automation and frictionless integration with partners.
TM Forum’s research finds that CaaS has plenty of potential. 80% of CaaS survey’s CSP respondents said they see CaaS as an opportunity for growth, while one in five view it as a way of protecting revenue from commoditization. Follow-up discussions with CSPs indicate that they believe a more streamlined, intent-driven process will not only grow existing revenue sources, but also contain costs.
It’s the operating model that allows CSPs to easily add on attributes, management services, bundles, security and more, and therein lies the opportunity.
As networks and IT operations evolve, operators will be able to deliver flexible connectivity – as a service – to enterprises, consumers and partners. This will ensure that it does not become a commodity and will help CSPs become more like digital natives when it comes to customer experience and innovation.
How do we get there?
Implementing CaaS is a complex undertaking and relies on multiple transformation efforts underway within CSPs worldwide, including:
- Deployment of 5G and a cloud-native core
- Creation of platform models and marketplaces
- Migration to digital customer experience
- Adoption of zero-touch partnering
- Deployment of network slicing
- Adoption of intent-based management
- Development of a strategy to provide mobile private networks
Strategies for implementing CaaS
With connectivity-as-as-service not yet fully defined or understood, telecoms providers have an opportunity to turn it into a powerful tool for targeting enterprises. However, they will have to collaborate with many partners to make it happen, from working together to adopt the necessary standards and best practices to enable CaaS, to partnering in digital ecosystems to deliver the capabilities enterprises want. Following are steps CSPs should take to make CaaS a reality.
- Focus on the customer
CSPs have to demonstrate their value and relevance in providing complex connectivity-enabled solutions. Without being able to offer customized connectivity solutions, the telco is a plain vanilla connectivity provider.
- Prioritize projects and learn from NaaS
CaaS implementation should be seen as a result of many ongoing digital transformation efforts including adopting network-as-a-service (NaaS), intent-based management, zero-touch partnering and network slicing. Our view is that CaaS first requires the ability to deliver NaaS and intent-based management.
- Automate partnerships and adopt Open APIs
The process of managing business partnerships is in dire need of automation. For end users to be able to adjust requirements on the fly as envisioned for CaaS, partner interactions, both technical and monetary, must be automated using APIs. TM Forum’s Digital Ecosystem Management Project is working on standards and best practices for automating and managing partnerships.
- Go cloud-native
Delivering CaaS as envisioned likely will require a cloud-native core network. Network operators should continue moving existing network and IT components to the cloud with a goal of implementing cloud-native solutions in the future.
Download TM Forum’s full benchmark report Connectivity-as-a-service