A recent report titled “When Will NFV Cross the Chasm” contained the results of a survey that was given to communication service providers. I had a good “discussion” with a respected analyst in October regarding why service providers are going to NFV – I argued that the top reason was CAPEX and OPEX reduction since those are the types of discussions I end up having with service providers, and she argued it was service velocity. Well, if you believe the results of this survey, then we are both wrong! But I guess I’m more wrong than she is.
The top reason, according to this survey, is business agility, that is, enabling the company to adapt to new business or market conditions. Having a software-based approach, or even a cloud-based approach at that, will surely enable quicker turns compared to the oil tanker approach of today. Service velocity, or reducing the time it takes to go from concept to a deployed new service is next, followed closely by OPEX reduction.
This survey also talked about the inhibitors to deploying NFV today. Organizational barriers and employee skills were cited as the top 2 issues. This makes sense. I’ve been in, and seen how many big companies behave. In many big companies, status quo is a great way to go, especially if you are a top manager or even a middle manager making a good salary. They want to keep everything the same so they keep getting paid. But change may disrupt that, which is not good if you get changed out. Employees also know the products that are deployed, and they know how to service them, etc. and changing them up causes more work. So they resist changing. Overall, this is not a new issue for any new technology. But with change comes opportunity. So over a short period of time, this issue will resolve itself one way or another.
To find out more about NFV deployment, read the “NFV Network Functions – Key Considerations for Profitability” whitepaper by Jim Metzler.