The same could be said of 5G. By various estimates, 5G will very soon be used by over a billion subscribers globally. Yet for many operators, its promises such as massive IoT, low latency, slicing and enterprise addressability remain elusive.
So how might they more effectively bridge the gap between promises and reality?
To answer this question, we need to look again at the vision for 5G. The technology made available by 5G is incredible both in its complexity and its potential, with numerous cloud-native, microservices-driven functions, all able to speak to each other via internet-style interfaces and enrich each other with data to power and evolve amazing new services. For enterprises especially, it brings positive impacts that can multiply automatically and at machine speed. Or at least that’s the idea.
The trouble with reality
The challenge for most service providers has been negotiating the migration between 4G and 5G. In fact, when 5G first appeared, 4G assets hadn’t even reached maturity. So in most territories, 4G will be around for quite some time and continue to roll out whilst 5G emerges and continues to evolve from release to release.
The resultant complexity, as well as potential of 5G are moving targets. The much used (and perhaps overused) analogy of 4G upgrades being like changing an aircraft’s engine while the plane was flying still applies. In the 5G context, perhaps the comparison moves to one of converting a small twin-seater plane into a jumbo jet or even a rocket-ship mid-flight.
While in practice it’s a bit less dramatic, for many organizations the challenge is at least one whereby technologies that became somewhat hardened are difficult to move past because of their reliability during the 3G/4G era. This is not to mention organizational structures, processes and work practices that were somewhat perfected during the 3G/4G era – as well as the common assumption that the same structures, processes and work practices could simply continue in a 5G era. Yet the actual 5G vision is an alternative one, where all parts and technologies of an organization talk fluidly to all others instantaneously – and with the help of enriched data, be encouraged to do so automatically. In this vision, silos are broken down completely.
Focusing on 5G change management
As the complexity of 5G becomes greater still with additional 3GPP releases, how can such complexity be better managed, without the risk of getting further bogged down?
For many service providers, this will require renewed focus on where most value can be derived from 5G as well as a set of focal points for change management. This is a sharpened acknowledgement that within such a rapidly evolving environment, pareto efficiency (or the well-founded 80/20 rule of thumb - meaning 80% of effectiveness is likely to come from 20% of the inputs) most likely also applies to 5G.
The 5G Value Plane with its focus on the key levers of 5G control and monetization, provides a means for efficiency in what is and will continue to be an ever-evolving 5G landscape of opportunity. More than ever, it is enhanced and supported by additional value-levers of enriched data, as well as end-to-end service orchestration and supporting IT. An alternative to the above saying might be “if something is a priority, more gets done”.
In the same spirit, with the 5G Value Plane, Amdocs is looking forward to making 2023 a year of getting more done by helping service providers prioritize across the converging, yet evolving complexity of the 4G/5G landscape.