These uncertain times have moved us into the digital society of the future far quicker than anyone could have imagined. COVID-19 is amplifying the importance of connectivity as an essential aspect of our lives. Keeping people connected remotely and offering entertainment and learning solutions are now case studies for the future of communications.
And now? There will be no going back to the traditional connected world we had before COVID-19. Consumers everywhere will expect refined versions of digital solutions they are using during this time, with faster updates and rollout of new experiences.
This means service providers must transform to become more agile. If not, they won’t exist in the eyes of consumers. At Amdocs, we’ve been evolving our research and development (R&D) practice to focus on three key areas, people, processes and tools, to ensure our customers can successfully make this journey.
Identifying challenges within our organization
In early 2017, we saw the need for better solutions in our R&D technologies and processes. For example, a critical part of any customer relationship is the feedback loop. To ensure goals are met, you have to be transparent about what you’re doing, what needs to be changed and what new technologies must be implemented. In the past, getting this feedback to our R&D teams could take more than two years. And with technology evolving at a rapid pace, we knew this had to change.
Beyond this, we also knew the competitive pressure from digital-native players would push communications service providers to launch new products and services for consumers quicker. If our customers were expected to move fast, then so were we. This required us to streamline our processes between product and delivery until projects were in production.
The future required a technology transformation
We worked closely with major Silicon Valley companies and industry experts to ensure we were adopting best-in-class processes instead of just in-house technology investments. When upgrading our technology, we re-platformed our product portfolio to be open, modular and cloud-agnostic based on a domain-driven design approach.
Adopting new methodologies such as cloud-native technologies, microservices and embracing DevSecOps and SRE concepts were the next logical step in preparing for the future. By using open source, inner source, industry standards and compliances, embedded AI and the latest CI/CD tools in our product development process, we gained the flexibility to move quickly. From our learnings, we developed a state-of-the-art platform, MS360, to manage all aspects of developing microservices.
As a result, we were able to increase release frequency from three to 12 times a year due to more closely aligned product and project team collaboration. By leveraging these new capabilities, customer adoption time was reduced from weeks to days, with more than 100% improvements year-over-year. We also saw a 20% increase in time-to-production, which is critical for our deliveries in the present.
Preparing for the next-generation workforce
We believe that the best people in the industry want to be working with automated and intelligent processes to ensure they’re growing at the pace of the technology. As we move towards technological singularity, where technology’s growth becomes uncontrollable, we’d be left behind if we stuck with classic practices and siloed organizations.
With this in mind, we led employee reskilling efforts in areas like continuous integration and continuous delivery for DevOps best practices, automation and site reliability engineering (SRE) to improve production-related operations of the applications developed. This led to a restructuring of our R&D model to maximize efficiencies.
By doing this, we saw a 50% increase in R&D velocity on a year-over-year basis by embracing these areas. It also helped us to garner the attention of Generation-Z talent and bring new knowledge into the company that everyone could leverage. Gen-Z specifically want to work in a supportive atmosphere with amazing people. Embracing this talent pool is especially important to us. Beyond new technologies that interest them, we have graduate programs that allow them to see new methodologies first-hand, and focus all of our company efforts around making a societal difference through technology.
Prepared for what comes next
We believe in delivering the best products that communications service providers can easily use to enhance their customers’ digital experience. By re-focusing people, processes and methodologies, our offerings and roadmap are more relevant than ever; especially at this critical turning point for the industry.
Learn more about Amdocs’ R&D transformation.