Operators need to adopt significant organisational and behavioural change if the migration to virtualised networks is to be successful, according to OneAccess CMO Pravin Mirchandani.

Speaking to European Communications, Mirchandani said the current “siloed” service provider model meant the adoption of new systems and services was being hampered as internal management groups jostled over how NFV would be best deployed.

He explained: “Like in any large organisation, there is a large amount of jockeying for position. Different groups look at virtualisation in different ways – the infrastructure guys see this as a way of centralising control, [while] the marketing guys see it as a way to get agility and flexibility in the marketplace.”

“It’s as much an organisational challenge for them as anything else. Most of the operators are siloed – you’ve got the IT silo, the operations silo, the marketing silo, and they each have to cooperate with each other to make things happen, but it tends to happen at a snail’s pace, and it’s this agility that they want to bet back.”

These problems are being compounded by operator lock-in with vendors who are failing to deliver on the NFV promise, Mirchandani claimed.

As a result, those hoping to adopt new vendors or services were faced with the prospect of having to “rip apart” current IT and OSS systems, something many are loath to do.

He commented: “NFV offers the promise of much more agility, much more cost-effective and rapid delivery of services, but [operators] know they can’t rip apart their IT and OSS systems overnight, and this is why I think it will take many, many years for them to get their heads around it.”

According to Mirchandani, the key to clawing back agility is gradual migration. By offering operators an open means of adopting virtual network functions (VNFs) at their own pace as and when they become available, the CMO said existing legacy can remain in-tact and providers can pick and chose from different vendors’ services, without the need to become locked in with certain providers.

Mirchandani was speaking as OneAccess unveiled its new service migration strategy, which includes an open CPE router that enables operators to adopt VNFs without the need for “disruptive” and costly installations of x86 cards.

He said: “The biggest issue [operators] face in introducing a new vendor or new service, or making any sort of change is changing their IT systems. That’s going to be one of the big models that needs to change to enable virtualisation, which is one of the reasons we think service migration is absolutely key”.

According to European Communications’ Q4 SDN/NFV survey, 52 percent of operators said it was their CTO who was in charge of their virtualisation strategy.

European Communications' SDN/NFV survey also found that integrating the technologies with existing/legacy infrastructure was the biggest challenge operators faced.

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