Beyond the Basic Transformation: How Business and Workforce Evolves

Workforce Transformation is a theme discussed across all organizations. Companies must transform with technology, even if technology is not what they do.

Even companies that have consistently demonstrated excellence in delivering technology-based solutions are at-risk, as the underlying architectures that they have built their businesses on change. The competitive pace of change creates internal pressure to adapt systems and processes. This often leads to unintended skill gaps. Many of these organizations feel like they are behind and cannot keep up.

Let’s consider Telecommunications Service Providers as one segment representative of this change. They provide the backbone of the Internet, and the critical access and mobile infrastructure so the rest of the world can continue on their transformation journey. All businesses today are built on the Internet and cloud technologies. Industries have embraced this mobility as a critical means of connecting to services, customers and partners. While 3G and 4G/LTE technologies were designed and used as an enabler of high-speed mobile data to the eventual smartphone and tablet, with the advent of 5G, vertical industries will look towards a new age of mobility as a foundation for their future success. To capitalize on this trend organizations must transform operational and organizational models to maximize the full potential of 5G. This is especially true with new opportunities at the edge.

Organizations must focus on aligning technology and organizational strategy. This will ensure they not only exist in the next 5 years, but also grow.

Dell EMC sees 4 pillars of Telecom Transformation:

  1. Network Modernization
  2. IT & BSS/OSS Transformation
  3. Digital Growth & Transformation
  4. Workforce Initiatives

To place this into context, it is worth considering what has shaped existing organizations. The scale, composition and structure of telecom organizations represents one of the defining features of the industry. This legacy has been shaped over time by diverse physical network functions, hierarchical systems management, regulatory & compliance restrictions and other industry specific issues. The telecommunications industry has continually endured massive technology shifts and adapted to new business models; however, the rate of change and the pace of disruption only continue to accelerate.

Stepping back and examining the larger picture reveals a multitude of technology disruptions taking shape simultaneously within the industry. Network virtualization, OSS & BSS modernization, real-time analytics and advanced telemetry have been underway for some time. To this, planners and strategists must add 5G, other radio technologies (such as WiFi 6 and CBRS), new IoT paradigms and further disaggregation of access and edge networks. Underpinning all these changes are the ever-present currents of openness and open source. Taken together, these present challenges to any organization striving to adapt and reinvent itself.

In particular, the widespread belief is that public cloud operating models (massively-scaled within centralized data centers) have solved the challenges facing the Telco Cloud. However, the industry continues to identify requirements at all layers – from facilities to infrastructure to skill sets to processes – that are unique. This learning is important – Public Cloud is not a “lift-and-shift” to Telco Cloud. Public cloud has solved the challenge of deploying tens of thousands of things at single-digit facilities – expanding those to hundreds of things at thousands of disparate facilities is a different problem space. Remote management, automation, orchestration, and operations are unique problems to Telco Cloud.

Furthermore, Public Cloud is built on standardization of a single resource building block. Standardized servers are made available in standardized racks, replicated across data center rows. Those rows are replicated across the data center. This homogeneous architecture meets the needs of the majority of tenants. The Telco Cloud, especially closer to the edge, is more heterogeneous, and the difficulty of reaching facilities requires that the right architectures and right capabilities are made available in as few iterations as possible.

With this in mind, implementing workforce programs designed to acquire new skills, change the culture and embrace innovation is critical for success. Returning to our themes of transformation, it is worth pointing out that the first 3 pillars all have in common the workforce consideration. This is pervasive throughout the entire company and as such, must be a top priority for the leadership team.

For example, traditional job roles may no longer align to business driven technology adoption. The ability to redefine roles and offer training programs designed for these new challenges should be leadership initiated. Today many organizations are focused on career skills that encompass web development, data science and analysis, advanced programming, cloud computing and API design, all within the construct of dev ops and agile methodology.

While this may seem at face value to be an internal set of challenges, the reality is that the problem statement can be recast to reflect a rapidly shifting external world that to some extent must be embraced, harnessed and brought within the organization in a meaningful way.

Dynamics at play between external and internal forces (see graphic) can be characterized as follows:

  • New technologies, communities and ecosystems are driving an innovation wave throughout the industry.
  • Maximizing this potential requires new models of interacting, adopting and embracing these currents of opportunity.
  • A variety of traditional modes of operation can impede or create pressure on acquiring innovation.
  • An implicit acceptance of mismatched operating models introduces paralysis.

In other words, it’s not just technology for the sake of technology – it’s about operational excellence.

But that is where Dell Technologies comes in — we can help with this transformation from the inside-out. So where does this transformation start?

In this series of blogs, we will further explore how Dell Technologies can help Telecom Service Providers meet the challenges of transformation by focusing on people first. This is a journey, much like many others today, but the destination is the Digital Workforce. Having an employee base that thrives within a cloud first model will be the true engine for industry growth.

Kevin Shatzkamer

About the Author: Kevin Shatzkamer

Kevin Shatzkamer is Vice President and General Manager, Service Provider Strategy and Solutions at Dell Technologies with responsibility for strategy and architectural evolution of the intersection points of network infrastructure technologies, cloud and virtualization platforms, and software programmability. His organizational responsibility encompasses industry strategy and investment analysis, business development and go-to-market activities, technical architecture and engineering, and infrastructure evolution / futures-planning. He is also responsible for leading the Dell Technologies 5G strategy in close collaboration with industry-leading telecommunications providers globally. Mr. Shatzkamer represents Dell Technologies on the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Futures Council on New Network Technologies (5G-related). Mr. Shatzkamer's ecosystem-wide, experience-centric approach to working with customers allows for the identification and exploitation of synergies between disparate organizations to derive new technology / business models for the mobile industry, especially as “5G” defines transformation from technical architecture to ecosystem and service offerings. With over 20 years of industry experience, Mr. Shatzkamer joined Dell EMC in 2016, with prior experience at Brocade (Service Provider CTO, Head of Brocade Labs) and Cisco (Distinguished Systems Engineer). He holds more than 50 patents related to all areas of work. He received a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Florida, a Master’s of Business Administration from Indiana University, and a Master’s of System Design and Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mr. Shatzkamer is a regular speaker at industry forums and has published two books discussing the architectures and technologies shaping the future of the Mobile Internet (2G, 3G, and 4G networks), from RAN to services.