Managing network abundance

Abundance is not something we acquire. It is something we tune into.”
Wayne Dyer
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Have you noticed that in many developed countries, CSP services have recently flipped from scarcity to abundance situations? Bandwidth, storage, compute, applications, content, etc all saw premiums in the past because demand outweighed restrictions in supply. But in recent times, this has flipped to an over-supply of associated products / services. And where there is abundance of any readily substitutable product / service (eg bandwidth), there is a tendency towards commoditisation.

From the 1950’s til recently, there was a captive audience for mass-marketing via radio, TV, etc. With limited sources of content (ie channels), marketers were able to saturate the airwaves with advertising, safe in the knowledge that they would reach consumers and convince them to buy. Today, the number of content sources is almost unlimited, so it is nearly impossible to carpet-bomb consumers with your advertising messages.

Commoditisation reduces brand power just when content diversification also reduces an organisation’s ability to advertise its way to brand power.

Interestingly, OSS business cases and vendor marketing tends to focus on the cost-out approach (eg automation). But this seems like a vicious cycle to me as it promotes a race to the bottom (ie ever-reducing customer charges) by competing CSPs.

The original OSS concepts were developed in times of greater product/service scarcity (and profitability) amongst CSPs. They weren’t as time sensitive, they managed capacity in fixed increments, they had a relatively pre-defined functionality sets, they serviced the CSP‘s needs and they were manageable by people.

In today’s abundance environment, they need to be real-time, they need to support high elasticity, they need to provide evolving insights, they need to service the needs of the CSP‘s customers and the escalating volume of events/transactions make them nearly impossible to manage without machine-based decision support.

In a period of abundance and niche brands, our OSS need to engineer scarcity situations that help deliver uniqueness and innovation to our customer’s customers rather than commoditisation to our customers.

How can you make your customers (CSPs) profitable by making their customers unique and profitable in an otherwise abundant / commoditised world? Which parts of their business models are we going to bring sustainable advantages to? Our CSPs can’t just deliver bitstreams to their customers. They have to deliver business enhancement tools to remain relevant.

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