The core of this digital ecosystem

We’re an industry that still has overwhelming demand for what we do. We’re right at the core of this digital ecosystem; we’re in an amazing position. We enable the digital world to really happen, so without understating the issues we have – the value chain issues we have, the disruption we face – we should be proud of the industry we work in. This world becomes digital because of what we do, not despite it.
Phil Jordan
, Group CIO of Telefonica, as quoted here on TM Forum’s Inform platform.

Telco is at the core of the digital world. And OSS is at the core of that core. Nothing happens, or stays happening, without operational tools. And Phil is absolutely right. I’m proud of the industry we work in because of what we enable the rest of the world to do.

The challenge we face is that people have just become so accustomed to the core that it can tend to become overlooked. The core no longer attracts the premium status it once did. The premium goes to the shiny trinkets on the periphery that are much easier to build. What’s an app here or there compared with the years of fundamental physical research that went into developing optical fibres, transistors, satellites, mobile communications? This interesting phenomenon is discussed here in the market cap dichotomy.

But quite the contrary, the thing for us to realise is that the trinkets are perceived to be shiny because they’re perceived to be adding a greater value than the commoditised core. As the OSS industry, we need to be aware that the core is no longer considered by many to be sexy or contributing to their lives like over the top services.

But how do we improve the lives of those that depend on our services, and I’m talking about all the users of communications services, not just operations teams here. The answer lies in understanding the services that these users rely on (eg omnichannel communications, business enablement, entertainment, gathering information, etc) and how we can contributing to them. We can become more relevant to the masses not just be part of the (hidden) core of this digital ecosystem.

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