Communications Service Providers: Take Note, It's Time for a New Approach

We all have heard the saying that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”.  By those standards, I’d argue that many of today’s IT executives in the Communications Service Provider space are insane.  Faced with a mandate from the business to become more agile and modernize their legacy systems, they’re reverting to the same project methodologies and vendors that were used to build the original legacy systems.

The results?  Not good, if you ask the business people.   A recent survey highlights that IT is still not delivering agility in the eyes of the business.  Things the business needs now (e.g.  deep integration of location and presence, social networking, and application stores) are being put on the back burner while their IT teams struggle to deliver on yesterday’s requirements (e.g. unified customer view, reduction in high order error rates, and a rudimentary use of customer information to guide decisions).

It’s time for a new approach.  At Pega, virtually all of our customers, regardless of industry, have legacy modernization challenges.  Whether its Deutsche Telekom or JPMorgan, these organizations have amassed significant legacy IT assets and are working with Pega to deliver business agility while “wrapping and renewing” the legacy gear.  Their approaches differ in detail, but have some very common themes:

  • They all position Pega on top of their existing systems as an “agility layer” where changes can be rapidly introduced. 
  • They all start their legacy transformation with a “first step”, an initiative where scope is limited, implementation is quick, but the ROI is highly “provable”.  
  • They all leverage Pega to foster a closer collaboration between business and IT teams.
  • They all take a “process-centric” approach, deploying the desired processes and business rules and treating data integration as a means not an end.  They focus only on the absolute required set of data.
  • Once the solution is in place and the ROI is vetted the team moves on to the next, high-value business problem. 
  • The quick time to value? Or “results” drives the momentum. 

Is it working?  Yes.  The business stakeholders at these customers are involved in the solution, and feel empowered to introduce change, as opposed to feeling as if every change will introduce another 3-6 month delay.  For these organizations IT is a responsive partner, and change is a competitive advantage. 

Looking ahead, it’s easy to see how the next few years of hyper-competition in the communications business will be a catalyst for change in IT approaches.  In this new environment today’s ‘conservative’ approaches will very rapidly become the riskiest and most insane way of meeting the business needs.  Don’t be insane.