With competition from every side, service providers must roll out a great many new services and features in the next few years to slake the thirst of overheated markets. We’ve talked about service delivery platforms (SDPs) that can slash the time, cost and risk of doing that, not just for today’s services but by providing a platform for services we haven’t even thought of yet. SDPs also lend a hand with the cost side of the equation, which is helpful because while service providers gamely strive to reach consumers and businesses with every conceivable service on every possible device, they must also improve operational efficiency to align their cost structures with revenues. SDPs help ease capex by employing more enterprise networking devices that on average are far less expensive than telecom equipment, and because their service-oriented architecture (SOA) structures enable service providers to leverage network capacity, content and other service components from a myriad of other sources instead of having to build it all themselves.
In an earlier entry on service delivery platforms (SDPs) I did my best to put the spurs to service providers to crack down on systems integrators running the same horses from their stable of software steeds in every race. On the one hand, you can’t blame the SIs for doing what works. If they have a few long-running, you-wash-my-hand-and-I-wash-yours relationships and the service providers are willing to bet on whatever they bring to post, it saves them from actually auditioning new vendors to jockey for position with the usual suspects.
On the other hand, these comfy feet-in-stirrups arrangements take service providers into an entirely different realm where they continue paying more than they should for “icebergs”: Software products that look manageable on the surface but cost $5 or more in integration for every upfront software license dollar, whose integration headaches and hidden costs can sink your next B/OSS project.