When it comes to digital transformation, an interesting paradox exists for Communication Service Providers (CSPs): great demand has been placed on their networks by over-the-top players, content providers and even device manufacturers, forcing providers to focus their efforts on network infrastructure projects to keep pace. At the same time, CSPs haven’t been able to concentrate on their own digital product and service offerings. While most of the world is moving to digital, CSPs have been hindered from implementing the necessary strategies and technologies to capitalize on this growing movement. Market demands have forced them to enable this shift while they anxiously watch from the sidelines—awaiting their turn. Now, the tide is turning as the capacity and cost efficiencies that providers have built into their networks are allowing them to re-focus and get in front of the digital transformation imperative.
I speak to service providers every week about the competitive pressures they face and their desire to enhance the increasingly digital lifestyle of their subscribers. Providers understand that they need to sync digital service capabilities with people, processes and systems across their entire business—meaning they need to involve their networking and security people along with the marketing group, customer service, finance, legal and every other department that has a customer touchpoint. Only after they enable a holistic view of the subscriber across all organizational functions can they deliver personalized, value-added services that strengthen subscriber loyalty and grow revenues. And they are eager to do so.
There are challenges in uniting these teams, however, due to the inherent diversity in the functions they perform and the systems they use to deliver value to subscribers—which is where DNS software plays a crucial role.
DNS is at the core of digital transformation
DNS exists at such a deep level in the network that it is often overlooked—and even dismissed—as a low-level protocol that just maps names and IP addresses. That depth is one of its greatest strengths, making it the ideal element that CSPs are now leveraging to unify the people, systems and functions required to deliver the digital lifestyle their customers demand. No longer a mere network utility, DNS is now at the heart of digital transformation, operating as an active, intelligent resource to deliver new, value-added subscriber services.
Since DNS connects IP addresses with application and service requests, it is now being leveraged across many organizations within service provider businesses to create value. It can be used to secure the network, protect subscribers, create high-value, premium offerings like parental control, and enable interactive communications that reach virtually 100% of subscribers in a timely and convenient manner. In this way, DNS is a high-performance service enabler that meets CSPs’ needs for flexibility and scalability, while accelerating their ability to deliver subscriber-centric services that create new streams of revenue and grow market share. It is the common link that ties network, security, support and marketing teams together to deliver digital transformation faster and at a much lower cost.
Sue Rudd of Strategy Analytics has an interesting perspective on DNS and recently sat down with me to discuss the drivers of digital transformation and the advantages DNS offers in enabling CSPs to capitalize on this movement. Click the image below to see a short video snippet of our conversation.
Service and technology agility are key
As Sue points out, digital transformation requires a more flexible, extensible IT architecture to speed time to market of new service innovations—whether developed internally or externally. Key to this requirement is complementing existing IT systems with more lightweight, agile platforms that support simplified digital offers and experiences.
As this movement began to unfold a few years ago, Nominum concluded that our DNS technology could be enhanced with an extensible platform to address these new requirements and enable service providers to leverage their core DNS assets to meet their subscribers’ new digital lifestyle demands. The development of our N2 application suite—which offers network performance and protection, subscriber safety, parental controls and personalized messaging—has become just that: a way for service providers to leverage their existing infrastructure to create and promote greater subscriber value and set themselves apart from other players. This is essential as their competition has evolved from other service providers to the over-the-top vendors that have set a much higher user experience standard.
Through hard-won, real-world experience over the past five years, we discovered how to apply critical technical elements like intelligent policies across individual devices at massive scale. Like many of the technical hurdles we’ve overcome, this was not an easy problem to solve, but we now have approximately 70 Nominum N2 application deployments with 50 carriers in 30 countries worldwide that demonstrate the success of our extensible DNS platform. This real-world experience was of paramount importance to overcoming the many technical challenges inherent in building an intelligent and extensible DNS platform. As the digital transformation movement evolves, we’re continuously innovating—putting our team of data science experts and DNS engineers to the task of addressing provider demands for an enhanced subscriber-driven experience.
In Sue Rudd’s latest white paper “Accelerating Digital Transformation for Communication Service Providers,” the Nominum N2 platform and application suite are described as being unique in four areas that are instrumental to digital transformation:
- Service providers and subscribers gain real-time control over services. For example, families set filters that are activated instantly to match their content preferences.
- Integrated IP service management provides simplified management of one platform with unified interfaces for monitoring and provisioning.
- Converged solutions ensure subscribers receive the same experience regardless of the network or device they are currently using—whether LTE/cellular, Wi-Fi, cable, DSL or fiber; or smartphone, tablet, e-reader, wearable, laptop or PC.
- Personalized user access empowers households to create their own unique ‘view’ of the Internet and customize settings for every device in the home.
The digital transformation paradox is now being reversed as forward-thinking service providers continue to establish themselves at the forefront of this global movement. In the most simplistic sense, digital transformation is the process of moving away from enhancing the way subscribers interact with a service provider’s network, toward enhancing the way service providers support subscribers’ digital lifestyles. Given its place at the heart of the Internet and its ability to unite CSP teams on one common platform, DNS should be given serious consideration by any service provider wanting to accelerate this transformation. For more information, download the complete white paper.