In my last blog post, we examined some of the barriers which are holding back market growth for M2M as a new revenue opportunity for Telcos. Some of the key challenges the industry is facing include the complexity of eco-system due to market fragmentation, absence of enterprise ready applications, lack of proven business case and post-deployment management issues. In this post, let's consider how System Integrators like Wipro can help telecom operators overcome some of these challenges.
M2M is a rapidly evolving phenomenon and operators are still figuring out the best way to realize its full potential as the new revenue stream. Action on the M2M landscape has shifted from individual players talking about themselves to a partnership based approach. While this signals growing maturity of M2M as technology, the landscape becomes even murkier with lack of standardization and an unclear approach to delivering impactful benefits to enterprise customers. More and more of these services are aimed at streamlining enterprise customers' internal operations rather than enabling them to unlock new sources of revenue. In addition, there seems to be no focus on development of industry-specific vertical applications.
Under such uncertainties, what can a Telco do to ensure that it doesn't miss the bus on M2M revenue realization? The answer to this question lies in re-evaluating what they can offer to their enterprise customers aside from basic connectivity and a limited set of integration and managed services. As I contemplate more and more on this subject, one thing becomes clear; system integrators (SIs) are poised to play a critical role in the M2M value chain:
- Mind the gap between technology and business solutions: One of the biggest challenges to M2M adoption, the gap is real. Telcos have to be mindful of it and look at ways to bridge it. Enterprises want business value, Telcos can offer technology value. How this technology value can be translated into business value is the question. SIs can help Telcos bridge the gap effectively not only by plugging the integration points between M2M applications and enterprise applications, but also by providing a packaged M2M solution that reduces time-to-market and cost-to-serve. Another important element to consider is the role telcos can play in helping solution providers realize a data analytics engine, as part of the M2M platform
- Convert the eco-system threat into an opportunity: M2M ecosystem is as complex as it can get. With device vendors, middleware and management platforms, application providers, network operators and so on, there are simply too many players to cope with. SIs can convert this mind boggling threat into an opportunity by bringing together a flock of eco-system partners, which can deliver an end-to-end solution to an industry challenge. In my opinion, this is only beginning to take shape and I believe that a critical mass will be reached when Telcos realize the importance of a systemic approach that enterprises prefer vis-à-vis a silo-ed approach to M2M rollout.
- Bring post-deployment management into equation: The solution benefits do not end with a successful launch. It is only the beginning of a journey. If post-deployment management is not planned in advance, serious challenges in operations can not only lead to revenue loss, but also cripple market growth. Operations support, managed services, infrastructure support and business process management are often run as disparate initiatives in a Telco leading to spiraling operating costs and degrading service quality. SIs can help Telcos alleviate this by leveraging their experience of delivering post-deployment services.
The industry is headed in the right direction, and SI's are already playing a crucial role as facilitators. A crucial next step is collaboration between telcos and SI's to establish some successful POCs. In this series of blog posts on M2M, I will keep writing more as the market and landscape evolves for M2M.