3 minute read 5 Apr 2021
Aerial drone view of a cellular tower

How visibility is getting in the way of your network deployment strategy

By Matthew Robinson

EY Global Associate Partner, Business Operations Lead, Technology, Media and Telecommunications

Transforming enterprise business models and connecting society using 5G and future network technologies. Closing the digital divide to build a better working world.

3 minute read 5 Apr 2021
Related topics TMT Telecommunications

Successful network deployment is all about optimizing the right resources in the right place at the right time, to deliver a robust network. 

This article is part of the EY NextWave Telecommunications Journal

In brief:
  • Network deployment today requires much more than simply dispatching an engineer to do the work.
  • Network deployment needs to become more efficient and agile than ever. 

What are the foundations of network deployment itself? And why is it important to get them in place before building on top of them? Let’s explore the subject a little bit.

In my role, I’m fortunate enough to work with some great clients and see a wide range of network deployment requirements and challenges. I’m also lucky enough to help deliver some truly transformative business outcomes. From this vantage point, I’d like to share with you some of our recent observations and opinions – and provide a point-in-time perspective on how I believe telcos can start to accelerate network deployment.

The benefit of experience

Network deployment is all about delivering a solution out into the field – but today it requires much more than simply dispatching an engineer to do the work. Whether the deployment is a complete rollout of new hardware and software or an infrastructure migration, it’s crucial to have a solid strategy in place, a clear process and a wide range of resources available.

Due to the challenges many telcos currently face around budget constraints, network deployment needs to become more efficient and agile than ever. We’ve quickly learned that by applying some of the proven practices that have come from other areas of the supply chain – where, for some time now, every single aspect of the network has had to be optimized – we can help to bring fresh thinking to what has traditionally been an engineering function.

Additionally, while it’s perhaps true of any transformation today, we’ve learned that the best place to start with network deployment is with the client’s strategic priorities. Then, it’s important to create a vision and plan that aligns to those strategic priorities and define what you need to do to fulfil it. It’s also vital to work out how to make the most of the infrastructure you’ve already got in place.

Experience has shown us that defining an end-to-end network evolution road map, measurable deployment targets and an integrated process model is crucial. And we’ve discovered the value of gaining end-to-end visibility for all of the assets in the field in order to understand exactly how they’re utilized – which also means they can be easily redeployed if the situation or customer requirement changes.

Optimizing network deployment

In recent years, we have been helping our clients implement new ways of working so that network deployment becomes more efficient, more structured, more predictable and ultimately far simpler. We are helping to create clear paths from defining strategies to delivering against them.

This has translated into a network deployment model that encompasses how you’re going to build the infrastructure and roll it out; manage the thousands of contractors involved with executing the plan; and manage the equipment, inventory (both virtual and physical) and end-of-life processes. It’s a truly end-to-end model – and that’s what network operators of today require.

The foundations of change

Regardless of whether we’re dealing with a traditional fixed fiber network, software defined network (SDN), mobile network or network- as-a-service, the very foundation of deployment needs to be end-to-end visibility. Add to this full traceability of how an organization’s network inventory, data and vendors impact on their various product and service offerings – and it makes it much easier for Chief Network Officers to meet their customers’ needs.

Typically, customers will engage with us when they are experiencing pain points within one of the following areas:

  1. Visibility: Often, a telco’s operational view of its disparate assets is incomplete
  2. Cost: Network deployment has become far more expensive over the years
  3. Environment: Many telcos now have sustainability and green targets high on the agenda
  4. Agility: Dealing with disruption is something we’ve all had to face recently

We focus on developing the processes and capabilities you need from a commercial and organizational perspective to deploy networks and infrastructure efficiently and with agility. From our initial maturity assessment all the way through to service implementation, we bring all the elements of network deployment together – delivering everything you need to enable long-term programs that offer:

1. Cost savings

Achieved by avoiding Capex, increasing budget and providing a robust network with fewer issues.

2. Speed of deployment

By providing a common plan that everyone can work toward, making it easier to deliver change on time.

3. Waste reduction

We typically aim for 10% waste reduction, but we’ve recently been able to support the re-use of 30%-40% of equipment instead of it being scrapped.

We have the experience of working through the design and implementation of a new operating model to deliver the capability required to fill any gaps that are identified. We also strive to drive in-life savings to help ensure that any new solutions self-fund.

Summary

Visibility and traceability may seem like basic elements, but they’re key to everything. They give you the agility to adapt to market changes and quickly harness the power of new technologies. They enable you to grow and scale with confidence.

About this article

By Matthew Robinson

EY Global Associate Partner, Business Operations Lead, Technology, Media and Telecommunications

Transforming enterprise business models and connecting society using 5G and future network technologies. Closing the digital divide to build a better working world.

Related topics TMT Telecommunications