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Recently I had the pleasure of hosting Microsoft’s most recent Telecommunications digital forum. The focus of this 60-minute online event was empowering the telco journey to the cloud, with a focus on the migration of data and business support system (BSS) workloads to realize operational efficiencies, simplify organization-wide access to insights, and better inform new product and service innovation.

Joining me for the forum were George Glass, the Chief Technology Officer of TM Forum, and Ronen Fischler, the Head of the Data Intelligence Business Unit at Amdocs. Both George and Ronen brought a tremendous amount of Telco industry and technology experience to the conversation, and I sincerely thank them for sharing their insights and perspective with the group.

If you missed its initial broadcast on January 18, 2021, you can watch the forum on-demand.

As the rollout of 5G continues, service providers must also continue to evolve their BSS workloads—including operations, network management, sales and marketing, customer care, and billing—to quickly define, deploy, and optimize new offerings that will realize the full business potential of 5G-enabled services. Carriers can simplify these workloads, reduce costs, increase productivity, realize efficiencies, and increase organizational agility through intelligent processes and automation on a trusted and secure cloud.

As described by TM Forum’s George Glass during the digital forum, “Operators will be moving their applications to the public cloud. I say that with confidence because I come from an operator background myself, and I know the amounts of money that we could invest in the data center, and it pales into insignificance compared to the amounts the hyper-cloud providers are investing in their capability for the virtualized infrastructure of the public cloud.” George also commented, “What I heard 3 or 4 or 5 years ago when we talked about the movement to the cloud, there were all of the excuses of those who were reluctant to go there. They would cite concerns over data privacy or data security or not knowing where the data was going to be. Many of those concerns and worries have been allayed with the technology and the security that’s offered by the public cloud.”

The migration of BSS workloads to the cloud can also enable a data-driven culture by simplifying access to insights across all groups and teams to better monitor business performance, predict outcomes, and make more informed decisions. Automated processes and data-driven insights can accelerate innovation and reduce time-to-market by speeding new service design, testing, and deployment. And as data captured at the edge grows exponentially, it will be essential to unlock insights by automating the ingestion, unification, enrichment, segmentation, and activation of product, service, and customer data.

Carriers can further use predictive analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and real-time insights to deliver highly-personalized messaging and experiences that rapidly connect customers with the most pertinent products and services, increasing satisfaction and building long-term loyalty. Data-enabled AI and chatbots can also augment traditional customer service channels to improve responsiveness and expedite issue resolution.

“The operators absolutely understand the necessity and the potential of AI,” said Ronen Fischler of Amdocs. “They understand that AI and machine learning are what’s going to create the difference in the way they can personalize the experience for the customer, the way they can promote new products and new tools, and the way they introduce new networks. 5G makes it a necessity to analyze things and do machine learning in real-time. It’s become a must.”

Again, you can now watch the Telecommunications digital forum on-demand. It’s well worth an hour of your time, as I’m sure you will find George and Ronen’s insights and perspective as compelling as I did.

Microsoft empowers telecommunications organizations to achieve more with our trusted and secure platform supported by a comprehensive partner ecosystem with industry-leading solutions for workplace modernization, OSS/BSS, network management, customer experiences, and the development of new products and services.

Learn more about intelligent telecommunications to see how Microsoft and our partners have increased productivity, streamlined operations, optimized networks, and accelerated innovation for the likes of AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Telstra, NTT, Telia, and Vodafone.