2015 may be the Chinese Year of the Goat but according to The New IP latest reader poll, it's going to be a year fraught with challenges for global service providers. Those challenges include: enterprise cloud, cyber security, Internet of Things (IoT), network transition, regulation and finding the right talent.
Specifically, 34% of respondents selected "All of the above," to our Flash Poll asking them to vote on the top industry challenge for 2015. "All of the above" is never a good sign, but considering the rapid changes that took place in 2014 in the industry and the changes still required, you can't deny that voters have a point. (See 2015 Industry Horoscope.)
Taking second place in the poll with 20% was network transition and moving to a software-centric network. Indeed, service providers are facing a big challenge here with the prospect of operational costs, a years-long journey, staff and skill requirements, open APIs and the shift to a DevOps model.
Luigi Licciardi, head of Standards, IPR & Research Coordination at Telecom Italia Group affirmed this challenge at TM Forum's Digital Disruption event when he said understanding the intelligence already in a fixed network, and how to transform that network into something that is more agile and can follow different customer and services requirements is the number one challenge of today's service providers as they move to software-defined networking (SDN). (See Top SDN Challenges for Operators.)
Third place in the poll went to cyber security with 16% of the vote. Certainly, cyber security will remain a challenge for years to come, but with President Obama announcing new cyber security legislative proposals and efforts on the heels of the most recent cyber-attack on Sony in December, this year cyber security will remain a top challenge for providers.
Internet of Things took 12% of the vote, nearly tied with enterprise cloud, which took 10%. This was not surprising since the two are closely tied together and even more so when adding in analytics as noted by Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp., in his latest blog. (See A Different View of IoT.)
Only 4% of voters chose regulators as the most important challenge for 2015 but in the US, at least, regulation may grab center stage, as the Obama administration looks to go out in a blaze of broadband glory. President Obama's push for cities and counties to create their own broadband networks -- on Tuesday, he called for the Federal Communications Commission to push back laws in the 19 states, and spelled out other federal moves to foster the development of those networks -- and the bigger storms swirling around net neutrality may come to a head this year. (See Obama Rocks Broadband World Again , Redefining Broadband Could Vex Carriers and Broadband Politics Won't Slow The New IP.)
Last on the list with only 4% of the vote was "Finding new skills, and ways to retrain and train." We have been hearing about the challenge of finding the right skillsets to meet the demands of The New IP for a while, and service providers and suppliers themselves seem to be the first to admit they are facing a talent crunch, especially considering the fact that cloud and virtualization is making it possible for large companies to become mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).
No matter how you divide it up though, 2015 is going to be one interesting year. So to kick it off, I'm asking readers for their vote on the biggest Enterprise IT challenge for 2015. (See The Enterprise IT Challenge) Check it out and vote today.
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Editor, The New IP