AUSTIN -- Big Communications Event -- While the New IP world has many unknowns when it comes to change, one thing is certain: Communications service providers must change in order to keep up with the demands of a social, mobile, analytics- and cloud-driven economy. However, at BCE, the debate around how to change and what to change showed no sign of abating.
In fact, during Wednesday's keynote session, Carol Wilson, editor-at-large of Light Reading, hosted a star-studded panel focused on the topic. Her panelists included James Feger, Vice President, Infrastructure Support, CenturyLink; Jeff Finkelstein, Executive Director, Network Architecture, Cox Communications; Doug Junkins, Chief Technology Officer, NTT Innovation Institute Inc.; Don MacNeil, Chief Technology Officer, EdgeConneX; Tim Naramore, Chief Technology Officer, Masergy; and Randy Nicklas, EVP, Engineering and CTO; Windstream.
Carol Wilson's panelists offering sage-like advice on change. (From left: Wilson, Feger, Finkelstein, Junkins, MacNeil, Naramore, Nicklas.)
During a lightning round of questions, Wilson asked each of them to tell the audience one thing, commonly associated with CSPs, that has to change going forward -- and their thoughts provided keen insight, honesty -- and a serious dose of reality check from Finkelstein. Here's what they said in the order they answered:
- Naramore: "We need to learn to move at the speed of software versus the speed of hardware."
- Junkins: "Something that will help us do that is to realize that sometimes there is a good enough solution that doesn’t have to be five nines -- but is good enough for what customers need right now."
- Nicklas: "Timescales need to get better, and we need to change our mindset about how we think about ourselves and how we are organized."
- MacNeil: "We have to be open to new business models. For example, platforms-as-a-service. We have done it on the network side out of necessity, but have to open to new business models that will ride on top and are driven by business outcomes."
- Feger: "We are not dinosaurs and the perceptions have to change. We are a lot more nimble than people give us credit for. We just have to get better about it."
- Finkelstein: "We have never been afraid to encourage people to think outside the box. But never forget there is a box. You can come up with many ideas but the reality is that there is a box and that box is customers, margins and delivering services that people have purchased... Our responsibility is to provide ways to deliver life-changing services to our customer base."
— Elizabeth Miller Coyne, Managing Editor, The New IP and Upskill U