There is potential, as we have been told through numerous research reports and surveys, about digital technology – IoT, Industry 4.0, intelligent networks etc. each offering a whole new way, equipping you to better service your customer needs, now easier to realize and more low-hanging with the advent of 5G.
According to a world economic forum whitepaper, the digital transformation of telecommunications represents a $2 trillion opportunity for industry and society. Yet, we find the number of CSPs extending their revenue streams beyond connectivity to be minimal. Key areas where APIs seem to make a difference include:
SDN / NFV APIs, an area that could be worth $220 billion in the near future
API-driven marketplaces, generate up to 90% revenue for enterprises like Expedia and eBay but barely 5% (if that!) for CSPs
APIs in IoT (home automation, connected cars etc.)– the number of connected devices is slated to reach 30 billion this year.
CSPs can add more than $400 billion in operating profits by 2025 according to the world economic forum’s findings
API ecosystems with adjacent businesses such as healthcare, insurance, energy and retail, offering services like credit scoring, inventory tracking, insurance-risk management etc. can add a substantial 35% to CSP profit margins, apart from significantly expanding your offering portfolio
ICT services such as consulting, API enablement and digital enablement services to empower customer communities. This is a relatively untapped, but significant source of revenue today
Given the need for speed, to shed our conservative approach towards viable new business models and with the current stakes on the table, it behoves us to identify market-proven best practices and standards in increasing the effectiveness of our API portfolio. For starters, such standards will indicate to your customers that you’re respectful of their time and needs, thereby improving your relationship with them.
TM-Forum Open APIs are not just about technology but an evolved, collaborative approach to allow you and other telco-like businesses to enable frictionless integration by fostering interoperability. When you commit to building partner ecosystems in adjacent industry verticals, like healthcare, retail or smart buildings, there is an overlap of capabilities. By using TM-Forum Open APIs, there is a standard data model that both parties can adopt to reduce time to market.
Some examples of Open APIs that are relevant in this context are:
- Appointment API
- Customer Bill Management
- Federated Identity Management
- Partnership Type Management
Typically, every digital business model has a “customer service” element. The “appointment API” provides a standard means to allow customers to view available slots, book appointments, re-schedule and manage all related use-cases. Partners have a starting point to plug their appointment system or even better, subscribe to a TM-Forum Open API compliant SaaS service for Appointment Management. It fosters an environment of interoperability, reduces integration challenges and decreases time to market.
Most of us own legacy assets, built over the years, which form our core business differentiators. Exposing them through Open APIs, allows us to better leverage and monetize what we have.
To support new digital business models across different platform ecosystems, we need scalable application architectures. Adopting a cloud-native architecture requires the coexistence of legacy and cloud applications. Such a model focuses on optimization for specific capabilities of the cloud such as dynamic scaling, containerization, distributed processing, resilience, and automation.
We discuss two approaches to monetize your legacy assets as illustrated below:
1. Integration of cloud-native applications for specific Open API use-cases in legacy
2. Progressive migration and transformation of legacy functionality to a cloud-native architecture
Here is how Torry Harris Integration Solutions (THIS) can help you accelerate either of the approaches you choose:
We help identify and map your business capabilities to TM-Forum Open APIs, including exposing your legacy or identifying third-party SaaS products that are OpenAPI compliant. We then work with you to standardize, transform your data and integrate your applications to ensure TM-Forum Open API compliance.
Our “Legacy to cloud-native kit” is TM-Forum open digital architecture (ODA) compliant and provides tools, frameworks and guidelines to help you progressively transition your legacy applications to a cloud-native architecture:
The kit consists of the following components:
1. Process and decision-matrices for legacy decomposition
2. Tools to accelerate the development of cloud-native services:
is a containerized integration tool to expose legacy functionality as Microservices, through visual data flow modelling. It allows you to import Open-API specs as northbound interfaces for the microservices and lets you map to the legacy data model.
Allows you to securely expose APIs through an API Gateway, once you define the flow in Coupler as an endpoint. The gateway is part of the complete API Management suite, which includes a developer portal, publisher portal and an authentication server. You can deploy the gateway centrally or as multiple instances of lightweight micro-gateways
Cloud-native is incomplete without DevOps. The “Legacy to cloud-native kit” provides API-driven test automation tools to model legacy testing flows as well as deployment automation tools. It lets you create mock interfaces of your APIs using AutoStub.
Let’s look at some examples of CSPs extending services beyond connectivity, providing their core assets as jump-start kits for other businesses and, in the process, diversifying into other industry verticals.
TELUS is Canada’s fastest-growing national telecommunications company, that went on to transform its century-old legacy using TM-Forum Open APIs. They started their journey, like most of you, to use APIs as a means to achieve operational efficiency. They saved around $9.1 million in 2018 with a 4x improvement in their speed to market and in the process, built an open digital platform with an ecosystem of tools, technologies and practices that not only simplified their path to production, but helped them use that to diversify into other industry verticals. They have grown to becomes Canada’s largest healthcare IT provider. Platform thinking was at the heart of their transformation strategy.
Telus Health, a division of Telus, was established as a provider of digital healthcare solutions. Technology that was powering the Telco, enabled the digitization of healthcare practices and integration with multiple sources - empowering healthcare professionals to enhance patient care. They weaved together the producers and consumers from the process on their platform, creating new and transformed ways of interaction between patients, healthcare professionals, insurers and pharmacists. The different siloed verticals of the Canadian healthcare system were integrated together to provide a consistent flow of information that improved patient care journey.
In agriculture, Telus has been focusing on technology to help farmers optimize food production and better manage soil nutrients. They have successfully extended core functions/assets of their Telco business to allow growers to track farm inventory and manage field records.
RELIANCE JIO was launched with the sole purpose of providing every Indian with access to affordable and comprehensive telecommunications services. Jio is a modern, API-enabled data-centric 4G LTE network with the largest number of mobile subscribers in India. Jio’s goal is to connect their hundreds of millions of customers and to conduct every aspect of their digital lives on an app or service provided by Jio. They built a digital platform that has grown to offer digital products and services, to the massive reach they have established across the country, that stretch far beyond what a traditional CSP offers.
Under its newly established e-commence and e-grocery venture, JioMart, Jio digitised the consumer services by extending their business system capabilities to bring the kirana stores (local mom-and-pop stores) to the digital world and allow its customers to shop online and pay online by integrating the shopping feature that today help the telco’s 400-million users in their telco order journey to place orders through JioMart and pay with WhatsApp. This monetises the ultimate combination of reach and convenience that other retailers cannot match.
While the platform is currently offering grocery and other essential products, it could soon integrate fashion, lifestyle and consumer electronics offerings, diversifying into adjacent businesses.