WWT Accelerates Time to Revenue for Tier 1 Telco by Shrinking Lab Time from 12 Months to Eight Weeks
One of the world’s largest telcos needed to react quickly to customer demand, but its own internal lab process was taking up to 12 months to complete due to budget restrictions and a reduction in lab resources.
As the telecommunications industry moves into the 5G era, managed services sold to enterprise customers are widely viewed as a critical source of revenue to help monetize and increase ROI on costly 5G infrastructure.
To best position themselves in the enterprise market, service providers must be more agile in how they approach and service customers or risk losing out to hyperscale cloud providers, which are rolling out new managed services daily.
One of the world’s largest Tier 1 service providers was seeing high enterprise customer demand for a one-off secure SD-WAN solution that required independent testing to bring it into the service provider’s managed services portfolio.
The telco needed to react quickly by evaluating multiple SD-WAN options in combination with various firewall solutions, but its own internal lab process was taking up to 12 months to complete due to budget restrictions and a reduction in lab resources.
Without finding a faster route to market for the solution, the service provider risked alienating enterprise customers, which had already shown an appetite to purchase the product or losing the business altogether to another service provider or hyperscaler.
To accelerate the process, the service provider turned to WWT, which was able to shrink the lab process from 12 months to eight weeks — illustrating the telco’s ability to quickly deliver value to enterprise customers with new, innovative services.
How we did it
Formulate a solution architecture and establish a testing framework
Typical with many customer proofs of concept, the biggest challenge in the beginning was extrapolating the testing requirements of the customer, which had a broad idea of what they wanted to accomplish but lacked a focus that could help make accelerate the business outcome.
Experienced engineers in WWT’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC) worked together with the service provider to narrow down the scope and write a test plan that helped illuminate a path toward validation.
The test plan was crucial to the viability of the lab testing as it informed the team of everything it needed to know about the environment, which could make way for automating the process once the initial POC was proven.
With a test plan in place, WWT engineers were able to quickly build the environment using hardware already on hand in the ATC, which significantly helped reduce the time it took to just get started testing the solution as the service provider OEM lead times could take several weeks just to allocate the required gear needed to stand up a test bed.
The lab environment consisted of four platforms to test in isolated environments. To support the labs, WWT built its own WAN mockup that included internet and MPLS cloud representation and a home-brewed traffic jam solution to emulate WAN latency and access.
Testing and validation
With cabling ready and a summary of the test plan in hand, WWT began functionality validation while testing for performance. Engineers played the role of “chaos monkey” — unplugging cables, throwing various failure and work load scenarios into the mix — to prove resiliency of the solution.
Along the way, WWT provided extensive documentation for the customer’s operational and support teams, to the service provider to transfer knowledge, and set the telco up for success once the solution was to be deployed at scale.
Automation and orchestration
With the POC now validated, WWT worked to apply automation and validation to scale the solution in the lab.
The initial lab environment took around 100 hours to set up in the ATC. With automation tools and resources available in the ATC, WWT engineers were able to reduce that time to 10 minutes, which delivered massive cost savings and allowed the team to focus more on testing and deliverables than continuously setting up new environments.
By leveraging the experience, resources and availability of the ATC, the service provider was able to shrink the time it took to validate its new secure SD-WAN managed service offering from 12 months to eight weeks, bringing the service into its portfolio quicker and accelerating time to revenue.
The service provider is now funneling additional lab engagements through the ATC, capitalizing on WWT’s ability to:
- Accelerate time to close on business with the service providers enterprise end customers.
- Speed time to testing thanks to existing resources and subject matter experts.
- Reduce the financial commitment it takes to bring similar one-off managed services to market.
- Drive new revenue streams by quickly pushing solutions out of the lab phase and into market.
For the service provider’s enterprise end customers, the new secure SD-WAN platform is expediting digital transformation initiatives while optimizing Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and cloud applications with a simpler IT footprint.