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Programmable Telecoms is HARD! Working on the toughest transformation in Telecoms. Sebastian Schumann, TADSummit 2018

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Programmable Telecoms is HARD! Working on the toughest transformation in Telecoms.
Sebastian Schumann Vice President Engineering at immmr

immmr was founded in 2015 from a research and development project with Deutsche Telekom. We are a team of international technical enthusiasts based in the vibrant city of Berlin.

immmr’s achievements

immmr’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as a Telco funded start-up

immmr’s journey, what we’ve learned over the past 2 years, what we would do differently

The TADS story continues…

Published in: Technology
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Programmable Telecoms is HARD! Working on the toughest transformation in Telecoms. Sebastian Schumann, TADSummit 2018

  1. 1. Programmable Telecoms is hard SEBASTIAN SCHUMANN November 2018
  2. 2. Programmable Telecoms is hard1 Working on the toughest transformations in Telecoms § immmr’s achievements § immmr’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as a Telco funded start-up § immmr’s journey, what we’ve learned over the past 2 years, what we would do differently § The TADS story continues… 1 i.e. trying to change Telecoms yet again from within 2
  3. 3. About me § 10y core network design, dev & innovation @ Slovak Telekom § 2.5y VP Engineering @ immmr § 2m Network Production Development @ Deutsche Telekom § https://twitter.com/s_schumann § https://linkedin.com/in/sschumann § https://stackshare.io/immmr/immmr (immmr tech stack) 3
  4. 4. immmr § A Deutsche Telekom funded “start-up” as strategic invest, shut down in August 2018 § immmr mashed up traditional carrier voice with 21st century voice and video for new communication experiences § Combination of traditional and IP based voice and video within a single service § Virtualization of the mobile number to remove it from physical constraints by making the SS7 stack programmable § Differentiation by control over user touchpoint and offered features independent from GSMA, suppliers, vendors, or OEMs § Long-time participant at TADHack & TADSummit J 4
  5. 5. immmr’s achievements § Own branded service immmr integrated with carrier network infrastructure (Slovak Telekom MSC, HLR, STP) launched in 2016 § Transformation from immmr to the DT branded service MagentaTalk (mapping IT customer lifecycle, end-to-end monitoring) relaunched in 2017 § “Best of both worlds” proven to work in staging environment (e.g. VoLTE integration for fast call setup time & HD calling, RCS extension) § Own stand-alone service Orbit trialed in UK § Use-case driven multi-numbering proposition § In-house replacement of CPaaS with open-source components § Compliant production of a Telco service in public cloud 5
  6. 6. So what happened? 6
  7. 7. immmr – SWOT as Telco startup § Solid technology concept with strong expertise (inhouse, nearshore, partnering) § Good strategic partnership with DT as base for “evolution from within” § Solid financing § Many market learnings due to late start § High interest in working with “the new kid on the block” § MagentaTalk was integrated in DT strategy Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities Threats § Wrong expectation management towards (too many) stakeholders § No proper adjustment of targets & mission when given tasks changed over time § Fluctuation of stakeholders led to wide span of contradicting company targets § Touching legacy core business is not trivial, even if everyone knows that it is the mission immmr 7
  8. 8. So what happened? § immmr mainly failed to manage its stakeholders expectations § Adjustment of concept from funding phase vs. evolved mission missing § Catch-22: The product should work like comparable apps, but also exactly as telephony does – fitting both market/commercial models § Perceived insufficient quality of the app shed bad light on overall service § MagentaTalk did not meet users expectations § Legacy service behaving differently needed clear explanation and reasoning § Activation complexity – usual “app flow” vs. Telco “IT flow” § Mix of minute vs. data pricing drove complexity § Budget/Time allocation not really leveled § Company cost vs. local test/marketing resources 8
  9. 9. Learnings over the past 2 years § 2016 Status: https://youtu.be/qoarL3Bv-cA § 2017 Status: https://youtu.be/0I8yeJ7WIIQ § Today is about lessons learned in the course of 2018 9 Recap – TADSummit 2016 6 5 Recap – TADSummit 2017 7 Telco Evolution Towards A Hybrid Communication Service 4 Technology Stack Telco-centric Dependencies Internet-based Green-field Product Development Standardized & Interoperable Agile & Flexible Service Delivery Universal & Carrier grade Feature rich & Best effort Best Of Both Worlds “Orbit” – UK Trial Overview 8 Trial Goals§ Social Media marketing insights § Com mercial viability and in-m arket experiences for multi- num bering§ Get insights for future features based on customer feedback Trial Product§ Try addition al num ber (max 90 days) § 30 free minutes for calling and SMS § Minute/SMS packages via in-app purchases Launch: This Week More Information: www.orbit-app.com Platform Evolution & New Partnerships 11 Testing Automated testing, CI/CD, code quality From PoC To A Scalable Production Telco Stack Extension “Make vs Buy”, Differentiating Unique Proposition Improvements Tariff integration, IT system streamlining, fast TTM for long term propositions Optimization Audio & video quality optimization for specific scenarios DevOps Automation, Kubernetes, Helm/Jenkins Partnering Maintain and develop strategic “like-minded” partnerships Touch Point Evolution From “UE” to QoE and UI/UX differentiation for legacy services White-labeling immmr To Magenta 6 6
  10. 10. Long story short... ¡ E2E test automation Segron ¡ RCS integration PoC with WIT ¡ VoLTE/Prepaid integration concept ¡ Strategy realignment by DT management ¡ MT in SK raises issues ¡ De-integration of SK ¡ CPaaS PoC stable with open-source solution ¡ Last TADSummit ¡ MagentaTalk Beta SK ¡ Orbit Trial UK ¡ Product concept realignment Slovakia ¡ MWC announcement ¡ Yet another realignment ¡ CPaaS replacement PoC ¡ Decision to withdraw MT ¡ Attempt of alternative strategy failed ¡ Letters of termination 11/2017 01/2018 03/2018 04/2018 05/2018 06/2018 07/2018 10
  11. 11. Long story short... ¡ E2E test automation Segron ¡ RCS integration PoC with WIT ¡ VoLTE/Prepaid integration concept ¡ Strategy realignment by DT management ¡ MT in SK raises issues ¡ De-integration of SK ¡ CPaaS PoC stable with open-source solution ¡ Last TADSummit ¡ MagentaTalk Beta SK ¡ Orbit Trial UK ¡ Product concept realignment Slovakia ¡ MWC announcement ¡ Yet another realignment ¡ CPaaS replacement PoC ¡ Decision to withdraw MT ¡ Attempt of alternative strategy failed ¡ Letters of termination 11/2017 01/2018 03/2018 04/2018 05/2018 06/2018 07/2018 Within the context of a carrier as strategic investor, immmr is a showcase to “fail fast” if purpose is longer given. 11
  12. 12. immmr 2018 – lessons learned § For carrier services it really matters if you touch legacy core business or new business areas § Telephony multi-device/non-phone access is very hard when main device behaves differently all of a sudden (even if you explain it) § Edge case behavior needs to be managed technically and with users (handover, moving, no Internet connection) § Addressing the “millennial target segment” requires also a revised business model for communication services User View 12
  13. 13. immmr 2018 – lessons learned § Your stakeholders are not ‘friendly users’ as soon as you “tamper” with how their phone behaves § But a good insight of what is important in the market § A balanced set of stakeholders is key to lasting success § Technical vs. non-technical management § Corporate vs. non-corporate representation with clear interests § Clear roles & responsibility (advisor vs. customer vs. investor) Governance View 13
  14. 14. immmr 2018 – lessons learned § When guidance is missing, look for something meaningful for you and your team to do § It is foreseeable that project/company termination can be a crisis outcome. Turning it into opportunity needs an aligned management and team § Successful counterpart: Orange Libon § Do not rely on previous stakeholders for future scenarios Crisis View 14
  15. 15. immmr 2018 – lessons learned § Finding individual alternative jobs turned out to be easy1, team alternatives not at all despite need for expertise § Despite lack of investor press announcement, the best way forward is to spread the word even if you are the only one § Frustration and negativity can haunt you – learn to separate individuals from processes & necessary decisions Post-immmr View 1 at least for the tech-savvy employees Thank you @DT for the opportunity! 15
  16. 16. immmr 2018 – lessons learned § This community was of great help looking for jobs on both LinkedIn as well as connecting in person § Alan provided a few introductions directly § Like/Comment LinkedIn posts for people in similar situations. It really does matter! TADSummit View Thank you @here for your support! 16
  17. 17. Not just yet another carrier failing1 § immmr connected the “old world” of a real carrier with a modern cloud- native application stack and development pipelining § immmr did manage people’s phone calls and messages completely on the backend – decoupled from all GSMA complexity and dependencies § Not just a compromise: The integration of MagentaTalk and the Telco stack delivered the best of both worlds by removing the drawbacks caused by both of their inherent approaches. § The Telco stack could keep the promises of interoperability and universal reach by native integration § MagentaTalk could keep the promise of agile and innovative delivery of a differentiating communications service experience. § Huge individual personal & professional growth within many areas 17 1 A certain bias is admitted
  18. 18. Retrospective Summary § Don’t make generalizations! Corporate organizations are manifold. Disappointments in one area can still mean opportunity & satisfaction in another. § The (only) lasting stale taste: Brain drain for Deutsche Telekom. § All things considered: An experience I would not have wanted to miss – from the beginning until the end. 18
  19. 19. Thank you.

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