Case Study: NFV/SDM
Linx has undertaken multiple Competitive Intelligence (CI) projects in the area of virtualization, as well as the intersection of NFV/SDN architectures with key operator infrastructure such as Subscriber Data Management (SDM). In this project, we were able to save our client, a leading global SDM vendor, millions of dollars in product development, sales enablement, and marketing costs by providing them with unbiased research on the commercial feasibility of a multi-purposed UDC proposed by our Client.
Competitive Intelligence (CI) can have a significant impact on the business strategy and tactics of any firm. Our client, a leading multinational enterprise information technology product and service company, wanted to get an unbiased view of the competitive feasibility of their NFV-ready SDM solution. Through our double-blinded, verifiable human intelligence methodology, Linx was able to establish important tactical strengths and weaknesses of our client's proposed NFV-ready SDM solution, and identified market gaps and the corresponding solutions for market entry for this proposed product.
001// THE CHALLENGE
Our client has been at the forefront of the NFV landscape – as an early mover into this space, it has one of the most extensive NFV portfolios in the market. We were commissioned for this project in order to support (or refute) their decision to invest in an NFV-based SDM (Subscriber Data Management) platform.
The client asked to conduct an in-depth competitive scan of its customer landscape to collect insights from Tier-0 and Tier-1 CSPs, with representation from both emerging and developed markets. The primary goal of this research was to conduct a detailed CI study to understand if key customer groups saw significant value in an NFV-ready SDM solution.
The scope of this project covered 13 interviews with executives from leading global CSPs, as well as an online survey of 50 additional CSP executives.
002// THE SOLUTION
Based on our methodology, we were able to gather perspectives on the commercial feasibility of a multi-purpose, NFV-based UDC (User Data Convergence) SDM solution proposed by our client. We found that while CSPs seem to unanimously agree on the benefits of a UDC approach from efficiency and network operations perspective, they did not feel that NFV is currently a driver for a UDR (Unified Data Repository).
We obtained an optimal solution to counter this, where we suggested that our Client should prioritize virtualizing front-end SDM applications first, rather than virtualizing the entire platform, including the mission-critical backend that CSPs were not ready to virtualize due to high perceived risks (according to our interviews). We provided a detailed product Go-To-Market roadmap, with specific front-end application priority areas. , and the corresponding interview and survey insights.
003// THE METHODOLOGY
13 Double-blinded Interviews;
50 Survey Completes;
All interview recordings and transcripts provided to the client
Executive Interviews Completed
Page Report Submitted to Client
Interview Response Rate
Months to Project Completion
004// THE IMPACT
Through the interviews we conducted, we found that the customer-side perception and perceived need for a virtualized SDM architecture was not in line with our Client's expectations. While CSPs seemed to unanimously agree on the benefits of a UDR (a Unified Data Repository) from an efficiency and network operations perspective, they did not feel that NFV is currently a driver for a UDR.
What was eye-opening for our client was the fact that our double-blinded interviews revealed intelligence that was opposed to their existing view of the market. For example, when asked what elements of their SDM strategy would have to change in order to benefit from NFV, most of our interviewees did not see any need for change. While executives indicated an openness to the concept of virtualization of front-end applications, virtualization of the backend SDM platform is perceived as not being needed, and even being detrimental to the efficiency and redundancy of today’s non-virtualized databases.
Based on our verifiable, double-blinded methodology, the client came to the conclusion that contrary to their initial strategy centered around making millions of dollars in investments into a market-ready NFV-backed UDR, they would stand a better chance in the marketplace by providing open, vendor agnostic interfaces with virtual front-end applications (vHSS, vHLR, etc.) and a comprehensive analytics capability across the board. The immediate primary targets of this approach would be CSPs who are a) already using a UDR or b) already have NFV to an extent deployed within their networks, and are open to evaluating VNFs in place of HSS and HLR front-ends.