Months to Minutes
We hear that a lot now in our space. Automation not only reduces opex, but it also speeds up the delivery of new services. Get rid of manual requests between people and departments and companies, and replace them with machine to machine interfaces. Months to minutes to deliver a multi-operator connectivity service. It sounds so easy but it's hard, very hard. On at least three fronts.
The first front is organizational. Organizations are built not only of people, but structure and processes that run through the structure between people. Changing the flow of those processes for the purposes of automation by having them bypass those existing structures and people is not an easy task for management. Especially when they don't want to damage revenues from existing products and services, and when they have to do their best to keep and re-skill their employees rather than a series of mutually traumatic firing and hiring events.
The second front is commercial. Collaborating with competitors doesn't come easily to anyone. To get services automated means agreeing with your competition on what information you are going to share at the speed of software calls. That means possible, if accidental, exposure of potentially sensitive commercial information. Management is going to think very carefully before risking having their IT departments 'run riot' with new software directly connected to their competition.
The third front is technological. It takes time to work out what is the minimum effort required to implement meaningful automation, especially when it requires involvement of technology and commercial partners. For example, implementing an API that is acceptable to both a service provider buyer of wholesale services, and its partner selling those wholesale services is often far from a trivial task.
Developing standards is essential for implementing software-driven automation between different organizations and even between parts of an organization. But we can see that it only helps with that third technology front - and even there, standards are just part of the story.