Nokia has introduced multiple Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) services for communication service providers (CSPs), in an important first step to giving operators a less expensive, more flexible, and more customer-centric pathway for operating their network and delivering new services.
Offering SaaS for CSPs is a natural evolution of Everything-as-a-Service, a key element to Nokia’s overall strategy. It reflects a culmination of steps Nokia has taken in recent years to enhance CSP network operations, including rearchitecting its software applications to make them fully cloud-native and deployable in any cloud environment, edge, public or private.
To seize the 5G opportunity, CSPs need to shift away from the legacy practice of deploying customized software for analytics, security, network management, and other functions, that run on costly, complex, on-premise infrastructure.
To drive that shift, Nokia’s approach to SaaS for CSPs is about improving value and reducing complexity by providing innovative software consumed purely on demand through a subscription, eliminating large up front capital expenditure; by avoiding the need to perform on-site software maintenance and updates; and by accelerating CSPs’ ability to launch new services faster and achieve “time to value” quicker.
As part of the line-up of SaaS services, Nokia Data Marketplace (NDM) is now commercially available through a SaaS framework to give CSPs an easy and secure way to share and access data. NDM was launched “as a service” earlier this year. The new SaaS version of NDM offers enhanced automation, efficiency and scalability to CSPs and enterprises in a variety of industry verticals, including energy, public sector, transportation, and smart cities.
For the 2021-2025 period, Nokia is targeting a SaaS addressable market, comprised of CSPs and enterprises, with a value of $3.1 billion and an annual growth rate of approximately 25-30%. Nokia is in discussions with several CSPs around the world about using its SaaS services, including security.
With 5G opening up many new cyber security risks due to more access points in networks, CSPs require automated security that greatly shrinks threat dwell time (the time it takes to remove a cyber attacker once detected); reduces manual tasks; and shortens response time in order to keep 5G consumer and enterprise services safe. In addition to delivering those benefits, Nokia’s new SaaS-based NetGuard Cybersecurity Dome, to be commercially available in early 2022, enables CSPs to assure 5G networks and monetize security tied with services like 5G slicing.
Nokia Anomaly Detection, a machine learning service aimed at finding and remediating network anomalies before they affect network customers, is another product to be offered through a SaaS model. Based on Nokia Bell Labs technology, Nokia Anomaly Detection helps CSPs improve operational efficiency and will also be commercially available in early 2022.
As it introduces SaaS services in a simplified delivery model, Nokia expects to combine these independent services into three high-value SaaS “suites” focused on Digital Engagement, Marketplaces and Networking, each composed of integrated SaaS services. Some SaaS services within these suites, such as security, will provide value across suite domains.
Nokia has other SaaS for CSP services that will be announced in early 2022.
Caroline Chappell, Research Director at Analysys Mason, said: “SaaS is the software consumption model of the future. It is nascent in the telco market today but our research shows that leading operators understand its benefits and are waiting for vendors to respond. It is good to see a mainstream vendor like Nokia making an early move into SaaS-based delivery. This will position Nokia well to serve operators that need to accelerate the adoption of new cloud-based technologies at scale, such as 5G, IoT, edge computing and AI. CSPs must transform themselves to capitalize on these technologies, and the switch to SaaS delivery models is a critical component of their digital transformation strategies.”
Raghav Sahgal, President of Cloud and Network Services at Nokia, said: “The convergence of 5G, cloud native software and SaaS creates a great and fast-growing opportunity for Nokia. With the groundwork we’ve already been laying, our SaaS delivery framework is in a very strong competitive position. It enables a combination of rapid time to value with on-demand access for Nokia SaaS applications and low cost of ownership, based on a pay-as-you-go / pay-as-you-grow commercial model. This is a multi-year journey and we are going at it aggressively.”