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Re-Thinking Telco Service Delivery Platforms

The need to deliver enhanced services over next-generation network architectures will drive worldwide telco operators to increase service delivery platform (SDP) spending to $2.2 billion in 2011.

SDPs are a combination of hardware, software, and services that form a common architecture for the creation and delivery of services across multiple network types. However, according to new IDC research, the SDP market remains largely undefined and interpreted differently throughout the industry.

"There are tremendous market opportunities for IT suppliers, network equipment providers, independent software vendors, and systems integrators trying to establish their place in this evolving market," said Shira Levine, senior analyst for IDC. "Each type of company faces a unique set of challenges, but the key to success is the ability of these companies to develop partnerships with vendors in other categories."

From the carrier perspective, SDPs address the need for faster, easier, cheaper solutions for delivering services over the network. Accelerating the speed at which services are brought to market greatly increases operators' ability to hook subscribers before their attention lapses.

SDPs also reduce the ballooning costs associated with operating and maintaining multiple silos for service delivery, and can help smooth the path for operators migrating from legacy networks to next-generation environments. Additional findings from IDC's research include:

- The lack of a clear, standardized definition of an SDP has made it difficult for operators to evaluate the wide range of SDP solutions in the market today.

- While IMS is a significant catalyst behind SDP deployments, the concept of the SDP extends beyond IMS alone.

- There is considerable work to be done in standardizing the processes associated with the exchange of information between the SDP and the related OSS/BSS environments.

- A broad range of vendors have targeted the SDP market opportunity from various vantage points, creating a unique ecosystem of partnerships and alliances between suppliers.

- Wireless services drove initial interest in SDPs, but investment by wireline and convergent operators will drive significant market growth over the next several years.

I believe that if the current IPTV deployments are any indication of faster, easier, cheaper SDP solutions in action, then the assumed benefits of single-source supplier and systems integration are unproven. Therefore, re-thinking the SDP procurement model should be on every broadband service provider's strategic agenda.

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