NTT, ServiceNow partner for enterprise private 5G deployments

This syndicated post originally appeared at Latest articles for ZDNET by zeus-kerravala.

The partnership aims to enable better business-process network integration.

Telecom provider NTT has connected with cloud-based workflow automation platform ServiceNow to speed up the adoption of private 5G (P5G) in the enterprise. The combined NTT/ServiceNow solution is designed to give organizations a personalized, verticalized, automated approach to P5G deployments.

The solution builds upon NTT’s P5G network-as-a-service (NaaS) platform, launched in August 2021 and leveraging technology from Celona Networks. NTT’s P5G technology can be deployed via cloud, on-premises, or at the edge as a subscription-based service, which allows organizations to build highly agile enterprise networks. P5G also gives organizations more control because they can manage their own security and network functions versus using a carrier-based 5G solution.

ServiceNow brings vertical workflows to private 5G

This is a natural fit. ServiceNow has pre-built workflows designed for the needs of specific industries, which have been integrated with NTT’s P5G network capabilities to create a single bundled service. By having workflows integrated into the private network itself, organizations can facilitate deployment much faster. Whereas, deploying networks without integrated business processes typically doesn’t give organizations the outcome they want.

Historically, operational teams often deploy networks without any thought to the business processes it supports. This limits the value to connectivity and doesn’t always solve real business problems. Organizations are not relying on network centric technologies such as cloud, IoT, and mobility, and the network can no longer be an afterthought. When the workflow is integrated into the network, it yields better business outcomes.

Companies are now tasked with digitizing new and existing business processes to bridge the gap between their workflows and P5G networks. However, automating operational service workflows can be challenging. That’s why ServiceNow developed artificial intelligence-enabled workflow orchestration capabilities to bring people, processes, and systems together.

AI automates problem resolution

Now network teams don’t have to spend time and resources coming up with ways to integrate networks with back office systems. Once the ServiceNow AI engine identifies a problem, it can be translated into a workflow and automated.

For example, manufacturing organizations need to export massive amounts of data off the factory floor, which isn’t a trivial task, given the number of systems deployed. NTT and ServiceNow have done much of the heavy lifting with clients to understand the challenges and used AI to build the logic to drive better outcomes. Its machine efficiency index measures the quality of parts being produced, rate of production, hours spent, and other metrics that can impact overall production. Once the AI engine has identified the problem, a workflow can be created to assign the job to a technician, auditor, or another individual. This means IT no longer has to manually integrate network data with the back-office systems.

Cost allocation simplified

Another challenge being addressed is billing for deployed networks, where the cost of 5G and Wi-Fi has to be settled by different departments within organizations. NTT and ServiceNow are enabling basic features such as cost allocation to help organizations move beyond the pilot stage toward fully operational P5G networks.

Approximately half of organizations worldwide plan to deploy a P5G network within the next six to 24 months. Nearly a quarter are piloting private 5G networks, while a few have at least one operational P5G network, according to a study recently published by Economist Impact and NTT. Most IT decision-makers view private 5G as a substitute for Wi-Fi because security and data protection can be customized.

Particularly, industries that rely on warehouses, factories, and distribution centers believe P5G is more economical than Wi-Fi since it requires deploying only a few access points versus hundreds of Wi-Fi access points. The fact that ServiceNow has various modules for industries, billing, and operations is a key differentiator.

Specific industries can have plugins for modules that incorporate 5G into their manufacturing workflow, for instance. ServiceNow and NTT bring these capabilities together in a ready-to-use kit. This is not something telcos or equipment-only vendors can offer at the moment.

Author: Zeus Kerravala

Zeus Kerravala is the founder and principal analyst with ZK Research. Kerravala provides a mix of tactical advice to help his clients in the current business climate and long term strategic advice.