In a recent interview with The Fast Mode, Ali Durmuş, PhD, Founding Partner and CTO of Etiya, discusses the important role played by microservices in accelerating digital transformation for communication service providers (CSPs). Etiya is a leading provider of CX-focused and AI-driven digital transformation solutions for CSPs.
Nowadays, one of the key buzzwords in digital transformation is microservices. What exactly are they, and why are they increasing in popularity?
Microservices are a type of application architecture in which an application is composed of small, independent services that communicate over APIs. The use of microservices enables application developers and owners to move away from monolithic stacks to a service-orientated architecture, that segregates an application into multiple, independent components that can be created and managed in a flexible way. The popularity of microservices is driven by the fact that they provide more flexibility than monoliths in adding or extending functionalities, or remedying arising issues with the software, without the need to shut down the entire system.
If we look at how it works in practice, we can see that it differs quite a lot from traditional development processes. With a microservices architecture, each service is owned by a small development team that is responsible for the microservice’s design and its implementation. Using a microservices architecture allows each development team to be innovative and agile, developing and releasing new features more quickly for a faster time-to-market.
Fault isolation and remedy is also easier than in monolithic stacks. A microservices structure allows for errors to be isolated and resolved independently, without causing overall disruption in the entire application, therefore providing a higher level of stability and resilience in the system, and an overall better user experience.
We know that digital transformation is always a complex project, but using a microservices architecture specifically facilitates such complex processes and allows an easier conversion from a legacy system.
On the other hand, it is important to note that, while microservices offer these benefits, they also introduce complexities in terms of managing communication between services, ensuring data consistency, and monitoring the entire system. Proper planning, design, and operational practices are essential for realizing the full advantages of microservices.
How does all this translate into business benefits for CSPs?
This type of flexibility means easier and quicker development and maintenance on the technical side, saving both time and money for operations. However, scalability, flexibility and speed are also very important factors for the business in today’s rapidly changing market environment.
Let me give you some examples:
First of all, scalability is specifically useful, if you have a natural pattern of fluctuation in your sales, e.g. any type of seasonality, specific day/time or promotional peaks, etc.
Microservices allow you to allocate additional resources as and when needed, and provide smooth service to customers even at a peak system load. For example, during a new mobile plan launch, a mobile operator will experience a sudden spike in the number of new orders. This requires the operator to increase its order capture capacity. In a traditional monolithic BSS architecture, this would require an upgrade across the entire BSS stack instead of a single component. Resource provisioning, testing, reintegration, and deployment processes will involve all of the components as they are tightly coupled, resulting in long cycles of upgrades and even operational downtime. It also results in excess capacity across some functions.
In a microservices architecture, however, operators can spin up a micro application, in this case, order capture, anytime. In this way, resources such as computing and storage can be provisioned on an on-demand basis, exclusively for the targeted service. The micro application is then integrated back into the rest of the application via APIs. As a result, the additional capacity becomes available almost instantaneously, ensuring all orders are captured and processed on time.
Second, microservices promote flexibility in development. Each microservice can be managed independently of other parts of the application. Teams can work on and deploy individual services without the need to update the entire architecture every time something new is added.
High availability means that there is no downtime or disruption to the entire application when it comes to updating, adding, or removing a microservice. The resulting uninterrupted operation translates into better customer experiences, and no lost business caused by downtime.
And last, but not least, speed: this type of flexibility and agility enables faster development and updates. In a microservices architecture, new features can be added quickly and seamlessly, and only the relevant, independent microservice needs to be updated. With the CI/CD methodology, the development lifecycles are getting considerably shorter, therefore enabling faster time-to-market and providing a competitive advantage to operators. Instead of several months of development that was needed earlier, now the time-to-market can be reduced to days, or even hours, in some cases.
How is Etiya supporting CSPs in their transformation journey to achieve this type of flexibility and scalability in their operation?
Etiya’s approach to digital transformation was always to focus on providing the best possible customer experience. AI capabilities, like personalized recommendations, up- and cross-sell offers integrated into our Digital BSS have already gone a long way in providing tailored products and services that suit customer needs better.
Our ultimate goal is to enable CSPs to provide a seamless omnichannel customer journey, with an unparalleled shopping experience.
As a next step in these efforts, our cloud-native, microservice-based Digital BSS offers a new level of capabilities. It allows CSPs to further adapt to specific customer requirements and serve rapidly changing market needs, without compromising overall system performance and stability.
Our microservices architecture with Open APIs allows operators to create flexible product bundles that are more targeted to consumers’ needs.
Etiya’s microservice-based Digital Business Platforms enable critical functions like dynamic pricing, and ensure that quotes are always validated and accurate.
The split order functionality allows orders to be fulfilled from multiple vendors. This, together with the seamless integration of order orchestration with 3rd party service providers and payment gateways, enables operators to provide innovative, next-generation product bundles, multiplay offers, and ensure that fulfilment processes for such complex packages are error-free.
In addition to that, rule-based operations, automation and improved process orchestration all help CSPs in creating faster and smoother customer journeys.
As we’ve seen from deployed project examples, a successful digital transformation, that enhances customer experiences will lead to increased brand loyalty, and that will ultimately help operators in improving their bottom line as well.
This article was first published on The Fast Mode