Amit Dhingra, vice-president, Global Service Delivery, Nokia

Nokia’s global service delivery centre in India has recently completed 10 years. As it gears up to prepare for an era of IoT and 5G, it is progressing towards a service delivery model that is fully virtualised and industrialised. Amit Dhingra, vice-president, Global Service Delivery, Nokia, talks about Nokia’s service offerings, the challenges it has faced, the technology trends being witnessed by the industry and Nokia’s vision for the future. Excerpts…

What are the key offerings and focus areas of Nokia’s global delivery centre (GDC)?

Services have played a prominent role for Nokia, with about 45-47 per cent of revenue generated from this business.We have large centres with a global presence in Noida and Chennai (in India), and in Portugal and Romania (in Europe). Apart from these, we have some hubs, set up to cater to specific language and data security needs, spread over Poland, Indonesia, Russia, Japan and China. GDC India alone serves more than 275 customers ac­ross 85 countries. The work that we do at GDC spans the whole value chain of telecom delivery, from network planning, to implementation, system integration, managed services, care and optimisation.

What role can analytics play in high-end service delivery?

While the Nokia services division has come a long way, we need to plan for its future growth. We have laid down four key pillars for ourselves. The first pillar is automation or software robotics, the second pillar is analytics, the third is liquid workforce and the fourth is R&D.

At GDC, we follow a simple philosophy that any function that is manual and repetitive should be automated. We identify each of such processes and convert them into software programmes. How­ever, there is no knowledge enhancement that is happening at this level. This makes the role of analytics, the second pillar, critical. With smaller networks, one was able to analyse the various technical parameters manually to fix any problems that arose. However, networks have now become more complex with an overlay of technology. We no longer have just one parameter. In addition, the parameters have interplay across various layers. Therefore, in order to fix issues with networks, analytics is required. My vision is linking analytics with robotics and then going all the way with artificial intelligence.

At the same time, investing in workforce is also of prime importance. At Nokia, we have enabled the concept of liquid workforce that lets us leverage the competence and skill available anywhere in the industry. Liquid workforce is essentially utilising our manpower and competence fluidly from anywhere. Lastly, at Nokia, we invest huge amounts in R&D. The pace of technological development is fast and my team needs to develop all these capabilities to be able to serve over 400 customers globally.

What are the key challenges that Nokia’s GDC has faced in India? What steps has it taken to address the same?

While GDC has been around for 10 years, Nokia has been in India for many more years. We know exactly what the Indian market provides, the competence that we can find here and the potential that it has. For us, the challenges have mostly arisen from the regulatory perspective. Regul­atory conditions in India were changing around the same time we launched GDC in the country. There were regulations that disallowed data to be stored in another country. Similar developments were also taking place in other parts of the world. We have shaped our vision and the way we work to incorporate these changes. We were able to do that because we had the required agility.

How is Nokia helping customers embrace digitisation and contribute to government’s ambitious Make in India initiative?

Much before the Make in India initiative was launched by the government, we had already embarked on this journey. Besides opening GDC, we also set up a factory in Chennai for telecom equipment manufacturing for domestic and global markets. Thus, we are already making in India. We also have a large R&D presence in Bengaluru. Digital India is another interesting area. All our initiatives such as robotics and analytics fall under the Digital India programme. It is very much in line with our vision.

Going forward, what is your outlook for the sector? What are the three key technology trends that are shaping the country’s telecom sector?

The first key trend is the development of the IoT ecosystem. It will create opportunities for us because we can bring in the technology that will enable IoT and for our customers, it will lead to greater revenue generation capabilities. Secondly, technology is getting embedded into everything that we do. A lot of data is being generated in the process which needs to be analysed to help operators provide their customers with the right services and experience. Lastly, we believe that the industry needs to focus on 4G. The growth of 4G will throw open new avenues for everyone and also help in the evolution towards 5G.