Axiata’s Open Digital Transformation accelerating journey to Techco

Kevin Casey

April 11, 2023

3 Min Read
Axiata’s Open Digital Transformation accelerating journey to Techco
Business and economic growth on global business network, Data analysis of financial and banking, Customer service, Technology and data connection, Teamwork, Business strategy and Digital marketing.

In the past several years, Axiata Group, a leading telecommunications and digital conglomerate in Asia Pacific, has undertaken a comprehensive IT transformation programme covering telcos across six countries. The transformation has delivered significant benefits, including the acceleration of go-to-market strategies from months to days and a 40% reduction in IT costs, according to Group CIO Anthony Rodrigo.

During an interview at Barcelona Mobile World Conference 2023, Rodrigo discussed best practices the company employed in its transformation journey. Those practices included developing an open architecture, an open-source middleware stack to accelerate and improve customer journeys and taking back control of DevOps.

Key to the transformation’s success, Rodrigo said, was the realization that Axiata needed a solid engineering team to run DevOps and work with partners on their own transformations. “You cannot simply outsource everything,” Rodrigo said. “We had to take back control from primarily a vendor-driven IT stack to pretty much owning the DevOps of our IT backyard. This required an internal change of working as well as building a large Software engineering team with deep telco domain knowledge.”

The DevOps team now numbers over 1,300 engineers who operate in a separate company, Axiata Digital Labs (ADL). ADL focuses on delivering software innovation and supporting digital transformation, both to internal customers and to Axiata’s telco and enterprise customers. This approach helps drive the efforts of many telcos to transform from a telco to techco, model, he said.

Faster, Better Experiences

Services and customer experiences are enabled by a middleware platform that ADL developed called Axonect Digital Telco Enabler (DTE). The open-source platform pulls everything together to accelerate GTM and reduce IT costs, connecting the E2E pipeline, API management, microservice orchestration, CI/CD, DevSecOps, AI Factory, to API marketplaces “to discover and build rather than duplicate,” Rodrigo said.

The middleware stack functions like “an automated production line” by accelerating testing, go-to-market strategies, and – ultimately – the customer experience”, he said. The stack enables hybrid multi-cloud orchestration, microservices orchestration across domains such as OSS/BSS + Digital Services, a CI/CD pipeline for fast software development, and a single data lake architecture integrated with the Open API microservice layer.

And because AI is taking an increasing role in customer journeys, Axiata built an “AI Factory” that Rodrigo said supports CI/CD and an 80% increase in AI model development speed. The result, he added, is better, more relevant experiences for customers.

Open Architecture

Axiata adopted the TM Forum ODA (Open Digital Architecture) model to develop its open architecture. ODA, which promotes the use of APIs in telco operational frameworks to avoid vendor lock-in, served as the blueprint for the company’s IT transformation. “We have embraced TM Forum ODA as it really gives a great canvas to build the IT systems and enables the techco transformation with many readily available APIs,” Rodrigo said.

The ODA blueprint also helped seamlessly straddle legacy systems and the new digital stack, enabling re-use of micro services. “You cannot and should not throw away legacy assets. With the right level of delayering and API layers atop legacy, such assets can be sweated for many more years.”

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