WinWin Issue 43
Voices from Industry
GCIO of Axiata
Axiata Sets New Benchmark for IT Transformation
--At MWC Barcelona 2023, Anthony Rodrigo, GCIO of Axiata, sat down with Huawei's WinWin Live to exchange thoughts about Axiata's Transformation journey from telco to techco. He explains their current progress and elaborates on their best practices and some of the most important technologies for this transformation. Anthony also sheds some light on the significant changes needed for an open digital IT architecture and culture, and to change in ways of working internally as well as with partners.
WinWin: Axiata is a leading carrier in Asia Pacific, and has many best practices in IT transformation. What do you think are the core elements for Axiata's IT transformation? What progress have you made?
It all began around 10 years ago when we started our developer application programming interface (API) marketplace. The developer API marketplace influenced internal IT culture and innovation. The learnings boiled down to three core elements of our transformation process: The first was an API driven open digital architecture (ODA); the second is an open source software digital telco stack to bring ODA to life; and the third element was on IT way of working to take back control of DevOps.
When it comes to ODA, Axiata embraced the TM Forum ODA blueprint as a canvas and used that to build a stack that could work with new digital solutions as well as our telco legacy assets. Over time, we learned to bring ODA to life through an open source software stack. It includes things like end-to-end fully automated CI-CD pipeline, cloud orchestration, API management at scale, microservice orchestration, and an API/software marketplace to search before build. During this process, we ran in excess of 400 projects on our Digital Telco Enabler (DTE) stack. The latest edition of that stack was building an AI factory into the DTE.
The third element was to change our way of working (WoW). We had outsourced most of our IT to vendors, but that was getting slow and too expensive. For this reason, we decided to take back control of DevOps. This was done through a company called Axiata Digital Labs that could run the DevOps for us.
The overall impact of this has been significant. We've seen a ten-fold increase in GTM speed, over 40% savings on IT capital expenditure (CAPEX), and business support systems (BSS) change requests brought close to zero. The benefits that we uncovered on our journey to digital transformation are significant.
WinWin: IT is developing rapidly. What does Axiata think are the most important technologies for IT transformation?
Telcos are currently at a crossroads in their evolution, with some choosing to take the journey of transforming from telco to techco. In the techco journey, IT stacks and WoW will play a major role in this techco transformation.
There are some key ingredients that telcos will need for this cloud transformation journey to be successful, including having an open architecture, owning their DevOps or taking back control of their DevOps, running AI at scale, adopting cloud native software, and most importantly, collaborating with partners via APIs to co-innovate with the ecosystem.
In terms of tech stack, key pieces of the puzzle include running APIs at scale, microservice engines, AI-driven architecture, high velocity CI-CD operations, and cloud orchestration. In addition to this, it is also very important to have the infrastructure and the setup to work with external developers and partners; as a techco, you are not only building for yourself, you are building with the ecosystem.