18th January 2022

How We’re Disrupting the Telco Industry with TaaS at Vodafone

Lloyd Woodroffe
Global Product Manager

Right now at Vodafone, we’re changing how we deliver technology. We’re moving our business from the confines of a traditional telco to an exciting new breed of ‘tech-comms’ company, which means not only delivering new products faster, but providing completely adjacent market technology offerings too.

Empowering our developers to build innovative applications faster is at the core of our Telco as a Service (TaaS) strategy. We’re determined to give developers an experience at Vodafone they can really enjoy, with the freedom to develop creatively. Already, we have created a platform that allows our developers to deploy all of their tools and cloud infrastructure in minutes, all via a Vodafone Engineered self-service portal.

Through this, we are set to unlock a global set of new capabilities across both our IT and network via APIs, that allows for new and exciting business opportunities for our customers,  and improves the general customer experience for our existing end-users.

TaaS is going to completely transform the telecommunications industry, as well as Vodafone itself. Here’s how.

The possibilities are almost endless

In essence, TaaS is a set of technology initiatives (starting with a cloud platform but will also include our future applications) that enhance the developer experience and will enable us to scale globally. In the short-term, this will allow for Vodafone’s technology offerings for end-customers to develop and improve at a faster rate: more frequent updates, new, exciting journeys, and better availability through a highly resilient architecture.

Ultimately, this is a platform built by developers for developers. We are building the TaaS platform from the ground up, allowing us to not only improve delivery for our developers, but to also start to build new products and services far away from what Vodafone offers today.

This will allow us to work seamlessly with adjacent markets (many of whom we already work with) including healthcare, social media and video games – all powered through our API architecture. We’re also rolling out this platform globally, so as each new service comes on board, every country will benefit. The potential is enormous.

Streamlining software development

Today, Vodafone developers face a challenge with security and finance policies – each team has to build and manage their underpinning infrastructure platforms. TaaS is tackling this by empowering the developer to deploy all of the tools they need pre-integrated and security approved, including their environments, CI/CD tooling and monitoring services. Compliance and policy automation is baked in, making it faster to align with our security and finance processes and reducing deployment time from months to minutes!

The overarching result? Our developers can forget about any infrastructure complexity and just focus on building fantastic software.

Externally, the TaaS strategy will allow us to bundle up service offerings for a new customer segment, “The Developer”. We are looking to build services that will allow third parties to seamlessly integrate with the Vodafone ecosystem and embed Vodafone into their products.

What’s great about TaaS is that it’s not just a PowerPoint or an abstract concept – we are actually building it. We already have a number of tenants who are building real applications and APIs that are being used by the business. The adjacent market opportunities for Vodafone are increasing. The approach we are taking is data-driven, in which we prioritise our demand based on feedback and usage of the platform. We’ll be able to keep improving it and grow the user-baser extensively all around the world, and most excitingly, it will mean we’re continuously deploying amazing new tech products and services, at speed.

Agility is key to success

TaaS has already proven to be a digital disruptor within Vodafone

We’ve delivered the project with SAFE Agile, which Vodafone is now adopting globally on all large-scale strategic projects. It allows us to adapt smoothly to business demands and therefore deliver better quality and faster time to market. Our continuous improvement approach is driven by proven data aligned to our measurable OKRs (objectives and key results).

Not only is TaaS changing how we deliver technology, but it is growing our entire business with innovations and offerings that will define the future of telco.