Mark Collins, SVP Commercial Product Management at ZephyrTel talks with John Furrier at CLOUD CITY Live 2021.

Does your company buy on-premise business critical software? Does customization, integration to your legacy business systems and maintenance cost you a fortune? There is a better way in the Public Cloud.

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CLOUD CITY Live 2021

Mark Collins, SVP Commercial Product Management at ZephyrTel discusses with John Furrier at CLOUD CITY Live 2021 how ZephyrTel sees the future as a marketplace of cloud-based solutions.

  • 00:00 - 00:31 John Furrier

Okay, we're back here in theCube On The Floor. We're at CLOUD CITY, thanks to everyone in the studio. We're here and we’re bringing all the action from the floor. We got a great remote interview. Also, it's a physical event but it's virtual, so it's a hybrid event with people coming in remotely - we've got Mark Collins, Senior Vice President of Commercial Product Management at ZephyrTel. Mark, thanks for coming on. You head up the f Product Management, you're responsible for product vision. Calling in, or remoting in from Ireland great to see you wish you were here.

  • 00:32 - 00:34 Mark Collins

Thank you, John, I wish I was there, too.

  • 00:35 - 00:52 John Furrier

We had a great chat yesterday with Michael Speranza, the CEO of the company. Public Cloud is a big driver - what you guys are part of, it's a sea change. For some of the world, it's an obvious shift, it's been going on for a long time, in Telco it's new. What's the story?! Give us the vision of the product.

  • 00:53 - 01:12 Mark Collins

So, ZephyrTel are actually a provider of multiple products within the Telco space, and one of our visions is very much about bringing those products into a marketplace capability that Telcos can start engaging in and interacting with them much more simply than they would've been with their vendor suppliers in the past.

  • 01:13 - 01:48 John Furrier

What's the difference between Cloud on-premises and in the Public Cloud for Telco, what's the psychology right now of Telco? Most people have lifted and shifted and re-platformed with the Cloud in the enterprise side, certainly, that's been going on for many many years. Now you're seeing people re-factor their business in the Cloud and get really new advantages. Not just cost optimization and benefits with the re-platforming, or lift and shift, but they got new capabilities. Where's the Telco adoption on this spectrum of re-platforming and re-factoring the Public Cloud? Early, are they toe in the water? Are they jumping in? What's happening?

  • 01:49 - 02:15 Mark Collins

I think very very early like, I've worked in the Telco space for the last 20 years, and certainly for the last five, all of the buzz has been about moving to Cloud native solutions but a lot of the Telco vendors that are out there are still very much looking ahead in supplying solutions… in Private Cloud or with on-premise suppliers. They haven’t changed that mentality of how they actually provide a solution in the Public Cloud.

  • 02:48 - 03:05 John Furrier

So, are they there? Are they jumping in? Is there fear? Are they building? Are they just still operating? We just had a little segment discussing like, the difference between being a builder versus an operator like the confluence of wartime and peacetime.

  • 03:06 - 03:39 Mark Collins

I actually think there's a lot of fear like I think if you look at the way Telcos look at Cloud, one of the biggest blockers that I think a lot of them face is that they have this perception that their network and what they provide as a solution to customers is a stable business model. Like there's been very little impetous as from the outside to force them into replacing some of their outdated core technologies and they have some very, very legacy views on how they model TCO and the future cost to their business which, unless they change those attitudes, some of what they can benefit from the Public Cloud is going to be lost on them.

  • 03:40 - 04:03 John Furrier

You mentioned legacy, one of the things I want to get your thoughts on quickly is that the notion of it's always been a customized game, I call it the OT world, you know, operating technologies versus IT, information technology. Different mindsets, you know, one's very IP driven write software, open-source now drives that but you have a lot of legacy, and they build custom solutions when the world seems to be spinning towards open and standardized. What's your take?

  • 04:04 - 04:41 Mark Collins

Yeah, I see that as a huge challenge when you look at what Telcos want from a software perspective. Like, they want products, but they still have this huge expectation that their specific needs are going to be addressed, right? And the challenge I see there is that when you talk about customization, most of the time that drives a divergence away from what a product is, to a bespoke solution, which creates a huge number of issues for service providers when it comes to how they do upgrades in the future, or for that matter, what they ultimately have to pay the vendors for the professional services to build those customizations.

  • 04:42 - 05:10 John Furrier

Talk about the Telco's considerations for interfaces, how they should handle interfaces and other standards because it's an API economy, we know that, but now as things start to get more interconnected integration is going to be a big thing, especially with the Edge becoming a much more of a competitive and dynamic, and people care about the Edge cause it's consumer, it's education, it's healthcare it's not just some device on a network it's actually, societal impact, social change, real value.

  • 05:11 - 05:49 Mark Collins

Yeah, I 100% agree like I mean, you could probably credit Telcos for what’s been the way of the normal for network in the last 20 years with regards to all the standardization that's happened in bodies like 3GPP, but I guess in the IT world or in the domain of how you actually deliver capabilities to your end customer, or even the experiences that you develop for your consumers, a lot of that has been bespoke development, software plugged together, built on-premise and not necessarily taking advantage of the openings that you see on the RAM and on the network side of things.

  • 05:50 - 06:12 John Furrier

Mark, I want to ask you while I have you here I know we've got a couple of minutes left, but I want to get your thoughts on this since it's been since February 2019 since Mobile World Congress had an event so in dog years or internet years, whatever metaphor you want to use, it's been a long time and a lot of time has passed. What's your assessment of where the industry is?

  • 06:13 - 06:51 Mark Collins

I think all you have to do is look back at the last year and a half and see the sea change that has happened in a huge amount of industries around how they've reacted to the ability to deliver new capabilities very quickly on the back of what happened to us with COVID. And I think Telcos in a lot of cases, have been at the forefront of providing network experiences for people as they move to working from home, but they haven't necessarily had the same agility or the same ability to make change when it comes to the customer experiences in the products and services that they build on top. And I think they need to take advantage of what everybody else has been able to do with Public Cloud in the last year.

  • 06:52 - 07:40 John Furrier

Yep, and I think infrastructure as code changes everything, DevOps, which is a Cloud term,

is development and operations, they have to work together, now it's DevSecOps, so I think the same thing is going to happen to Telcos and I'm a big fan and bullish on the Telco’s business model because if you embrace the change, if you ride that wave, and, right, you're not going to be driftwood and that is all about keeping the change going and keeping it real relative to the value because Telcos saved us during COVID. Right? So the operational aspect of the network didn't crash, we had some bad Zoom meetings here and there but for the most part, people lived and they survived. So, got to give props to that, and that's the purpose, now it's next level. Edge applications have to come on board faster, we need more software. How does that happen in your mind?

  • 07:41 - 08:22 Mark Collins

I think a lot of that has to come from vendors like ourselves who start providing a different way and a different approach for how operators can consume the software that they purchase, right?

Like, if they keep working with the same vendors that they have today, they'll spec their requirements, they'll write down what they need and they'll ask somebody to build it for them and that'll take a long time. By the time they've actually got it built, it'll probably be the wrong thing, or life will have moved on if you look at the pace of change that we have seen in the last year with COVID and everything else. And I think a Cloud specialist vendor like ourselves can come and provide a huge amount of value to an operator when we're building a solution that many operators can consume within our marketplace products.

  • 08:23 - 08:30 John Furrier

Awesome. Mark, great to have you on, 30 seconds left, put a plug in for ZephyrTel, what are you working on, you hiring? You've got 30 seconds, go.

  • 08:31 - 08:51 Mark Collins

We're hiring, we're growing, we're presenting a number of different solutions in Mobile World Congress, looking at both customer experience in IoT and a number of different areas where we're heavily involved. Absolutely come seek out the people from ZephyrTel that are there and look at the demos and meet with the guys on the ground - they've got a huge amount of information to share.

  • 08:52 - 09:14 John Furrier

Awesome. Mark Collins Senior Vice President of Commercial Product Management, really changing the game, making service providers get the value from the network and making it easy for having a meaningful exchange that's a positive impact, changing the world, and really making it happen.

For more information on how ZephyrTel can support your move to the cloud, contact

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