UPDATED 16:29 EDT / MAY 03 2021


Google wins major cloud contract to host Vodafone’s big data and SAP workloads

Google LLC today revealed that it has signed an expansive six-year cloud contract with Vodafone Group PLC to host all the carrier’s big data and business analytics workloads, as well as its fleet of SAP applications.

The carrier’s Google Cloud environment will be powered by a custom, high-capacity data processing platform dubbed Nucleus. The companies said that as many as 1,000 Google and Vodafone employees across three countries will work together to develop the platform. 

U.K.-based Vodafone is one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies, with more than a half-billion subscribers globally. The data platform Vodafone is building with Google’s help will be responsible for processing the operational information generated by the company’s worldwide operations. The plan, according to the companies, is to use this information to provide a better experience for customers.

The project is poised to be a major technical undertaking. The Nucleus platform is being built with the expectation that it will have the ability to process about 10 petabytes of data per year from more than 5,000 sources, organize the information into a standardized form and then distribute it to Vodafone’s internal applications. From there, the carrier says, employees will have the ability to incorporate the information into various projects.

Vodafone has already mapped out about 700 potential use cases for the platform. One is using operational information from its wireless network to create digital twins of infrastructure assets. Digital twins are simulations of hardware systems, in this case carrier equipment, that can be used to test ideas for improving operational efficiency. Vodafone is hoping to use the technology for, among other things, enhancing its internal technical support operations and helping its engineers predict future bandwidth demand from subscribers.

Another use case Vodafone envisions for Nucleus is workflow automation. Using Google Cloud’s AI services portfolio, the carrier is planning to deploy machine learning models that will perform tasks like fixing technical issues and delivering personalized promotions to subscribers. 

In addition to facilitating new ways of harnessing its operational data, Vodafone believes that Nucleus could be used to streamline certain existing business processes. The carrier expects that consolidating data integration activities in a single, centralizing platform will reduce duplicate work for its software engineers. Another benefit: Vodafone estimates that the project will shorten the amount of time it takes to build connectors for sharing data between internal applications by about a quarter. 

“Telecommunications firms are increasingly differentiating their customer experiences through the use of data and analytics, and this has never been more important than during the current pandemic,” said Google Cloud Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kurian.

Under the six-year cloud contract with the search giant, Vodafone will also move its entire SAP environment to Google Cloud platform. SAP’s business applications are used by large organizations to manage key elements of their operations such as accounting and logistics. Vodafone is recruiting consulting giant Accenture to help move its applications to Google’s infrastructure. 

Image: Google

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