Posted: September 13th, 2016 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: OSS, OSS/BSS, SDN & OpenFlow World, service orchestration | Comments Off on Forget the iPhone. The Next Great UI Design Change is in OSS
Have you preordered your new iPhone 7? Or were you, like many observers, underwhelmed with Apple’s latest product launch?
The tech leader rolled out the newest version of its smartphone last week, and by all accounts the latest iPhone’s features are mostly iterative than innovative. The most disruptive hardware change was also the one that frustrated consumers the most: the elimination of the 3.5 mm headphone jack, which requires iPhone users to use Apple’s proprietary headphones instead.
Similarly, the iPhone’s user interface seems to have plateaued. While the iPhone 7 will ship with a new operating system that includes a handful of new features, the look and feel of Apple’s UI is still virtually unchanged from where it was several generations ago. You can add some more pixels here and round off a few bevels there, but for the most part, iOS doesn’t offer much opportunity for further design innovation. Apple’s UI is what it is because that’s what its devout customers expect.
That’s not necessarily a knock against Apple’s UI. They’ve found an interface that suits its fanbase, and they’ve even inspired design innovation in other areas of software development. In fact, one software experience that’s long overdue for a fresh coat of paint and user-friendly functionality is OSS.
To date, we’ve seen OSS interfaces designed around the technology in the network: topologies, hardware representations and configurations that must be manually realigned based on user. However, the emerging app- and data-driven digital economy is putting increased pressure on operator networks to be agile, dynamic and automated. Meanwhile network function virtualisation (NFV) is changing the speed and nature of service orchestration by simplifying network processes and application deployment.
Doesn’t it make sense, then, that the OSS should be refreshed to enable an agile and more productive work experience for telco operations managers?
Telco is starved for a strong, functional and distinct OSS UI. The folks who support service orchestration vary in roles, responsibilities, skill levels and professional backgrounds. OSS UIs should be designed to correspond to that variety, so that each user is able to focus only on those operational elements that they are most equipped to manage. That increases efficiency and the speed at which digital services can be developed, verified, deployed and improved.
As a result, time-to-profit goes down, while customer satisfaction goes up.
That’s why the shift toward cloud-service operational management will bring an evolution to the OSS, in the form of tailored, intuitive user experiences and subsequently increased productivity. The new OSS will be open, capable of seamlessly interacting with both telco and IT apps and their corresponding management systems. As a result, telcos benefit from a higher order platform to specify, test, publish for consumption and deliver services across virtual, physical and IT domains.
An intuitive OSS UI also supports a seamless end-to-end service lifecycle, eliminating any gaps in the process by which network resources are discovered and services are designed and deployed.
Ultimately, the new OSS recognises that virtualisation is an opportunity for telco to reinvent itself. Operators can offer more than just a telecommunications platform – they have a chance to become part of a larger, distributed IT infrastructure that seamlessly provides services to end customers. Our existing OSS culture needs to evolve in order to recognise that this paradigm shift requires opening up the infrastructure to deliver services and resources in a more agile, open and systematic way.
Comptel will discuss the reinvention of the OSS user interface paradigm in The Hague for SDN & OpenFlow World Congress, 10-14 October 2016. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with our team or arrange a meeting at the event.
Posted: May 16th, 2016 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Compelling Cases | Tags: digital service lifecycle management, NFV, OSS/BSS, service orchestration | Comments Off on How Digital Service Lifecycle Management Delivers Speed, Configurability and Accuracy
Comptel participated in several partner showcases during last week’s TM Forum Live! 2016 in Nice, France, with one in particular reimagining the model of digital service delivery for the modern B2B and B2C customer.
As Comptel CTO Simon Osborne explained, Comptel partnered with IBM and Juniper Networks in an IBM Cloud-Based Networking architecture. The project introduces new strategies for leveraging software-defined networks (SDN) and network functions virtualisation. As a result, operators can efficiently automate and reconfigure parts of their network to enable automated, self-service digital service delivery. As part of the partnership, we’re contributing our Digital Service Lifecycle Management (DSLM) model, technology and expertise.
Digital Service Lifecycle Management (DSLM) architecture
In an earlier blog, I explained why this needs to happen. B2B and B2C customers today want personalisation, convenience and instant gratification in the purchasing process. Operators need to evolve their infrastructure to deliver better customer experiences to stay competitive, and network virtualisation gives operators the agility and flexibility they need to do so.
The key to introducing new capabilities gradually – since complete network overhauls aren’t practical for most operators – is to introduce “islands” of NFV capabilities into the network. On top of that, fresh approaches to managing the interconnection between physical and virtual resources will ensure operators can achieve this agility quickly, and at minimal cost.
In this post, I’ll explain just how you do that.
What is Digital Service Lifecycle Management
Comptel first introduced DSLM in our white paper – Digital Service Lifecycle Management: How CSPs Can Play a Successful Role in the Digital Economy. As Heavy Reading analyst Caroline Chappell wrote, operators today face competition from cloud-born companies like Google and Amazon, which have the infrastructure flexibility to spin up attractive new digital services much faster than the average operator.
Portraying the future role of operators as aggregators of digital services (from which the average consumer and business could buy whatever services they need to fill out their “personal digital ecosystems”), Chappell said network evolution is required to enable “on-demand personalised service creation.”
Digital Service Lifecycle Management (DSLM) layers
DSLM is how you evolve the network. It’s the middle portion of a three-tiered system that decides how virtual and physical network resources are managed to support service requests from front office systems.
How the Three-Tiered DSLM Model Works
This NFV-driven model requires three layers: one for resource management, one for digital service lifecycle management and one for business management.
The customer only ever sees the business management layer, which sits at the top and comprises the shopping environment, order configuration and payment tools. Customers configure and purchase services available through a digital catalogue, and automated ordering and billing capabilities ensure customer requests are quickly passed on for configuration and fulfillment.
The middle digital service lifecycle layer manages service composition through the service orchestration tool and the digital service catalogue. At this level, each new customer order is automatically checked for feasibility and availability, based on digital service definitions, service level agreements and inventory. That improves order quality and eliminates false service availability promises, which cuts down on customer dissatisfaction and the risk of order fallouts.
The resource management layer sits at the bottom and includes the infrastructure management tools and controllers that support physical and virtual network functions. When a customer inquiry for a new digital service arrives, this layer determines how best to deploy resources to fulfil that request.
With this NFV-driven model, operators can offer B2C and B2B customers alike a fast, accurate and automated, self-service buying experience. The digital catalogue can be scaled to include any new service, from your standard consumer or business IT and communications services, to network functionality, to IoT connectivity, to third-party SaaS solutions. That means operators can add to their capabilities as the digital economy grows and consumer demand evolves.
Where DSLM Fits in to IBM’s Cloud-Based Network
We brought our DSLM model to the IBM partnership, and it’s supported by FLOWONE, our service orchestration solution. Sitting in the middle between IBM’s Omni-channel Customer Engagement, and on top of a range of resource services and infrastructure tools that include Juniper’s NFV orchestration and infrastructure management solutions, it brings our vision for NFV-based fulfillment to reality.
The IBM Cloud-based Networking architecture was introduced recently at TM Forum’s Live! event but you can read more in the IBM Blog by Steven Teitzel, Telco Global Solution Exec – Network Transformation, IBM.
We invite you to visit Comptel at the Light Reading Big Communications Event in Austin 24-25th May to learn more about the Comptel model for dynamic digital service lifecycle management. Email ComptelMarketing@Comptel.com to schedule a meeting. Alternatively follow our updates and activity on Twitter (@shateley & @Comptelcorp) or via our LinkedIn feed.
You can also read more about the initiative from Comptel’s Simon Osborne, or catch up on our view of digital service lifecycle management through Nexterday.org, our online magazine and reader community.
Posted: January 8th, 2015 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: Industry Insights | Tags: Comptel, ETSI, OSS/BSS, telecom | 1 Comment »
By Stephen Lacey, Director of Business Architecture, Comptel
The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) has been overseeing standardisation in the telecommunications industry for more than two decades, and in our work, Comptel has been closely following ETSI’s principles for nearly that long.
Our involvement with the organisation first started from our roots in data processing and mediation; so you could say that we’ve adhered to ETSI standards since the beginning of GSM.
Over the years, part of our business has increasingly aligned itself to fulfilment and orchestration of complex enterprise, residential and subscriber services (rather than solely provisioning and activation), and as ETSI itself became more involved in orchestration, we began to consider whether it made sense to join ETSI fully. We are pleased to share that in the latter half of 2014, we officially became a formal member organisation.
The Influence of NFV
The tipping point was in 2012, when ETSI launched a workgroup for Network Function Virtualisation (NFV). This Industry Specification Group (ISG) was developed at the behest of seven communications service providers (CSPs), who desired standardisation around this nascent technology. Interest in NFV has since increased significantly especially in 2014 and will continue to grow this year, as more operators consider how it can help them move away from expensive, proprietary network hardware toward more flexible solutions.
The NFV conversation intrigued us. Simon Osborne, our CTO for fulfilment, recently explained to Global Telecoms Business that NFV service orchestration involves “all the elements we’ve seen in the past” in traditional service orchestration. As a result, our end-to-end order orchestration and management software complemented with mediation and analytics – which supports network functions running on virtualised hardware – is a perfect fit for the type of operational structure the world of NFV needs.
Additionally, the other elements of our product portfolio, including mediation and policy control, are considered as network functions and will be deployed within the NFV environment in the future.
Ultimately, we feel that Comptel’s proposition—having a complete, automated software stack that requires very little intervention—was unique to ETSI’s workgroup, and that we could help provide a more complete picture into NFV deployment, scale and capacity management challenges, as well as offer effective insights to support standardisation in this emerging area.
Workgroups in Focus
Today, we are one of more than 200 CSPs, network equipment providers (NEPs) and technology companies within the NFV ISG, working to conceptualise and contribute to the standards that will guide this technology’s application in the years ahead. Formal meetings are held quarterly – the next one is scheduled for February in Prague. Individual work streams have monthly meetings to hammer out these standards – the next one for the interface and architecture workgroup is being held mid-January in Shanghai.
The NFV ISG has only just completed the first phase of standardisation, where the high-level architecture and design of this technology infrastructure is being developed. We are now entering the second phase of standardisation, where member organisations are divided into work groups to focus on specific items, such as examining the management and orchestration of an NFV system via an Operations Support System (OSS) interface.
How Operators Win
One major benefit of ETSI’s workgroups is that they bring together organisations from all sides of the industry to guide a collaborative and forward-looking conversation about an emerging area of telecommunications. Since Comptel will be intimately involved in those conversations now and in the future, we will be able to bring a higher level of expertise to conversations with our customers. We are excited about being directly involved in NFV’s development as a new foundational platform for network infrastructure.
NFV will define our future. More operators want the flexibility to run network operations software on commodity hardware, so that they can keep pace with the cloud-based competitors now edging their way into the market. To truly position yourself as a fully formed CSP, you need a partner who knows where this software-defined market is headed.
Visit our SDN/NFV Resource Library to learn more about how cloud and virtualisation technology helps operators unlock cost savings, enable flexible networks, and compete on a higher playing field.
Posted: August 25th, 2014 | Author: Malla Poikela | Filed under: Industry Insights, Telecom Trends | Tags: BSS, intelligent mediation, OSS, OSS/BSS | 1 Comment »
When communications service providers (CSPs) think of mediation systems, it’s natural for them to consider billing and assurance processes. Most mediation platforms have traditionally been focused on the processing of transaction data records (xDRs). However, having too narrow of a focus on transactional data misses the big opportunities that can be made possible with analytics-enhanced data orchestration.
Data orchestration is all about making sense of the new sources of structured and unstructured data flooding networks. From social media networks to app usage, location points to alarms and probes, CSPs enthusiastically need a way to make all of this information more accessible, intelligent and actionable. Thanks to the dawn of the Internet of Things, we’re standing at the brink of a touchpoint explosion. Data is playing a fundamental role in every customer’s life. Yet while Big Data provides a significant opportunity for CSPs to make more intelligent decisions, the “data wrangling” – hand-sorting through mounds of data to collect what’s most relevant – is still consuming precious time and resources. In fact, according to recent research from The New York Times, data scientists spend 50 to 80 percent of their time just “wrangling” the data, to ready it for action.
While the xDR has usually been the only link between the network and customer data, now, the key to alleviating time-consuming data wrangling will be found in data orchestration – empowered by analytics and contextual intelligence. This will revolutionise how CSPs use data for operations, customer relationships and business planning.
A new, intelligent approach to event processing can help to make sense of this information tsunami, and fully leverage that data to make operations and businesses more intelligent, and enable real-time decision making. By combining more intelligent analysis and predictive analytics with complex event processing (CEP), it’s possible to bridge informational silos between back-office systems and glean actionable foresights that go far beyond simply processing transactions.
Imagine, for example, if your analytics-enriched mediation system could foretell when there’s going to be a service peak or potential revenue loss before it happens. Or what if OSS/BSS could communicate and correlate network and customer data, then send automated messages to customers based on current network events? Maybe it’s to notify customers of potential bandwidth issues in the next hour or to tell them about a new product.
Through data integration and orchestration enhanced with embedded analysis, that’s finally possible.
Measuring the Customer Experience
OSS/BSS systems are highly effective at processing the data related to billing and assurance, with the analysis based on xDRs. Full-blown data integration, ingestion and orchestration brings all the information from other sources into the mix, so CSPs have a full view of network and customer activity across an array of sources.
With that data collected and aggregated, machine learning-enabled mediation can have a big impact. Intelligent mediation can explore data and forecast service usage, which better informs service forecasting, operational efficiency and impact on revenue. Through a streamlined and intuitive presentation layer that allows for data visualisation through dashboards, CSPs can detect signs of service anomalies and patterns in customer behaviours that allow for proactive decision-making. By consolidating the data and learning from it through sophisticated artificial intelligence, this new kind of mediation can create displays and dashboards that help operators view opportunities and risks that were previously invisible.
Protecting Revenue with Operational Intelligence
Customer experience isn’t the only thing that can be vastly improved through intelligent mediation. Revenue loss often occurs when xDRs are lost, corrupted or otherwise arrive incomplete or malfunction in network becomes evident as a sudden drop of usage events is reported for a service. These errors can get lost in the processing shuffle, and by the time they’re detected, revenue has already suffered. Intelligent mediation can help prevent these issues.
By observing the deviations between the forecast and observed values of transaction records, the mediation system, leveraging predictive analytics, can notify operators that there’s an anomaly. Machine learning ensures that this process continually grows more intelligent and capable of more rigorous analysis in the future.
Analytics-enriched mediation empowers CSPs like never before by allowing businesses to make the most of the data that’s already being transmitted across networks and allows for real-time decision capabilities thanks to analytics and automation. With an embedded analytics-engine in place that can contextually read data and automatically send notifications to both customers and the operations team, CSPs can sidestep the data wrangling and make mediation systems – and business processes – more intelligent than ever before.
Want to learn more about intelligent mediation? Download “What You don’t Know Will Cost You: Using Contextual Intelligence in OSS / BSS Operations to Protect & Increase Revenue,” a whitepaper sponsored by Comptel and authored by ICTIntuition.
Posted: February 21st, 2014 | Author: Special Contributor | Filed under: News | Tags: cloud, Comptel, fulfillment, OSS/BSS, partner, Tech Mahindra | Comments Off on Comptel, Tech Mahindra and New Strategic Partnership for 2014
By Peter Middleton, Vice President, Global Alliances, Comptel
The secret is out – the role of fulfillment is becoming increasingly important to operational and business transformation for communications service providers (CSPs). The trouble is, the scope of these projects is simultaneously broadening to include complex, multi-strand service delivery processes, high-volume and high-speed fibre deployments, cloud-based IT and virtualised networks.
I am pleased to share that to help CSPs tackle this, Comptel and Tech Mahindra have signed a non-exclusive strategic partner agreement. Together, we’ll deliver integrated, 360-degree service fulfillment solutions, and continue to develop innovative offerings that can quickly support our customers’ needs and accelerate their future business growth.
As communicated on the Helsinki Stock Exchange on 18th February by our CEO Juhani Hintikka, the partnership means that Comptel will be able to serve our customers with a wider sales channel, increased productivity and the scalability to deliver large and complex OSS/BSS transformation projects. In addition, Tech Mahindra are establishing a Comptel centre of expertise and training centre, which will secure and grow knowledge across their organisation.
Over the past 18 months, we’ve invested heavily in our next-generation fulfillment platform—to ensure that CSPs deliver a high customer experience and have seen strong business performance rooted within operational excellence. This partnership was the next logical step for us to broaden the product’s reach, whilst internally we start to pair it with our additional areas of expertise, such as predictive analytics.
Tech Mahindra was an obvious choice, with its OSS/BSS industry experience and focus on fast enablement and time-to-delivery. We are pleased to extend our work with the company and believe our partnership will allow us to meet and exceed the challenges facing CSPs today in the increasingly complex telecommunications market.
Posted: December 9th, 2013 | Author: Leila Heijola | Filed under: Events, News | Tags: Alcatel-Lucent, Australia, FinPro, fulfillment, IBM, New Zealand, OSS/BSS, telecoms | 2 Comments »
Following our successful trips to India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, Comptel traveled with the Finpro delegation to visit Australia and New Zealand between 28 November and 3 December. The team was led by Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb and brought together representatives from Finnish companies such as Capricode, Doofor, Konecranes, Martin Bencher, Nuovo Nordic, Outotec and Snellman.
View from IBM Sydney office towards the Harbour Bridge
The purpose of the visit was to build strong relationships between Finland and these APAC countries, fostering business partnerships and working on international policies. Comptel has a strong customer base both in Australia and New Zealand, and the mobile market in both countries is growing rapidly. Research shows that the New Zealand telecoms market is set to grow to NZ$5.35 billion next year. In Australia, nearly half of Australians are now accessing the Internet by mobile phone.
We’ve played a key role in national broadband programmes with NBNCo in Australia and with Chorus in New Zealand. This recent trip has led to great opportunities, as Alexander Stubb joined Comptel’s Juhani Hintikka and Jussi Ware at customer meetings with NBNCo, Vodafone New Zealand and meetings with partners Alcaltel Lucent and IBM. As always, we were grateful for the chance to represent Finland on this latest Finpro trip, and we’re excited to see what opportunities await for us around the globe in the future.
Posted: May 28th, 2013 | Author: Steve Hateley | Filed under: Behind the Scenes, Industry Insights | Tags: Network Equipment Manufacturer, OSS, OSS Interoperability, OSS ISV, OSS/BSS, SDN, Service Defined Network, TM Forum | Comments Off on Telecoms Network Equipment Manufacturers Move to Create an Interoperability Initiative… Finally
At Comptel, we’ve prided ourselves on being an Operations Support System Independent Software Vendor (OSS ISV) that can span across different standards and interfaces. For us, that flexibility is crucial to building and providing a dynamic system that we know will fit all of our customers’ needs. That said, I won’t hide the fact that to make sure our software runs just as well on one telecom network equipment manufacturers (NEM) technology than another’s requires significant effort from our team.
That’s why we were interested to see that Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), three of the world’s largest telecom NEMs, have decided to launch an OSS interoperability initiative (OSSii). In short, the businesses agreed to sign bilateral, cross-licensing agreements that will ostensibly help foster the development of a standardised interface from their equipment.
We’re curious about where this initiative will lead. TM Forum has been working on standardised interfaces for fifteen years, and we can’t help but wonder if this could be the start of a rival organisation. Huawei’s OSS & wireless networks president Jiang Wangcheng said that the OSSii will “provide operators in all markets the ability to fully capitalise on the best OSS solutions available”, reducing operating costs and time-to-market, but most of the top ISV OSS solutions already have very sophisticated interface development kits that allow for support, time-to-market flexibility and interoperability.
Could this OSSii instead be meant to help these big NEMs capture a larger slice of the OSS pie for their own services and SI organisations? Nevertheless by simplifying interface challenges, the market could take on a new dynamic.
Innovating on Top of an Interface
Most OSS ISVs like Comptel have already accomplished what Ericsson, Huawei and NSN are trying to do. We’ve had to develop solutions that communicate across different platforms and systems out of sheer necessity. Comptel has solved the interoperability issues of telecoms vendors with products that work across the board. The real challenge now is integrating existing and new networks to deliver convergent services in a way that maximises reusability and capacity.
The OSSii is a move in the right direction for these three NEMs, who have been guarding their licenses and interfaces very closely up until now. We hope that, once they have developed a standardised interface, they will join OSS ISVs to help revolutionise the space of concept-to-cash, Service Defined Network (SDN) and other upcoming changes in the telecom industry. This is where we think the future is—beyond operability and resource management, into the realm of profitable service growth.
Posted: February 13th, 2013 | Author: Juhani Hintikka | Filed under: News | Tags: analytics, fulfillment, Making Data Beatiful, Mobile World Congress, OSS/BSS | Comments Off on Q4 2012: An Update on Comptel’s Business and Strategy
Today, we announced Comptel’s financials for the fourth quarter of 2012, which closes my second year as the CEO of Comptel. The fourth quarter was the best quarter in 2012 in terms of net sales and operating profit. The year ended with us winning two important customer contracts that demonstrate how our focused investments in Comptel Fulfillment and Comptel Social Links have started to bear fruit.
We signed the largest Analytics deal in Comptel’s history with Robi Axiata in Bangladesh, a joint venture of NTT DoCoMo and Axiata Group. We have a good base of 15 customers now for our advanced analytics and one major win and three whole suite of products of the new Comptel Fulfillment 8 release, which we launched in the first half of 2012.
We continued our strategy execution and investments according to our 2012 plan. Our net sales grew by 7.4 per cent which is more than the approximate 4 per cent market growth. As stated in my Q3 blog, we are consciously building partnerships to strengthen our sales channel and to complement our portfolio. The new CMO organization we established in Q3 has progressed with the sales efficiency activities, including partnership enablement, which will be a key for our growth strategy. The most recently signed up partner is the mobile broadband company Nokia Siemens Networks.
The R&D investments continued to support the strategic Event – Analysis – Action vision in key portfolio areas. The first half of the year was about developing Comptel Fulfillment 8 and integrating Comptel Social Links to our portfolio. The second half was about the key customer wins, new business use cases and researching the appliance model for analytics. Our ambition is to get analytics as an integral part of the other elements in our portfolio. For or example service order orchestration “powered by advanced analytics” or personalized policy control and charging “powered by advanced analytics”. You can visit us at Mobile World Congress (MWC13) at 6C30 booth in the Hall 6 to hear more.
Finally, I would like to mention our services business, where we succeeded to significantly improve the operational performance by implementing the productivity measures in Q2 and Q3. This will give us a good basis for 2013. We were also able to exceed our targets in new services such as Managed Services and Consulting in 2012.
In Q4 we fine-tuned our strategy execution plans to ensure we continue with focused activities in all areas.
Overall in the year 2012, we won 13 new customers and signed 15 significant orders, valued over MEUR 0.5. We will be busy also in 2013 to deliver our top-line and especially to ensure and improve our profitability. We have an exciting and interesting journey ahead in 2013.
Posted: January 25th, 2013 | Author: Ulla Koivukoski | Filed under: Events, Telecom Trends | Tags: analytics, BSS, CIQ4T, Mobile World Congress, OSS, OSS/BSS | Comments Off on Delivering Contextual Intelligence at Every Touch Point – Comptel at Mobile World Congress 2013
For marketers in the ICT industry, the first quarter of the year is traditionally packed with key activities, which set tone and present the themes for the coming quarters. Mobile World Congress (MWC13) is one of those major events where most of us put a lot of effort to showcase something new and innovative that captures the attention of the public.
We at Comptel believe that
Contextual Intelligence at Every Touch Point helps Communications Service Providers (CSP) to connect emotionally with their customers to make and save money.
We thought that we were early with the preparations on the themes, spearheads and the actual marketing elements that we wanted to share prior to the event and at the actual event. We surprised our advertising agency with a reasonably well documented storyline and spearhead descriptions. So we all thought that we are ready for execution and have more than enough time.
When executing our plans, we once again met the same challenges as also the CSPs face when trying to seamlessly launch multi-device and multi-channel services, which their customers demand. Considering how fast the suitable tools and technologies develop, this might sound like a piece of cake. However, the variety of available devices, browsers and releases is endless, and the testing and fine-tuning the applications can be quite an exhausting task – especially if the application in question contains any additional elements besides text, still pictures or videos that are stored, for example, in YouTube.
The complexity of the CSPs’ service creation and delivery environments cannot even be compared to our small project. However, this served as a good reminder for us at Comptel, that the service experience consists of such a big number of variables that the solutions we develop to handle the provisioning and activation of customers and services efficiently and effortlessly are indeed needed.
Posted: November 27th, 2012 | Author: Afaq Bashir | Filed under: Behind the Scenes | Tags: OSS/BSS, Project Management, telecoms | Comments Off on CSPs’ Role in Multi-Stakeholder Telecom Projects
Recently, the U.S. Air Force announced that it is shutting down its next-generation, billion-dollar logistics management software project after its implementation was consistently stalled, and goals went unmet. This multi-stakeholder project started in 2005 and was designed to save billions of dollars by streamlining supply chain management and replacing more than 200 legacy IT systems and 500 interfaces. With such promising benefits, the decision to scrap this project raises more questions than answers: Why did it take so long, and so much money, to realise this project wasn’t going to pan out? What planning process was in place that allowed this to happen?
Drawing Parallels with Telecom and OSS Projects
Projects in the telecom industry have similar implementation challenges, especially because of the numerous stakeholders involved like network suppliers, OSS/BSS vendors, system integrators, VAS providers, in-house IT and various communications service provider (CSP) departments. Such a landscape of not just stakeholders but also systems and processes results in high complexity and risk, meaning there are many ways project execution can go wrong. For instance, individual vendors may promise more than they can deliver, system integrators might not take end-to-end responsibility, and CSPs could miss some important details. These gaps in ownerships, stakes, understandings, initiatives and interoperability create a snowball effect over time, leading to project delays that could mean disaster.
Insistence on Collective Responsibility
To help prevent this, it’s important for CSPs to be very knowledgeable about the big picture apart from being very detail oriented. Knowing the big picture ensures that the CSP can keep a firm grasp on the various parties engaged, and to what capacity, as well as each party’s weight and significance during the course of a project. On the other hand, being detail-oriented ensures that the CSP knows how to negotiate a meaningful, clear and unrelenting scope of work for each party. The scope of work distributed across different stakeholders should be collectively exhaustive and aspects like dependencies and engagement service level agreements (SLAs) should be very clearly stated and agreed upon in advance.
This can ensure that any conflicts of interest are alleviated, so vendors can act in the best interest of the project at hand to guarantee its collective success. Vendors like Comptel can play a very leading and helpful role in bringing different parties together to agree on a clearly documented scope at the very outset. This can involve details such as key objectives, success factors, project scheduling and budgeting, and risks.
Ensuring a Collaborative Project Roadmap
In my opinion, the CSP’s role in ensuring a collaborative project roadmap involving OSS/BSS vendors and system integrators is crucial. CSPs can define project execution models at the very outset and play an important role in overall project leadership and governance to ensure delivery within the constraints of budget, time and scope.
Furthermore, it is the CSP’s leadership alone that can contain the many simultaneous business-to-business relationships at any cost and without letting any party indulge in a game of blames. Success being the only ultimate benchmark, CSPs should trickle it down to all of its suppliers in unequivocal terms.