Leading communications service providers (CSPs) agree that modular transformation of operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS) is a better alternative to full stack transformation and represents the best way forward. From their experiences to date, several clear recommendations emerge:
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Focus on business transformation
Getting the right architecture and technology in place is vital long term, but transformation must also deliver quick wins. CSPs should ensure that every step of the transformation is related to clear business benefits. They should prioritize transformation of key components coupled with other changes that make use of new capabilities. Where modules offer no opportunity for differentiation, operators can avoid the cost of renewal by isolating them with application program interfaces (APIs).
Partner to develop a good architecture
The architecture that is key to success in both the short and long term requires partnership between CSPs and their suppliers. All modules must comply with good architectural principles and appropriate standards for features such as APIs to ensure the integrity of the overall system architectures. Operators should try to strike a balance between efficiency and vendor lock-in.
Implement standardized APIs
APIs are the fundamental enabler of a modular architecture, providing the decoupling between domains and components. Implementing open APIs and ensuring good internal governance can be challenging, especially within multiple internal agile development projects, but is important. A clear strategy must be understood by all.
Implement a centralized catalog
A centralized product catalog is essential to business agility. It does not have to be a single catalog residing physically in a single system – it can be a logical catalog federated across a number of systems. What’s important is to avoid is information being duplicated or held in individual silos.
Plot a roadmap
CSPs should combine both the immediate business needs and the longer-term considerations into their roadmaps and consider where multiple transformations can take place in parallel. Like all roadmaps, this needs regular review as business needs change, and operators should share and review roadmaps with vendors regularly.
Learning from other CSPs’ experiences at TM Forum events and getting involved with business-driven standardization initiatives such as the Open Digital Architecture and the Open API projects reduces risk and enables the vendor community to develop to common requirements, which in turn increases choice and flexibility. If you’d like to learn more about these projects, please contact TM Forum’s VP, Architecture & APIs, George Glass.muf