Pipeline Publishing, Volume 3, Issue 11
This Month's Issue:
The Long Arm of Telecommunications Law
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Pipeline's 2007 Next Gen OSS Integration Summit Retrospective

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Dan Druta an architect with “Cingular, now the new at&t” was in great demand because of his honest assessments and practiced eye for detail. - He appeared on 3 panels. He found that internal turf battles still hold back OSS modernization. He sees vendors in denial that OSS & BSS is becoming a commodity. Druta kept returning to the basic truth that it is the customer, stupid. OSS & BSS must be re-conceptualized and redesigned from the perspective of the end consumer of services and must cease being a utility for the operations and accountants of the company. This is the design lesson of web services and his vision for future OSS.

Lessons learned
On the side of light, some simple messages did get delivered. AMDOCs and Telecom Italia saw integration as event-driven and not, as was viewed in the past, data-driven. Vodafone laid it all out so simply to its fellow service providers, “If you do not know your processes, you do not know your business.” Suresh Bhandarkar of Tech Mahindra described OSS delivery as “Expose = create services; Compose = aggregate services with processes; Consume = deploy in bundled units”. We were reminded that events have a finite life-cycle and can have different uses and even meanings in different contexts. Clint Heckel of Verizon Business praised use of the SID and TAM as a way of providing and enforcing IT design standards on the many diverse teams that are occupied within large projects. And the TMF is promising fresh tools with the forthcoming Telecommunications Application Map (TAM) Release 2.

But the darker side of the conference showed that the lessons and designs of NGOSS are not universal. The most general mistake of the majority of presenters was in equating Architecture with Interface Design. Some presenters used the NGOSS terms, but had not read the documents; for example calling the SID data-model an interface design. Another malapropism was in calling SOA a “philosophy” which so incensed the esteemed Ziaur Rahman of T-Mobile that he responded by recapping the history of Information Technology from machine language to modern times with side branches into epistemology and modern physics. Another problem was in vendors continuing to display the overall OSS/BSS architecture as a TMN inspired pyramid. But worst was the surprise expressed that tomorrow’s systems must handle petabytes of data. So there is still work to be done.

Service providers were open about their needs. Dan Druta finds that most operating effort is wasted in today’s OSS & BSS – his operations team must work so hard because his systems are so inefficient. Massimo Albani

“OSS & BSS must be re-conceptualized and redesigned from the perspective of the end consumer of services and must cease being a utility for the operations and accountants of the company.”


of Telecom Italia found security sorely missing from OSS/BSS designs. Willy Siebert wants his vendors, current and prospective, to hear the message on what operators really want and need. He still finds this an uphill battle. Fabrice Libon of Sprint Nextel wants a “data-orientated mediation layer where the business units, and not the vendors and IT, own the data.” And Clint Heckel wants more reusable web service solutions. Dr. Lorien Pratt is capturing these needs and trends in a comprehensive study of data needs and uses in OSS/BSS.

Next Years…
But what of the future? Where is the next generation, the next 10 years from now, headed? LTC International sponsored a survey to which 60 participants contributed. Respondents, grouped as service providers, OSS/BSS vendors, or Integrators, were asked their views of two forward looking technologies: SOA & IMS. The responses, compiled by Peter Gilligan of LTC, should point the direction to next years Next Gen OSS conference. Vendors see SOA as driving down OSS/BSS costs. Service providers see SOA as enabling significant improvements in OSS/BSS performance. Both acknowledge this leads to new opportunities for service providers, but vendors and integrators see service providers as the main beneficiary of SOA technology. A similar trend was seen with IMS. Service providers are quite optimistic that IMS will lead to new revenues; large service provides especially so. All three groups believed that IMS will reduce service provider’s costs and vendors felt that IMS will lend a degree of protection to service provider business models. Network equipment vendors, who supply the IMS technology today, are expected to profit from IMS as well.

For some participants, the need for better systems design and deployments was presaged by the operational software failure of their airline as they were traveling to the conference – where the planes flew, but not the passengers. Once everyone got to Boston, the message unreeled: Ziaur Rahman said it softly but emphatically, “SOA will lead to profound changes.”

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