Next week is the TM Forum in Nice. As I am getting organized I have been reading some good articles on the TM Forum site.I just read a good one from Dr. Lester Thomas, Chief Systems Architect at Vodafone Group. Dr. Lester Thomas discusses the critical role API’s and platforms will be to drive new revenues from SDN and NFV.
It's a very good write-up and I recommend reading it especially if you are going to attend his presentation next week.
I agree with his points about API’s being critical to generating revenues from SDN and NFV but I also believe, in a much broader sense, that API’s are critical to simplifying the OSS stack and thus driving revenues from all services CSP provide.
Open API’s are the foundation for OSS virtualization but I do not believe you can stop with open APIs alone. They are the start for OSS simplification but to really drive ‘organization wide’ simplification you must also have a business process layer that interacts with the API’s in a consistent, repeatable, extensible and measurable way. It of course also needs to be very intuitive to adapt to existing processes and support them without changing them.
The solution has to address the main issue that causes the OSS stack to be complex – fragmented systems and fragmented internal divisions.
Organization silos and fragmented systems are not going away with or without SDN/NFV. The risk is, if solely focused on open API’s, each organization can implement and use them to meet their own needs making the solutions siloed and bespoke – albeit a far better version of the existing vendor and organization silos.
OSS virtualization compliments open API’s by directly linking to business processes from service delivery to root cause analysis to service assurance. Having a direct correlation with specific business processes is critical for developing business cases, measuring success and ultimately extending business benefits along the entire business process, which will certainly extend across numerous system APIs.
Currently it is difficult/impossible for organizations to decipher how well API’s or individual systems are being used and how to relate that usage into a specific business benefit. OSS virtualization enables simplification and organization clarity to do just that.
For example, if HFC provisioning improves because a group has implemented a better or more robust way to access system data and the organization wants to take the same approach to improving something distinctly different such as root cause analysis, there is no tangible solution to extend without virtualization.
OSS virtualization (API’s coupled with a business process layer) establishes a consistent and extendible solution to simplify the OSS stack. Without the business process layer there is nothing to leverage for the entire organization. You simply have a siloed group that did something great but no way to rapidly apply to the next business process.