Table of Contents
Many in the communications industry have bemoaned for years the silo mentality of communications service providers’ (CSPs) Operations and Monetization (O&M) solutions. Silos started as the perceived least risky way to introduce the business management, billing, and operations support functions necessary for meeting the needs of new service offerings. For example, approximately years ago, CSPs started offering bundled services. In this business environment, a fixed-line voice provider would incorporate mobile services as a major component to the service bundle. To best meet time-to-market objectives, the installed set of O&M systems addressing the mobile services domain was retained side-by-side with the installed systems maintaining support for fixed-line services. The difficulty, time, and expense required to modify either set of systems, or incorporate the requirements for supporting both fixed-line and mobile network technologies from a single system, was deemed excessive.
Considering how far the industry has progressed since then—2G, 3G, 4G, LTE, LTE-Advanced, broadband (fixed and mobile), television, smartphones, tablets, and the Internet of Things (IoT)— the inefficiencies of duplicate systems in walled silos became even more apparent. Silos inhibit the overall customer experience, lead to duplicated data, and raise the cost of operations. This does not even touch on the multitude of duplicated systems that accompany any CSP acquisition.
The good news is that the walls between the silos of O&M functionality are beginning to thin, albeit slowly. As the walls come down, functionality begins to cross silo boundaries. The acceptance of these blended solutions is taking root with both CSPs and solution suppliers, but the blending brings with it new issues. Of these, functional lines, and corresponding systems design boundaries, are blurring. Operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) functions no longer have the clear demarcation of the past. Consequently, CSP difficulties in aligning vendor offerings with their transformation plans are increasing as overlaps in functionality expand between new and existing systems.
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