Total Telecom - OSS April 2008
Analysts say operators are taking a short-term view by continuing to rely on legacy operations support systems for their future services needs.
Carriers are being forced to upgrade their operations support systems as they evolve their networks to deliver new value-added services. The move towards next-generation OSS (NGOSS) is deemed essential if operators are to respond to nimble competitors
Developments such as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) and the huge expansion in data, as well as services such as m-commerce and music, are forcing the OSS to change. “Operators will launch a much larger number of services, and will be much quicker to respond to competition,” says Doug Melbourne, product marketing manager for Orange Group.
Yet some analysts warn that operators are taking a short-term view with their OSS and billing structures and are failing to invest sufficiently, instead continuing to rely on multiple, complex legacy systems.
“The reality is that network management is the last thing operators think about,” says Patrick Kelly, analyst and co-founder of market research firm OSS Observer. “There is a very strong return-on-investment case for building the right systems up front, but this is all thrown out of the window.”
One reason why OSS ranks low in importance could be a lack of awareness by carriers’ senior management, Kelly says. Another is the near-term view they take: “It is all about looking 12-to-18 months ahead: operators are not thinking long term.”
But measures to create a standard for NGOSS—such as work being carried out by the TM Forum (see box)—are also not having the impact advocates had hoped, because the rules are being interpreted differently. Vendors may be supporting NGOSS, but they are embracing it to differing degrees. Moreover, the standard is not a complete recipe for deploying NGOSS: even early-adopter operators employing the TM Forum framework are combining it with their own developments.
For many operators the bulk of revenue-generating services and subscribers are on the oldest systems. Operators also continue to squeeze their existing systems due to financial constraints: even when they adopt an NGOSS strategy, a gradual rather than a radical upgrade is common.
Kelly cites one high-profile operator’s broadband network rollout to deliver IPTV. “The operator has gone out and recreated an entire system set,” says Kelly. “They have not done any re-use [leveraging existing software], but have procured another siloed management system [which complicates OSS and BSS system consolidation in future].” The operator’s IT department backed a re-use approach, but given the pressure for the project to succeed, the carrier’s operational unit procured a new, dedicated system instead.
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