Sadly, I am no longer employed by IBM, so this blog which started as a team blog for the IBM Business Partner Technical Strategy Enablement (IBPTSE) Telecom team no longer represents IBM in any shape or form. As I became the Chief Telecom Architect for IBM for the WebSphere brand worldwide, I continued to write posts. The WebSphere brand merged into the new Cloud brand in 2015 and I retained the same role working with Telcos all around the world to design software solutions to solve their business problems. I left IBM in 2017 and am now working for DGIT Systems
, a small IT company focused on helping Telcos be more agile through alignment with TMForum Frameworx - particularly for Order Management and Fulfilment solutions. My hope is to continue/resurrect this blog on Telecom business issues and technology.
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Yes, I should have posted this a week ago during the TeleManagement World conference - I've been busy since then and the wireless network at the conference was not available in most of the session rooms - at least that is my excuse.
At Impact 2010 in Las Vegas we heard from the IBM Business Partner (GBM) on the ICE project
. At TMW 2010, it was ICE themselves presenting on ICE and their journey down the TeleManagement Forum Frameworx path. Ricardo Mata, Sub-Director,
VertICE (OSS) Project from ICE presented (see his picture to the right) presented on ICE's projects to move Costa Rica's legacy carrier to a position that will allow them to remain competitive when the government opens up the market to international competitors such as Telefonica who are champing at the bit to get in there. ICE used IBM's middleware to integrate components from a range of vendors and align them to the TeleManagement Forum's Frameworx (the new name for eTOM, TAM and SID). In terms of what ICE wanted to achieve with this project (they call it PESSO) this diagram shows it really well.
I wish I could share with you the entire slide pack, but I think I might incur the wrath of the TeleManagement Forum if I were to do that. If you want to see these great presentations from Telcos from all around the world, you will just have to stump up the cash and get yourself to Nice next year. Finally, I want to illustrate the integration architecture that ICE used - this diagram is similar to the one form Impact, but I think importantly shows ICE's view of the architecture rather than IBM's or GMB's.
For the benefit of those that
don't understand some of the acronyms in the architecture diagram above,
let me explain them a bit:
- ESB - Enterprise Services Bus
- TOCP - Telecom Operations Content Pack (the old name for WebSphere Telecom Content Pack) - IBM's product to help Telcos get in line with the TMF Frameworx)
- NGOSS - Next Generation Operations Support Systems (the old name to TMF Frameworx)
- TAM - Telecom Applications Map
- SID - Shared Information / Data
In Costa Rica, the government owned telco - ICE is being forced to open up it's market to competitors because of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) that Costa Rica has joined. This represented a huge change for ICE who were a Power and Communications provider, without a competitor in their market, they didn't have any competitive forces to push them to modernise their systems and processes. For instance, fulfilment of basic services took weeks as a result.
GBM, an IBM business partner and IBM Software group proposed to ICE that they base their new OSS/BSS architecture on the TeleManagement Forum's Frameworx (eTOM, TAM, SID, TNA) - for which they used the WebSphere Telecom Content Pack and IBM Dynamic Process Edition to ensure ICE would have the standards compliance and dynamic BPM capabilities. By using WTCP and DPE, ICE reduced the effort required to build and deploy their new processes by an estimated 20-50%. A fundamental principle of Dynamic BPM is the Business Services layer which sits on top of the BPM layer which in turn sits on the SOA layer. A Business Service is abstracted up from the physical process. For instance, a business service might be 'Check Technical Availability' which would apply regardless of the service you are talking about - mobile, POTS or xDSL. These business services are defined within the Telecom Content Pack which enables system integrators like GBM to accelerate the architecture work on projects like this one for ICE.
GBM made use of IBM's Rapid Delivery Environment (RDE) - where they sent a number of their architects to the IBM Telecom Solution Lab in Austin, Texas for six weeks to conduct a proof of concept and to learn how to apply WTCP to a real customer situation such as that faced by ICE. The RDE allowed GBM to work with the IBM experts to build the first few scenarios so that GBM could continue the work locally in Costa Rica without a lot of assistance from IBM. The other benefit of using the RDE is to get access to the eTOM level 4,5 and 6 assets - the connections to the physical systems that the RDE has previously developed. For instance, the connection to Oracle Infranet Billing engine which can then be reused by other customers who also engage with the RDE.
GBM and ICE have not yet been able to measure that acceleration that WTCP and DPE provided, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it was significant. In preparation for CAFTA, ICE have already launched a 3G network and are preparing to launch pre-paid services in preparation to compete with several new operators that will enter the market this year.#ibmimpact