Transforming the enterprise through agility
Transforming the enterprise through agility
How communications service providers can use enterprise architecture in an agile way
Every day, communications service providers (CSPs) around the world perform a balancing act between the need for new business initiatives and technology versus the need to contain costs and ensure overall efficiency. Data traffic is expected to increase 26x by 2015, leading to a compulsion to boost capital expenditure (CapEx) in order to build additional capacity. CSPs will be forced to find new and innovative ways to reduce CapEx while improving operational efficiency. However, legacy architectures and processes, disparate systems, and outdated applications result in high maintenance costs, thus inhibiting the CSP's ability to deliver new services rapidly.
To achieve this balance, organizations must close the gap between business planning and execution, especially execution that is dependent on software solutions. Enterprise architecture addresses this balancing of business and IT strategies, and for CSPs, this is done through an industry standard from TM Forum called Frameworx. Frameworx provides a business process framework (eTom) - an industry-accepted multi-layered view of the key business processes that a CSP requires to run their business. In addition, Frameworx provides a unifying integration framework that ties the various components of Frameworx together. It is a very powerful blueprint that clearly spells out business and operational views to get the business and IT to effectively collaborate with one another.
However Frameworx by itself is just a blue print. While it defines the necessary business and operational views, it doesn’t ensure clear and unambiguous communication in and of itself. For a CSP, it is very important to be agile, because they are in a hyper-competitive market with very high customer churn. Frameworx must be applied in an agile manner in order to break down the silos between the different parts of the organization. The need is to have more stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, and real-time planning. This can be done by applying some agile industry imperatives around the implementation of Frameworx that really enable it to be much more powerful than just a static blueprint for a service provider to follow.
One key agile imperative is notion of real time planning. One big issue CSPs can face is getting IT to deliver something that fully supports the goals of the business. Mostly this is due to communication barriers, as these organizations often work in silos and work off plans that have been developed independently. Real-time planning is the notion of first moving the organization to a lean structure where more stakeholders are not only aware of decisions being made, but are encouraged to provide input to decisions. Planning is done continuously and updates are received in real time by all the participating stakeholders. Planning becomes part of the process, not something performed in a vacuum. In case of the CSP decision-making process, the more input coming from the various stakeholders, including the customer, the better decisions can be made on what types of services the CSP should be focusing on. This data also gives them direction on how to transform their enterprise to support data explosion, cloud transformation, increased operational efficiency, etc.
Another key element is the notion of lifecycle traceability. Ultimately many of components defined using Frameworx will have a supporting software implementation. These applications, which define the business and operations support systems of the CSP, should have traceability from inception to the delivery of the service. Traceability enables the service provider to pinpoint how and when to leverage new services and technologies to improve efficiency and agility, by allowing them to change business architectures in response to new data. Change is inevitable in a dynamic market and having an architecture that’s actionable through lifecycle traceability is critical for a CSP to survive.
IBM Rational’s solution for agile service delivery is referred to as the Rational Service Creation Platform (RSCP). This is a services delivery lifecycle solution, from concept to deployment. Components of the Frameworx exist through the entire lifecycle. Processes defined in the Business Process Framework (eTom) have to be implemented by an Application Framework (TAM), which means real applications need to be tested and deployed. Throughout the different phases of RSCP, teams work together in an agile fashion through a collaborative backplane based on IBM Jazz technology. This backplane that breaks down the silos enables real time planning as well as full lifecycle traceability to enable an enterprise actionable architecture.
In summary, RSCP enables an agile delivery environment for the business and IT, which uses Frameworx as the governance model for the CSPs to transform their enterprise. It enables businesses to understand where they are today, establish a vision of where they need to be in the future, and provides a deployable architecture to get there.
For more information on Rational solutions for Communications Service Providers please visit: http