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this blog which started as a team blog for the IBM Business Partner Technical Strategy Enablement (IBPTSE) Telecom team no longer represents IBM in any shape or form.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)
Gridit is a Finnish company that is providing online retail services which was only founded in 2009. They are owned by nine local network providers. Think of them as an aggregated application store that sells a broad range of services and products from those nine network companies as well as third party content providers. They plan to sell services and content such as:
They do not make exclusive agreements with the content/service providers and provide their customers with freedom of choice. For Gridit, the customer is king - they will seek out new content providers if there is demand from the customers. Gridit also interact with local network providers and 3rd party content providers giving the customers a single point of contact and billing for the services that they resell.
What Gridit are providing is pretty similar to an app store solution we deployed last year in Vietnam which was also a joint venture by a number of Telcos and a bank which provided a retail online store for products and services from those communications providers as well as 3rd party content providers except that Gridit are also offering a hosted wholesale service - I could go to Gridit and build my new company 'Larmourcom' and offer products and services from a range of providers that Gridit front end for Larmourcom. Gridit can stand up an online commerce portal for Larmourcom and also provide an interface to the back end providers to allow for traditional and non-traditional service assurance, fulfilment and billing processes.
To achieve this abstraction from the back end providers, Gridit have used WebSphere Telecom Content Pack to provide an architectural framework and accelerator for all of those services. IBM has helped Gridit to map those processes as defined within the TeleManagement Forum's standards (eTOM, TAM, SID) and map them to the lower level processes to wherever the content or services come from.
Like the Vietnamese app store, Gridit are also using WebSphere Commerce to provide the online commerce and catalogue. For Gridit, the benefits they expect to see (as a result of a Business Value Assessment that was conducted) was 48% faster time to value by using Dynamic BPM and Telecom Content Pack versus a traditional BPM model. That is real business value and a great story for both Gridit and IBM. #ibmimpact
Telus is a Communications Service Provider in Canada, the second largest in their market with 12M connections (wireline, mobile and broadband). Telus have a very complex mix of products, services and systems and they need to maximise their investments while still be able to grow and maintain a lid on their costs. New projects still need to be implemented through good times and bad, so they need an architecture that will allow Telus to continue to grow and maintain costs through a range of economic conditions. Telus selected an agile method/strategy where a reasonable investment early on with the plan to become agile and support new 'projects' through small add ons in terms of investment. Ed Jung from Telus characterised the 'projects' in the later stages as rule or policy changes which may or may not require a formal release.
To achieve this agility, Telus are using WebShere Telecom Content Pack (WTCP) as an accelerator to keep costs down, while still maintaining standards compliance for their architecture. He sees key success factors as:
Selecting a key implementation partner (IBM)
Using standards where possible to maintain consistency
For Telus, they elected to start with fulfilment scenarios within their IPTV system. The basis for this is a data mapping to and from a common model - within the TeleManagement Forum's standards, that relates to the SID. Ed sees this common model as key to their success.
Dynamic endpoint selection is used within Telus to enable their processes to integrate and participate with their BPM layer. Ed suggest the key factors for a successful WTCP project are:
Adopt a reference architecture
Select a good partner
Seed money for lab trials
Choose correct pilots
Put governance in place (business and architects)
Configure data / reduce code
Ed thinks that last point (configure data / reduce code) is the best description of an agile architecture that really drive lower total cost of ownership for projects as well as a lower capital expenditure for each project.
Craig Hayman is up now and making some great announcements. He went through them to quickly to capture them all on my phone, but I took a photo which I will add to this post later. They included a new Castiron, is a new acquisition (today) which will add to IBM's cloud integration capabilities.
WebSphere Lombardi edition, bringing together BPMBlueworks and Blueprint in a cloud initiative are just some of the new announcements. The others are on the photo below:
Below is the official YouTube video from Craig's Hayman's Speech