Beyond NGOSS – leaner operations
InterComms talks to Martin Creaner, Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, about recent progress the TeleManagement Forum (TM Forum) has had with its programmes.
Martin Creaner has been working and advising in the communications industry for 18 years and is presently Vice President and Chief Technical Officer of the Telemanagement Forum. Prior to joining the TeleManagement Forum, Martin held a number of executive positions with BT, the major UK based European Communications Service Provider, and with Motorola, the global Wireless Networks Equipment manufacturer, where Martin led the 2.5G and 3G OSS solutions development activities. Martin sits on the board of a number of telecoms companies, and is the Chairman of Selatra Ltd., which is a java games applications service provider for the mobile marketplace.
Q: Where did the TM Forum come from?
Q: Can you outline the technical role the TM Forum has undertaken?
Q: Where are you with NGOSS today?
Q: How did the TM Forum approach the problem?
Q: How have you split the work up?
We formally submitted eTOM in October. It was endorsed from a technical point of view in November. It is now going through a number of internal review processes. We expect it to become formal standard in the second quarter of this year.
The second component of NGOSS is the Shared Information and Data Model (SID). One of the biggest issues, which became apparent early on, is that in integrating systems it is not the incompatibility at interface level but incompatibility at the data model level that causes the most problems. Converting the data models takes time and effort. The SID is being gradually accepted across industry, it is on release four now. It is almost complete in a technical sense in that it is implementable, usable and covers all of the important areas.
The third aspect of NGOSS is the integration architecture – this is called the Technology Neutral Architecture. This component seeks to deal with issues such as: what are the standard APIs used? What communication mechanisms are used between the systems? And what framework services? These are the deep architectural issues.
In short, eTOM covers the business process issues, the SID covers the information and data model issues and the Technology Neutral Architecture covers the integration architectural issues.
Q: NGOSS is a substantial part of your activities. What else are you concerned with?
Lots of companies have short-term individual problems. They have issues in service management for example, or problems with the interface between the element management layers and the network management layers. We have lots of teams tackling individual issues. Each of these teams are trying to use NGOSS as it has been defined, but they are only trying to produce a short-term result to help perhaps 10 to 30 companies.
Some of the major programmes we have running are applications of NGOSS such as the Multi Technology Network Management (MTNM) activity. This is a standardisation between the element management, and the network management layers. The element managers tend to be have been developed by the vendors of network equipment and the network operators tend to have network wide network managers with which they are interfacing. MTNM is addressing how to standardise the interface between these two layers. This has received a huge amount of adoption and buy-in and is now at its third release.
Q: Once NGOSS is completed, what next?
The focus is then going to shift on to what we call ‘Enabling The Lean Operator’. This is basically an extension of the challenge that was put to us when we began the NGOSS project three years ago. It is all about making an operator efficient and looking at the challenges above and beyond the technical issues that have been addressed in NGOSS. There are many issues involved such as the speed of roll out of services, the level of business information and business intelligence available.
The whole programme embraces NGOSS but is bigger than NGOSS. The challenge now is how the TM Forum should help operators to be more efficient with their business. We are going to be talking at lot more about Lean Operations during 2004 in terms of defining what it is and understanding what are the ‘points of pain’.
Q: How is this changing how operators see OSS?
Traditionally a company will look at spending money on an OSS that will cut costs. With substantial savings, the case for OSS is already made. The realisation is that OSS aids not just the operating costs but also business agility. Spending is necessary to adapt to changes in the market place and determines your rate of implementation of new services – this understanding is really a shift in the mindset in operators today. The ability to deliver new services at speed is absolutely essential.
The real focus over the next twelve months is going to be how we build on NGOSS and make an operator lean. This involves getting in to the mind of the deputy chief financial officer as well as the operations director. It is all about really understanding what they need and the relevance of those needs.
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