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InterComms talks to Martin Creaner about the TM Forum’s plans

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Martin Creaner, President and CEO, TM Forum
Martin Creaner,
President and CEO, TM Forum

Martin Creaner is President and CEO of the TM Forum, a global, non-profit industry association focused on enabling service provider agility and innovation. As an established thought-leader in service creation, management and delivery, the Forum serves as a unifying force across industries, enabling more than 900 member companies to solve critical business issues through access to a wealth of knowledge, intellectual capital and standards. Martin is widely published and is featured and quoted regularly in business and trade journals. He is also the author of the leading telecommunications business book, “Frameworx Distilled.”

Q: As always, I ask the question, what’s going on at the TM Forum?
A: As you know, the TM Forum is a global, non-profit industry association focused on enabling service provider agility and innovation. With over 900 member companies now, we are committed to helping our members successfully transform their business models to embrace the opportunities of the digital economy. Communications service providers play a critical role in that economy and those who transform their businesses rapidly will enjoy significant growth.

As described by our Chairman Keith Willetts in his new book, “Unzipping the Digital World,” the digital economy and disruptive technologies are forcing service providers to rethink their core business models. The ramifications are significant – but so are the growth opportunities. We are focused on enabling that growth.

Q: Management World Americas 2012 is coming up soon. How will your focus on enabling the digital economy affect the conference? Will we see a change?
A: Yes, indeed. To help digital and communications service providers adapt to this rapidly changing landscape, we have re-imagined Management World Americas, our flagship North American conference happening in Orlando from Dec. 3-6, to help them meet the complex cultural and economic demands of the digital services marketplace. The event features highly interactive conference sessions and workshops, five Forums covering digital service delivery, analytics and management, and a new Pecha Kucha-style showcase of innovation.

Q: This year at Management World 2012 in Dublin, I noted that you had a series of summits, “covering the topics that matter most.” What topics will you cover at Management World Americas?
A: This year’s new conference format is divided into five Forums covering the end-to-end management of digital services and the challenges of running a service provider’s business, including: Digital and M2M Service Enablement Forum, Big Data Analytics Forum, Customer Experience Management Forum, Agile IT and Cloud Forum, and the Cyber Security Forum.

In addition, Management World Americas includes a full day Cable Summit, exclusive roundtables, and a unique networking, discovery and solution zone—called The Hub. The Hub is the conference’s nerve center featuring new Breakfast Briefings and lively Hub Happy Hours; the Pecha Kucha Theater; TM Forum’s Forumville; and live demonstrations of our unique Catalyst projects, the Management World Americas Expo, and new Innovation and Networking zones.

And of course, we continue to offer our renowned Training and Certification programs at Management World Americas as well.

Q: I noted the Customer Experience Management Summit 2012 is described as the Forum's first-ever, topic-driven conference. How does that fit with TM Forum’s new digital services focus?
A: With smartphone adoption, mobility and social media trends gaining significant traction in Asia, more consumers are demanding over-the-top (OTT) services. As a result, service providers need to review their customer experience strategies to ensure that they remain relevant and can secure their role in the growing OTT value chain. Because customer experience goes beyond network coverage and adequate customer service, TM Forum’s Customer Experience Management Summit 2012 arms service providers with the tools they need to thrive in the digital services economy.

The Summit is two-day conference, held at the Prince Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from Nov. 27-28, and is bringing together experts from across the Asia Pacific region to help service providers understand how to exceed customer expectations, increase revenue and avoid churn through the use of industry best practices. We are featuring exclusive C-Level keynote presentations from Aircel, Dialog Axiata PLC, RHB Investment Bank, MTS and Tune Talk, plus over 25 industry speakers and experts from leading communications providers in Asia Pacific such as Celcom Axiata, Globe Telecom, Maxis Broadband, NTT and Telekom Malaysia, as well as Skype, Tata and Western Union, among others.

Q: I’ve read about the increasing demand for TM Forum’s Frameworx Conformance Certification. What is the reason behind the demand? Is it also related to the growth of the digital services economy?
A: Well, as service providers come face-to-face with the reality of this new digital economy that I’ve been talking about, intense competition and the need for operational efficiency, we’ve had reports that top suppliers are seeing unprecedented demand for our Frameworx suite of standards and Frameworx Conformance Certification, which is an independent assessment of a product’s conformance to Frameworx.

By demanding that suppliers demonstrate Frameworx Conformance, service providers not only reduce their procurement and integration costs, but they also make sure that gains they’ve made in operational efficiency and effectiveness are preserved.

Oracle Communications reports to us that TM Forum’s Frameworx Conformance Certification is critical in at least 50% of the purchasing decisions they see today, while Tribold tells us that it’s critical in 95% of the decisions they see for their enterprise product management solution.

Already, 20 companies have undergone Frameworx Conformance Certification for their products/solutions with almost 50 products/solutions earning certification since the program launched two years ago. This represents a critical mass of products/solutions that service providers can select which are demonstrably conformant to Frameworx. And by requiring Frameworx Conformance right from the start, service providers are able to deploy services faster and compete on a level playing field in the digital services arena.

Q: Do you have any updates on the Frameworx suite of standards and its path for the future?
A: At our Management World Americas conference, we will announce Frameworx 12.5 which takes big strides towards meeting the needs of all parties across the end-to-end value chain to deliver, manage and monetize services. It includes a significant set of Best Practice Guides that are focused on taking TM Forum Frameworx Core Standards and making them implementable in multi-partner environments.

Frameworx is created by the TM Forum membership. Priorities are set by members and implementation is done by member-led project groups that work collaboratively to create the updates to the best practices and standards in the release. Over 115 companies are actively participating in creating the Frameworx 12.5 release.

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