BSS/OSS re-architected to meet NGN demands

Ashvin Vellody/Yankee Group
09 Jun 2009

There is a need to redefine the problem service providers face as the world of IT back-office software continues to add complexity in the operator environment. The coexistence of heterogeneous next-generation networks with new demands will complicate the issue if it is not used as an opportunity by the software vendors to get ahead of the game.

For years, vendors have helped service providers tackle software challenges by selling upgrades and enhancements that have solved a short-term problem, and in the process helped create unmanageable layers of software systems that must be maintained. In addition, most tier 1 providers in mature markets still have a strong not-invented-here prejudice against using third-party software or development for anything but peripheral systems.

Few options can be proposed to address this problem. Service providers can leverage the considerable internal resources of the IT department to build and operate a customized BSS/OSS platform to meet the requirements of yesterday, today and tomorrow. Vendors can continue to offer best-of-breed products in conjunction with professional services branded as "now supporting 4G".

Our belief is that the net result will be similar in both cases: new layers of spaghetti code, increasing complexity leading to ever-expanding opex budgets and making it a nightmare to operate reliably. In fact, managed services companies will leverage this complexity to their advantage by pitching to "manage your mess for less."

We believe that now is the right time to take a fresh look at the business problems BSS/OSS software will be required to address in the next five years and then build a product from the ground up. No more Band-Aids.

What is needed?

The next-generation wireless networks will have different radio networks cooperating in a heterogeneous wireless access infrastructure environment that includes GPRS,UMTS, WLAN, etc, enabling operators to serve customers efficiently by directing them to have the best experience based on service area, location, preferences and network performance. The BSS/OSS community needs to agree on the capabilities that should be built into their business applications and the operational software systems to support that.

Given the quest for broader bandwidth and the collision of wireless data and voice networks leveraging multi-standard and multi-service broadband sessions, how should systems be designed to effectively rate, charge and bill for new services in real time? How fast can a new service be modeled, tested and deployed for a target set of customers? Can it be monitored and measured in real time? It will require complete alignment of a variety of groups within the service provider organization - marketing, product development, IT and network staff - so that they understand this new world, what is expected from them and then execute on it to make the necessary adjustments within the multiple BSS/OSS environment to make it work.


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