19 Aug 2010
If our more than 700 members around the world are going to stick with us, we need to make sure we're not only helping them solve their current problems, but that we're also looking over the next hill and helping them prepare for what's coming down the line. So over the past five or so years, we've been looking at broadening our focus out to other industries, in particular ones that are very closely related to our own.
A no-brainer has been cable, because as we know the management requirements of cable and telecom are almost identical. So rather than duplicating efforts, we've been reaching out to cable providers and their vendors and sharing our standards and best practices and working with them to discover how they can be put to use within their own organizations. We're essentially opening a huge opportunity by reusing what we've been creating and getting more value and mileage out of existing things.
Another industry that we're moving into may not be as obvious as cable, but it's no less relevant. We were surprised to learn a couple of years ago that defense agencies and their contractors had been employing many of the components of TM Forum Frameworx within their organizations. Now that we know that, we've been working very closely with the defense community – even forming the Government and Defense Initiative – to support this, and today we're at the point where defense companies are significantly contributing to our Information Framework and other standards going forward.
We're also broadening our horizons into areas such as smart grid, mobile money and much more. But we're trying to be sensible about it; if another industry group is well established in an area, we're happy to step back. But because TM Forum occupies a unique horizontal management space that cuts across industries, problems and opportunities, we think we're in a great position to influence a much wider community.
Martin Creaner is president and COO of TM Forum