SOA adoption will keep ARPU intact

19 Mar 2009

Even before the current economic downturn, the communications industry was experiencing a major transition and a number of challenges. From new technologies like Wimax, LTE and service-oriented architecture (SOA) to new business models, revenue sharing, governance, increased competition and Net neutrality, communications service providers are encountering obstacles on all sides.

Add to that the recession. Today's economic conditions are putting pressure on providers' cash flow, gross margins and customer retention, leading operators to reduce capital expenditures, especially in more developed parts of the world.

While critical transformation programs are still going forward, operators are forced to drill down and really focus their efforts because of economic pressures. Smaller providers may delay or cancel transformation projects altogether, hurting telecom equipment vendors, which are likely to face further consolidation.

Amid this uncertainty, service providers still have a long checklist of things they have to keep an eye on. They must retain customers and their average revenue per user (ARPU) by improving customer value and experience; reduce costs in key areas through operational improvement; minimize business and technology risk; and create flexible service models and platforms to lower costs and be ready when the economy starts to recover.

As an industry group focused on improving business effectiveness for the communications and media industries, TM Forum can provide support for players up and down today's value chain by providing training and conferences, expertise, guidebooks and best practices, implementation roadmaps, and business benchmarking.

Aligning core frameworks

High on our list for 2009 is updating our core frameworks to align them with SOA principles. TM Forum recognizes that the concept of the service-oriented enterprise (SOE) has already been embraced in the software industry by the likes of Amazon, but it has yet to take off in the communications and entertainment sectors. An environment of flexible, reusable components will empower companies to transform in a future-proofed, resilient manner, bringing them closer to the ideal of aligning business and IT.

To infuse the type of agility and speed that characterizes the software industry into its own sectors, TM Forum has launched the Blueprint Initiative to ensure that implementation of its core frameworks keep pace with change by organizing process, data and applications according to SOA principles. With Blueprint, TM Forum will expand the implementation focus of its suite of Solution Frameworks (NGOSS) -- already the standard toolkit around the world for transforming service operations. That will help TM Forum members explore and clarify the concepts and technologies that constitute SOA and SOE -- separate concepts that are often confused in the industry.

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