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OSS/BSS

Singapore Startup Eyes 'Telco Salesforce' Role

Singapore startup MyRepublic had a baptism of fire when its IT system froze under heavy initial demand.

Two and a half years later, the company's cloud-based BSS/OSS is not just a competitive strength -- it's a new line of revenue.

CEO Malcolm Rodrigues says it's much more cost-effective than the traditional approach of purchasing a system from a specialist vendor and self-hosting and managing it.

"Instead of spending hundreds of millions of bucks we will charge you $1 a sub or $2 a sub, depending on your scale, and it just works," he says.

The company already claims five telcos as customers for its IT platform. Rodrigues said the software development team is now a separate unit and will be spun off by the end of the year.

"We expect it to be the Salesforce of telco software," he says.

MyRepublic is a retail broadband operator headquartered in Singapore and with operations in Indonesia and New Zealand. It doesn't own an access network in Singapore, taking advantage of the government-backed NBN Co Ltd. (for National Broadband Network) structure to lease capacity.

Group CIO Eugene Yeo says the company decided when it formed not to buy its IT system from one of the established vendors.

"The challenge for us was budget. It usually costs S$15 million [US$11 million], which we could ill afford, so we decided to adopt cloud technology to reduce costs," says Yeo.

The operator created a new IT platform in-house, but, when it began offering its cut-price broadband in Singapore in early 2014, it was swamped by the demand. New customers were waiting for up to two months to get connected.

In a revamp, it company automated its processes, applying the TM Forum's Zero-touch Orchestration Operations and Management (ZOOM) principles (the details of which are spelled out in this TM Forum case study).

"Basically we wanted to automate as much of the process as possible," says Yeo. "That means a lot of flexibility and less manpower."

His team created a single platform that is used by all the different sales and distribution channels, as well the customer. It's built on a public/private cloud configuration: the public cloud for the infrastructure layer, and its own premises for redundancy and to store the customer data, as required by local laws.


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It uses a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) with all services and apps created through APIs. That makes it very flexible, according to Yeo. His team can tweak the configuration to change not just the software but also the business process.

"We don't just manage IT assets -- we manage processes as well," Yeo said.

As well as ZOOM, it has adopted the TM Forum's Application Framework as well. As a result of the reworked order and process management systems, company customer satisfaction levels have nearly doubled and order handling efficiency improved sevenfold.

Now MyRepublic is pitching it as a back-end to other startup telcos.

"Several Tier 2 and Tier 3 operators are interested in getting us to help them better manage their operations and technology," Yeo says. "We have five rolling out in the course of the next year. There's a lot of buzz about what we're doing."

— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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