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OSS 2.0: Telcos Need to Expose Themselves

LONDON –- OSS 2.0: Driving the Services Revolution -- Telecom operators have all the operational and billing tools they need to support the oncoming wave of Web 2.0 services, but they're not exploiting them properly and will need to expose them to application development partners.

That's one of the main takeaways from a panel debate session -- "Telco 2.0 - OSS, BSS & the Next-Gen Service Package" -- featuring operational support system/billing support system (OSS/BSS) suppliers here at Light Reading's event in London today.

Adapting to a Telco 2.0 services environment is challenging for telcos, said Graham Finnie, Heavy Reading's chief analyst, who hosted the panel session.

It means bringing new services to market in days rather than months, having the ability to deliver services to any device on any network, and having a unified view of the customer, he stated. And how operators adapt their OSS/BSS systems will be critical to how much they will be able to play in the Web 2.0 game.

One of the challenges for operators wanting to participate in the Telco 2.0 world is that they will need to expose their internal product catalogs and service delivery tools to consumers and resellers. But this involves much more than merely creating a Web portal for service activation and control.

But that doesn't mean carriers need to scrap their existing back office systems and start again.

The panelists -- David Jacobs, VP of product strategy at the OSS division of Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), and Chun-Ling Woon, VP of marketing and business development at ConceptWave Software Inc. -- believe operators' OSS/BSS systems are capable of supporting third-party service development, and that the changes needed should be evolutionary rather than revolutionary.

"I don’t think there should be a radical overhaul [of OSS/BSS], but [it should not be] cautious either," said Jacobs. "It's more of a common-sense approach [that's needed]... and some leadership to take the assets there and put them together in the way they were supposed to."

According to ConceptWave's Woon, a radical change is "absolutely not" necessary.

"We subscribe to a federated approach -- you don't change your organization, you make your organization work better," he said. "The problem is about complex orchestration on complex services."

Woon added: "You do that by leveraging your existing infrastructure. A Web portal is where you expose your catalogs."

Jacobs at Amdocs sees the exposure challenge from a different perspective. "The catalog is in CRM [customer relationship management] systems and they don't extend far enough down [into the network]," he said.

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Unstrung

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