OSS in the Cloud? Not So Fast
Cloud services are designed to help enterprises offload the complexity of their IT infrastructure and applications, cutting both their capital requirements and their staffing needs. So shouldn't telecom network operators, which have incredibly complex and capital-intensive IT systems, be moving their back-office systems into the cloud as quickly as possible?
Absolutely, said a slew of Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT) experts at the Management World 2011 show in Dublin last week. The problem is, it's not going to happen any time soon.
"OSS as a service is very logical step, but it's not happening yet," says Matthew Edwards, director of the cloud services initiative at the TM Forum . "We are at the talking stage right now."
Among those talking often in Dublin was Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS)'s Michael Lowery, executive director of architecture, who is looking to a cloud approach to unifying and simplifying that carrier's wireline, wireless and cable operations in order to more efficiently offer bundled services on an ASP, or "as-a-service," basis.
In today's siloed world, Telstra needs basics, such as one way of identifying a customer, Lowery says, and that could be solved by cloud-based systems. (See Mgmt World: Telstra Sees ASP Future.)
But Lowery admitted at the Innovation Summit last week that he needs other pieces, such as common service delivery platforms (SDPs), to achieve his goal of a simplified OSS/BSS architecture that delivers services on an access network-agnostic basis.
The problem in general is that today's OSSs are still large monolithic and often siloed systems that need to undergo substantial transformation, consolidation and simplification before they can be transferred to the cloud: Moving today's mess into the cloud would only create a cloudy mess.
Then there's the matter of standards for interfaces between a cloud-based solution and existing legacy systems to maintain data integrity and manage a transition. Those don't exist yet and that process will take time, says TM Forum President Martin Creaner. It likely will start with a set of best practices.
Next Page: OSS clouds roll in