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OSS

Telstra Outlines Massive OSS Project

Australian giant Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) is overhauling its back office systems in an effort to cut out more than 1,000 existing software systems and save more than A$270 million (US$200 million) during the next six years, it has revealed in a new strategy document.

But while it's saving money, it will also be spending a reported A$300 million to A$400 million (US$225 million to US$300 million) with a new set of operational support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS). The systems will help the consolidation process and provide the software platforms underpinning the carrier's US$8 billion "Network Transformation Project" announced last year. (See Telstra Unveils Switch to IP.)

The carrier says it currently has 1,252 OSS systems (such as fault management, provisioning, inventory management, etc.) and BSS systems (billing, customer relationship management). It plans to reduce that number by 75 percent, or about 940, in the next three years, and by 80 percent, or 1,002, in the next five years, taking it down to 250 systems in total.

Telstra says it handed IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) a six-year deal in April this year to "bring together the operations and management of all of Telstra’s internal IT systems." Telstra adds: "We will realise savings of almost $270 million over the life of the contract, with $10 million in savings already achieved to date."

In its document, the carrier goes on to say that 11 "major transformational work programs are in various stages of completion" for its OSS and BSS systems, and that this will help "reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve customer service."

It adds that at the end of June it selected six "key vendors" that will provide new systems for its OSS programs covering service assurance (network and customer), service provisioning and activation (fulfillment), inventory, network planning, enterprise program management, and service delivery platforms (SDPs).

The vendors named are Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX) (best known for its billing systems but also a provider of other back office support systems), inventory specialist Cramer Systems Ltd. , performance management specialist InfoVista SA , OSS all-rounder MetaSolv Software Inc. (Nasdaq: MSLV), service fulfillment system vendor Syndesis Ltd. , and network design and planning specialist VPIsystems Inc.

Telstra had previously chosen three suppliers to provide its billing, customer relationship management (CRM), online support, and data warehousing capabilities. In March it signed contracts with systems integrator Accenture , billing systems firm Comverse Inc. (Nasdaq: CNSI), and CRM specialist Siebel Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: SEBL), which is now owned by Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL). (See Oracle Swallows Siebel.)

The carrier has also chosen Sun Microsystems Inc. as a strategic supplier of servers for its back office systems, and says "two units of Sun’s new server, the Fire E25K, have been operational since May 2006. Ten additional units were ordered in June 2006."

No financial details have been provided by Telstra, but reports in the Australian media suggest that Amdocs is getting the biggest single deal, possibly as high as A$100 million (US$75 million). Amdocs, which today announced the acquisition of Cramer, declined to comment on its dealings with Telstra, as did Cramer. (See Amdocs Snaps Up Cramer.)

OSS transformation projects go hand-in-hand with network overhauls, and many of the same OSS and BSS firms are engaged with BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA) as it implements its 21CN network transformation strategy. (See OSS Players Shake a Leg, BT Awards Monster OSS Deal, BT Says 21CN Deadline Hasn't Moved, and BT Nears 21CN Vendor Lockdown.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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