TMF: Carriers at Ease With the Cloud

Telecom service providers are at last embracing the concept of cloud services and are ready to commit to it and other new business and operational models, according to Martin Creaner, the hirsute president and CEO of industry organization TM Forum .

Creaner was speaking with Light Reading ahead of next week's Management World 2011 event in Dublin, which is owned and organized by the TM Forum and where the subject of cloud services is already looming large. (See It'll Be Cloudy in Dublin and Dublin, Not Nice.)

"Twelve months ago I was having to argue about the importance of cloud services, carriers becoming B2B players and how it isn't necessary for [service providers] to own all their customers. Now I'm not having those arguments," says Creaner.

"The topics and challenges are roughly the same as last year, but there's a greater level of acceptance from the service providers that this is a reality, not a pipe dream. It's no longer an argument -- now the talk is of strategy and investment." Creaner also expects the following to be hot topics at the show:

  • The ongoing debate about revenue growth from multimedia services
  • The management and revenue assurance issues around machine-to-machine (M2M) services such as smart grids, health-care applications and mobile payments
  • How to drive innovation within telcos
Understandably, he's also keen to talk up the importance of the TM Forum's Frameworx architecture and the body's associated certification efforts. (See TM Forum Launches Certification Program and Survey: Telcos Long for SPIT Standards.)

"Service providers are putting Frameworx into their RFPs and RFIs," claims Creaner.

Any examples? He names Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) as one carrier that has taken Frameworx on board and is "going through the Frameworx compliance process." Creaner adds, "We're having similar conversations with Orange (NYSE: FTE) and Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD)." (See GigOptix Signs Distributor and DT Takes TMF Test.)

"We're not naïve enough to believe we are there yet, but we're getting towards a critical mass. ... 3,000 engineers have passed our Frameworx exams so there's a growing level of expertise. If that wheel keeps spinning it will gain its own momentum," added Creaner, sending Light Reading scurrying for its physics textbooks.

And then Creaner had a moment of madness and tempted fate, while suggesting that the previous location for the show, the Acropolis Center in Nice, France, was not the most efficient or easy-to-work-with location.

"It's like chalk and cheese, working with the Dublin location. Everything just works," stated Creaner, almost ensuring that something would fail to work during the opening hour of the show. "Fingers crossed we don't run into any volcanic ash issues!" he added. (See Volcano 1, Light Reading 1.)

I can feel the tremors already: He might as well have said, "Nothing could possibly go wrong ..."

You can get all the pre-event news and coverage from Dublin once the bars, er, I mean doors open on May 24, at our special Management World 2011 Show Site.

— Ray Le Maistre, International Managing Editor, Light Reading

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