Vendor Giants Go Soft

11:30 AM -- NICE, France -- Management World 2008 -- Walk onto the show floor here at the telecom software world's major event of the year, the TM Forum 's Management World gathering in the south of France, and you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a network hardware show.

For every major stand populated by an OSS or systems integration specialist, there's one housing a big box vendor -- Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Nokia Networks all have some serious floor space, and even Nortel Networks Ltd. is showing off as part of a Catalyst Showcase.

These companies have recognized that as major carriers embark on their major network transformation projects, so those operators also need to update and rationalize their back office and support software, which is now as much about service creation as about traditional assurance capabilities such as fault management.

And there's money to be made by their professional services arms too, as a major revamp of a carrier's OSS is a costly and time-consuming integration and support nightmare.

Of course, all of these companies have long been players in the OSS space in one way or another, it's just that they're now being much more vocal about it, and investing time, money, and human resources to ply their wares at events such as Management World.

But do they have anything interesting to say? Can they offer up a decent cup of coffee on their stand? Can they discuss their software proposition without using the phrase "end-to-end"?

EuroBlog will find out during the next few days, though it's already looking like the most engaging ideas and pitches might come from some of the software specialists, and even the systems integration houses -- look out for Patni Computer Systems Ltd. (NYSE: PTI) and its atoms proposition!

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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