White Paper: OSS/BSS evolution - success in the new market landscape
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White Paper: OSS/BSS evolution - success in the new market landscape

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Operators must address three key OSS/BSS areas to differentiate themselves in the Networked Society:

• improve their ability to rapidly and dynamically support user needs and address new business opportunities
• manage the need for real-time interaction between users, partners, the network and OSS/BSS capabilities.
• simplify their OSS/BSS into an open and flexible architecture.

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White Paper: OSS/BSS evolution - success in the new market landscape White Paper: OSS/BSS evolution - success in the new market landscape Document Transcript

  • success in the new market landscape Operators must address three key OSS/BSS areas to differentiate themselves in the Networked Society: >> improve their ability to rapidly and dynamically support user needs and address new business opportunities >> manage the need for real-time interaction between the users, partners, the network, and OSS/BSS capabilities >> simplify their OSS/BSS into an open and flexible architecture. ericsson White paper Uen 284 23-3210 | September 2013 OSS/BSS evolution
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • introduction 2 Introduction A revolution is about to change the world, where everyone and everything is connected in real time. The arrival of universal mobility, cloud computing and mobile broadband – the three main catalysts of the Networked Society [1] – is radically changing the market landscape for telecommunications operators. Supporting the demands of an always-connected, instantaneous, online lifestyle for individuals and organizations creates a whole new level of challenge for operators. Innovation is imperative to enable new business models, increased emphasis on user experience, and new levels of operating efficiency. For operators to be successful, they must open up their network and service capabilities to many different players in the marketplace, ranging from developers and OTT players to the digital native consumer, resulting in a new market landscape ecosystem, as shown in Figure 1. Operators have to anticipate a future that is more dynamic and features more and different types of connections than are traditional today. Their subscribers will also expect an ever-more intuitive experience from a much wider range of devices and applications. In those circumstances it is vital to bridge any gap between the operator’s business needs and its operational and business support system (OSS/BSS) capabilities, especially when future business models are not yet clearly understood and the flexibility to adapt quickly as they emerge becomes an important requirement. In that environment, operators’ OSS/BSS capabilities – including their people, organizations and business process models as well as their systems – have to enable agility so they can embrace new business strategies rapidly and dynamically. This allows operators to: >> create a relevant experience for their users, with a range of choices and tailored services supporting the personalized needs of the user, across devices and access networks >> optimize the user experience, relying on access to updated information about current services, usage data and real-time operational status >> empower collaborative monetization with external service providers, developers and other partners >> address machine-to-machine (M2M) opportunities, making the most of the same OSS/BSS capabilities as for traditional communication services. To give the user the best possible experience, the key is for operators to have an open and flexible OSS/BSS architecture in which network and OSS/BSS systems interact closely with each other, sharing unified capabilities and information to enable instant insight into how the network is being used. Multiple business modelsMultiple business models Service creatorService creator Service enablerService enabler Network developer Network developer Vertical solutionsVertical solutions TechnologyTechnology ProcessesProcesses OrganizationOrganization Figure 1: Operator opportunities in the dynamic market landscape
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • Operator challenges in the new market landscape 3 Operator challenges in the new market landscape The Networked Society brings huge growth in the number and types of services being provided by operators to smaller and smaller niches of subscribers, which demands rapid service innovation and a low cost of providing incremental services. With the trend away from subscriptions towards payment for individual items, such as a movie or a video, operators need the flexibility to dynamically price items by time of day, the quality required, or the network congestion level, plus the policy and flow controls to deliver the service the user paid for. Fierce competition is driving the demand for rapid business innovation, so experimentation must be easy, quick and cheap. Support for innovation by OSS/BSS systems must be equally fast and inexpensive. For example, M2M business models continue to emerge in multiple segments, delivered via complex value chains, requiring flexible support from OSS/BSS. In their roles in the new market landscape, operators face many challenges if they are to grow their business and differentiate themselves.This paper focuses on the following three key areas that are vital for telecom operators transforming themselves for success: >> improving their ability to rapidly and dynamically support user needs and address new business opportunities through evolved OSS/BSS capabilities >> managing the need for real-time interaction between users, partners, the network and OSS/BSS capabilities >> simplifying their OSS/BSS into an open and flexible architecture with reusable technology components supporting process-oriented solutions. Improving the ability to rapidly and dynamically support user needs In the new market landscape, operators must be ready to collaborate with partners outside the telecom domain. These players offer service innovations such as ad-supported content, new financial models, or new types of applications with seamless connectivity – at a minimum across all of a user’s device and access channels. Increased competition and the demand for instant service creation, targeting smaller niches of subscribers, drives operators to innovate rapidly in a dynamic marketplace. Operators can achieve this with more speed and agility by exposing their unique assets, along with flexible commercial terms, to capitalize on the innovative strength and subscriber reach of external partners. Traditionally, operators exposed mainly messaging and payment capabilities. In the new market landscape, they also need to expose subscriber information, network policy capabilities and business processes related to order management, fulfillment and assurance. Subscribers how perceive the value of their experience based on the sum of all the services included in the package, whether that is connectivity, applications or content.They also seek a simple yet customized experience of their services, across devices. However, traditional OSS/ BSS systems were not built for handling these experience-driven service level agreements, user- experience KPIs or dynamic personalization needs. There are also increasing numbers of user roles or personas that an operator needs to support appropriately and handle in context.These roles include the device owner, the bill payer, managers requiring usage notifications, partners, producers and consumers of online information (or “prosumers,” who do both).
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • Operator challenges in the new market landscape  4 Managing the need for real-time interaction between users, partners, the network and OSS/BSS capabilities In the new market landscape, new services and new business relations can be created instantly. Whether from a network, OSS/BSS, user or partner perspective, the experience must be consistent, trustworthy and complete. All parties in this ecosystem should be confident that all relevant information and business relationship data is kept up to date. Hence, having the right data at the right time is vital for operators to act more efficiently and stay one step ahead of their competitors. At the same time, operators have a huge challenge in mining relevant information from their complex networks and turning it into actionable insights. Traditionally in BSS, operators monitor usage thresholds in real time to enforce policy on data quotas, or to implement volume discounts for users. Credit control relies on real-time verification that a service has been, or can be, paid for by the user. However new, more advanced, policy management is being introduced, requiring real-time interaction with the network and the OSS systems. One example is more advanced traffic monitoring enabling business or parental controls, such as giving higher quality of service to a specific VIP user or blocking inappropriate content for children. The OSS is also increasingly dependent on having advanced real-time capabilities. For example, the self-organizing networks (SON) standard concerns real-time understanding of the network and taking the appropriate actions for self-optimization, self-healing and more efficient provisioning of new services. For instance, historically it required days or even weeks for an operator to provision a circuit. Today, circuits have bandwidth allocated and managed using a variety of mechanisms in real time, such as is currently done with IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), and will be further enhanced by the introduction of software-defined networking (SDN). The trend is that people want even more control over their subscriptions and more personalized offerings. Optimizing the user experience relies on access to updated information about current services, usage data and real-time operational status, as well as being able to understand the user’s behavior to personalize offers better.This opens up an important opportunity for operators, but also puts new requirements on their capabilities. One key capability is combining real-time insights from the network, the BSS and the OSS and presenting them in a meaningful way for departments that traditionally didn’t use real-time information – such as customer care and marketing. For instance, understanding the most probable root cause of a specific user’s problem before they call customer care builds trust and loyalty. Further, if a subscriber’s package doesn’t cover video streaming and they are trying to access a movie, the ability to interact with them dynamically, in real time, and offer a suitable upgrade creates an important up-selling opportunity, improves user experience and hence builds loyalty. Simplifying OSS/BSS architecture Traditional OSS/BSS environments can be complex, with high operating and maintenance expenses, largely on account of the sheer number of systems handling different OSS/BSS functions and processes. Many operators have hundreds of systems involved to do this. Besides the challenge of integrating all these systems, master data management becomes a nightmare. The same type of information is distributed across many places which are seldom synchronized. From a technical perspective, information models are disparate. As a consequence, business processes are usually optimized for individual services, without a user-centric, end-to-end perspective. As one example of this complexity, information about subscribers, partners, products, inventories, orders, revenue and so on is often duplicated with multiple instances of these entities in multiple places which then need to be synchronized. Given the move to more dynamic and open ecosystems, what was once an operator’s internal- only efficiency problem is rapidly becoming a true business blockage, causing difficulties when attempting to quickly roll out new and bundled cross-domain services.
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • OSS/BSS evolution solution  5 OSS/BSS evolution as the solution Put simply, this paper recommends that the best solution to the challenges of the Networked Society is for operators to look for OSS/BSS capabilities that offer: >> innovation and business agility to act rapidly and differentiate themselves in the new marketplace >> real-time network, customer and partner interaction >> flexible and business-oriented technology architecture with reusable building blocks. Bringing innovation and business agility to the new marketplace In adapting to open ecosystems and making their business assets work outside the boundaries of the company, operators can create whole new kinds of business opportunities. These exploit collaboration between multiple parties, such as other operators, OTT players, content owners, banks, healthcare providers and so on. For instance, an operator could provide services to the healthcare industry, leveraging their partners’ mobile diagnostic or alert services with customers over the top of their own broadband capabilities. The presence of multiple players not only drives new business models, but also creates the need for a high degree of flexibility when considering financial and charging models. Limited only by the commercial ingenuity of the operator and its partners, these potential models include two-sided and ad-supported deals, upgrade and downgrade offers, niche markets, offers per bundle, per week, per hour or by volume discount, or offers to improve the yield management of network resources. The first major shift that operators need to make when considering new business models with new players is to move away from traditional retail thinking. The retail customer model is a narrow two-party mindset compared with what is required in the new market landscape. In a more wholesale and distribution- oriented approach, the operator’s business model naturally focuses on the concept of value networks. In these, new OTT players or payment providers add unique value on top of the operator’s mobile broadband services. With its multi-party functions, this model takes into account that many players contribute to the user’s overall end-to-end service experience and need to be included in any solution. Additional information is available in the Ericsson white paper on service exposure [2]. Central to the idea of taking an agile approach to the market, an operator’s degree of flexibility will depend on how well they are able to reuse their OSS/BSS capabilities – including people, organizations, business process models and systems – to provide many different services or even support whole new businesses. Specifically for OSS/BSS systems, it is important to take a layered approach to realizing business strategy and solving problems, as this provides maximum flexibility through maximum system reuse while avoiding duplicate functions and information. Strategy layerStrategy layer Business layerBusiness layer Information layerInformation layer OSS/BSS systems and network capabilities OSS/BSS systems and network capabilities Application layerApplication layer Technology layerTechnology layer A business strategy is implemented… A business strategy is implemented… by offering business services… by offering business services… which are delivered through business processes… which are delivered through business processes… Plan to provision Plan to provision Order to cash Order to cash that run data and information… that run data and information… managed by systems and applications… managed by systems and applications… deployed on a technology network and platform deployed on a technology network and platform Figure 2: TOGAF features layers to produce maximum system flexibility and reuse
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • OSS/BSS evolution solution  6 To achieve this layered approach and thereby bridge any gap between business needs and OSS/BSS capabilities, operators need to adapt their OSS/BSS systems to follow three core concepts: >> abstraction – business process logic is expressed generally and once only, so that it can be reused in many potential business process contexts >> componentization – software is designed as reusable objects or service components following service-oriented architecture (SOA) principles >> exposure – data and information models are available for use by many different applications, by means of a catalog or other information exposure framework. Following these concepts, for instance, the bundling of service and product components can be handled in a unified way. Eligibility rules and restrictions on which service and product combinations are available for different user categories are similarly supported in a unified manner and made known to all applications needing that information. This paper recommends that operators would be well served in taking an end-to-end business architecture approach, by using a change methodology such asThe Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) [3], or similar, which provides a breakdown of the enterprise’s business strategies and needs, as summarized in Figure 2. Benefiting from real-time capabilities The central importance of real-time capabilities in OSS/BSS permeates all aspects of operational, network and business management. Since many new services demand real-time support, operators must either transition to real-time OSS/BSS capabilities or forego these revenues. Real-time interactions are the way to bridge any gap between the network and OSS/BSS systems, so that during service delivery the user experience works successfully in real time and on demand throughout the application’s operation; for example, covering credit authorization, plan validation, bandwidth bumps and network authorization. The evolution of the telecom network in the future will add further requirements on OSS/BSS systems related to managing new network capabilities, as shown in Figure 3.The general introduction of cloud Access gating and mobility management Access gating and mobility management User data managementUser data management Policy control Policy control ContentContent Proxy functions Proxy functions Other servicesOther services Communication service control Communication service control Service exposure Service exposure Service not managed by operator Service not managed by operator Wired accessWired access Integrated radio access Integrated radio access IP networkingIP networking TransmissionTransmission UNIUNI NNINNI InfrastructureInfrastructure Loosely integrated Wi-Fi Loosely integrated Wi-Fi CableCableDSLDSL OptoOpto OptoOpto TelcoTelco TelcoTelco TelcoTelco TelcoTelco ITIT TelcoTelco ITIT DSLDSL ManMan OTTOTT IPIP IPIP VoiceVoice Phone OS Phone OS Chip OS Chip OS Wi-FiWi-Fi Wi-FiWi-Fi Wi-FiWi-Fi ACAC FiberFiber HSS/ HLR HSS/ HLR RNC/ BSC RNC/ BSC S/PDN GW S/PDN GW MME/ SGSN MME/ SGSN AAAAAA BSSBSS OSSOSS Dom mgmt Dom mgmt IMS core IMS core OSSOSS 3GPP3GPP PCRFPCRF ExpoExpo MTASMTAS TVTV MSCMSC CDNCDN OTTOTT comcom MGWMGW CDNCDN MSPMSP BNGBNG R&SR&S R&SR&S OptoOpto R&SR&S OptoOpto PeeringPeering OptoOpto R&SR&S R&SR&S Micro wave Micro wave 3GPP3GPP 3GPP3GPP UDRUDR Operations and business support Operations and business support Figure 3: The new network environment
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • OSS/BSS evolution solution  7 working means that OSS/BSS systems need to manage both dedicated as well as virtualized infrastructure. Account activation is another example of the need for real time interactions. Mobile phones have always been activated quickly, but today there are many business models that require immediate activation, while the user is still online. One example of real-time interaction for charging and activation is when Amazon sells a Kindle; it comes with free network access to the store, paid for by Amazon. Any other use is prohibited. A creative operator with flexible and dynamic OSS/BSS capabilities could detect any prohibited efforts to surf the web and provide a redirection to a sign up page for Kindle users, offering a daily, monthly or permanent contract. Such is the advantage for operators who can exploit business opportunities in real-time. Also, customer care and self-care applications need to be instantly aware of delivered and consumed services to retain operator credibility when interacting with users, or for that matter, their supply chain partners. The introduction of real-time support functions needs the same level of focus not only on the OSS/ BSS systems but also on the operator’s functional organization of people and formal business processes. Without this, the organization and its business processes could easily get out of alignment with the new real-time orientation of the operator’s support systems. Leveraging an information-centric, catalog-driven OSS/BSS architecture To update legacy stovepiped OSS/BSS systems and create cost-efficient systems offering the required level of abstraction, operators need to take a modular approach to designing them, based on standardized components with limitless configurability. Operators should implement a true SOA architecture where building blocks, information and business logic can be rearranged and reused as needed. This creates an OSS/BSS environment that operators can repurpose in an agile way as the world changes, by dynamically reconfiguring the pieces. This paper recommends that operators start by creating a catalog-driven architecture with a shared information model and clear data separation. Catalog-driven operations have a fundamental benefit as the industry evolves to service exposure and multi-party collaboration on product offerings. In these environments it is essential to follow industry standards for naming structure so that browsing, ordering, development and mash-ups can be done efficiently. These techniques enable the operator and the industry to be truly able to launch new collaborative packages quickly, cheaply and effectively. By using OSS/BSS suites that have standard components and a modern enterprise architecture incorporating clear views about data separation, it is, for the first time, possible to set up catalog- driven architectures that are based on common master data repositories.These deal with key entity classes of data such as customers, products, resources and so on. These OSS/BSS suites help ensure that operators also have the applications that are designed to use these data models, such as self-care or business analytics. This paper recommends implementing an efficient OSS/BSS architecture, such as shown in Figure 4. The network and OSS/BSS systems are synchronized and use the same master data. The OSS/BSS environment handles product, user and resource information, from a master data perspective.The architecture is completely catalog-driven and covers the full breadth of service enablement and OSS/BSS using the same reference data. One benefit of this is to lower the incremental cost and time to market for new OSS/BSS capabilities, so the operator is more able to innovate and experiment. In summary, having the right OSS/BSS architecture in place provides the characteristics required by the Networked Society in terms of: >> scalability >> real-time, end-to-end capabilities >> process automation support >> converged and centralized data analytics >> easy configuration for experimentation and shortened time to market. Customer and partner management Customer and partner management Resource inventory Resource inventory = Customer, product, resource and event data= Customer, product, resource and event data Revenue management Revenue management Network entities and componentsNetwork entities and components Event management and analysis Event management and analysis Experience assurance Experience assurance Product and service management Product and service management Order management Order management Customer and partner interaction Customer and partner interaction Figure 4: Efficient OSS/BSS architecture
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • Applying design principles in practice  8 In conclusion, the following action checklist describes how operators can apply these design principles in practice to their own OSS/BSS and networks: >> Review their organization of people and business processes, as well as their systems, to ensure they derive the maximum leverage from their OSS/BSS solutions in supporting their business strategy and needs. >> Identify their high level requirements for OSS/BSS system capabilities, either for their own centralized and decentralized systems or in the cloud. >> Modernize their OSS/BSS systems by implementing a componentized service-oriented architecture (SOA) with all the software components held in a catalog.This should include not only the digital network services, but also the fulfillment, assurance and charging functions. >> Introduce OSS/BSS applications that cut across technologies and user segments, such as: ›› single rating and charge handling ›› single resource catalog, for inventory and asset handling ›› single-user usage data ›› single sign-on and identity management solutions. >> They should plan their BSS transformation without being too limited by the needs of technology integration with, or evolution of, their legacy systems. A side-by-side approach, with users then migrated across segment-by-segment, can actually be far more efficient. Typically, the side-by-side environment can be focused initially on supporting new services, with the migration of legacy services done as a subsequent step. The introduction of these real-time, fully automated solutions across the network and OSS/BSS enable operators to streamline a number of processes. This helps simplify operations, reduce operational expenses and in turn can re-focus investments and efforts into agile innovation and personalized subscriber offers. Applying design principles in practice
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • glossary 9 GLOSSARY AAA authentication, authorization and accounting AC access controller BNG Broadband Network Gateway BSC base station controller CDN content distribution network DSL digital subscriber line HLR home location register HSS Home Subscriber Server IMS IP Multimedia Subsystem KPI key performance indicator M2M machine-to-machine MGW media gateway MME Mobility Management Entity MSC mobile service center MSP multi-sequence positioning MTAS Multimedia Telephony Application Server NNI Network-to-Network Interface OS operating system OSS/BSS operations and business support systems OTT over-the-top PCRF policy and charging rules function PDN-GW packet data network gateway R&S Routing and Switching RNC radio network controller SDN software-defined networking SGSN Serving GPRS Support Node SGW serving gateway SOA service-oriented architecture SON self-organizing networks TOGAF The Open Group Architecture Framework UDR user data repository UNI User to Network Interface
  • OSS/BSS evolution for the new market landscape • references 10 References 1. Ericsson, 2013. Networked Society Essentials. Available at: http://www.ericsson.com/res/docs/2013/networked-society-essentials-booklet.pdf 2. Ericsson, 2013. Service exposure – the key to network relevance and innovation. Available at: http://www.ericsson.com/res/docs/whitepapers/wp-network-service-exposure.pdf 3. The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF). Available at: http://www.opengroup.org/togaf/ © 2013 Ericsson AB – All rights reserved