Comarch Technology Review 2010/01
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Comarch Technology Review 2010/01

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Published twice a year, Comarch Technology Review provides expert commentary and analysis on current trends shaping the telecommunications market, as well as gives insight on how to solve problems ...

Published twice a year, Comarch Technology Review provides expert commentary and analysis on current trends shaping the telecommunications market, as well as gives insight on how to solve problems most commonly faced by telecom operators. This unique and comprehensive publication is written by our specialists with expertise in various fields, ranging from BSS and OSS to VAS and professional services.

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Comarch Technology Review 2010/01 Comarch Technology Review 2010/01 Document Transcript

  • no 1/2010 [11] The Magazine of Comarch Telecommunications Business Unit www.comarch.com In ThIs IssUe: Customer spotlight Marcus Ras, One Phone: What Difficulties Do Corporate Customers Face With Regard To self service systems Automation? TR Contest Winner Does Cloud Computing have A Bright Future? Oss/Bss Features Is Your Business Reaching Its Optimum Performance? Cable TV Operators: Which service Are You Missing?
  • Telco Sphere blog a place to share ideas on the developments in the telecom world telcosphere.comarch.com
  • Preface 3 The Human Being and the Internet of Things or communication service providers (CSPs), as well the role of real-time telco and non-telco mass data F as technology and software vendors, 2009 was a year of cost-cutting programs and rethinking processing, revenue sharing and wholesale. Although M2M is not a novel concept for CSPs, we expect significant changes of strategies. After the first quarter of 2010, and a review of in the business model and increasing adoption of the idea of 2009 annual reports and 2010 strategies, it is evident that for an “internet of things,” in both the consumer and B2B markets. CSPs this will be a year of further offer consolidation focused While the MVNO market was regulated from the beginning, on core services and the target customer segment, as well the M2M market grows based on traditional and simple as consolidation and simplification of the IT environment. business rules in a competitive business environment. On the other hand, technology vendors will focus on strengthening services and moving as close as possible to It appears that leading CSPs will take a significant step end customers, with their own COTS products. towards the global concept of FTTx and Ultra speed mobile broadband projects in 2010. Infrastructure investments are All Mobile Operators, Multiservice Operators (MSO), Cable not likely to be great immediately, growing gradually based and Broadband Operators, ISPs, and even application and on market needs and utilizing stimulus founds. We believe IT vendors will take a part in NGN as Cloud global challenge. that the mobile backhaul problem will be solved by the CSPs However, the battleground has changed. There are no and electricity, gas, water companies and private-public PIOTR MAChnIk big differences between mobile, fixed or cable access companies who own fiber networks. Our entire perception Comarch sA technologies, because network equipment is moving toward of the internet is going to change in the near future. We will Vice President, Product the unification of configuration and service management. choose not between 1Mbs or 10Mbs, but rather between a set Management & Marketing The real differentiators will be a smart offer, high quality of services. HD voice will be standard, with additional options Telecommunications services and low cost. The next step in network progress for mobile communication, M2M, home zone services and Business Unit toward new and cheaper technology will be the adoption entertainment, based on our own virtual access point to the of Self-Organizing Networks and network sharing. Network NG Access Network. neutrality? Maybe not in 2010. Perhaps next year an edition of our magazine will be shown Fortunately for Comarch, the business and operation on an ultra flat nano-tech screen printed on the first page processes are not usually self-organizing. Thus, in 2010, and presented for you by avatar of the leader of Comarch’s we see many opportunities in the area of service quality Business Development Center. For now, we wish you management; NG network planning; further network accurate business decisions and many opportunities to transformation and consolidation; adoption of new business increase your business and market share. We are always models, including two-sided business models; and increasing committed to your success. Comarch Technology Review is a publication created by Comarch experts and specialists. It is created to assist our customers and partners in obtaining in-depth information about market trends and developments, and the technological possibilities of addressing the most important issues. editor-in-Chief: Katarzyna Gajewska Technology Review is a free publication available Layout & DTP: Jakub Malicki by subscription. The articles published here can be Photos: www.fotolia.com copied and reproduced only with the knowledge and Proofreader: Alina Tylman consent of the editors. The names of products and Publisher: Comarch SA companies mentioned are trade marks and trade Al. Jana Pawła II 39a, 31-864 Kraków names of their producers. Tel. +48 12 64 61 000, Fax: +48 12 64 61 100 e-mail: marketing@comarch.pl To receive your subscription to the electronic www.comarch.com version or see the previous issues, please visit: Print: Skleniarz Printing House tr.comarch.com ul. J. Lea 118, 31-033 Kraków Circulation: 1 500
  • 4 table of contents 26 Is Your Business Reaching Its Optimum Performance? As your sales margins decrease, time becomes news oss/bss features crucial. Performance management methodology 5 What’s new 16 slicing Up the M2M Revenue Pie: how To Get is one of the most important tools enabling Your share And Boost Your Business managers to make the right decisions, at the right customer sPotlight What is the main benefit of such automatic time. Considering the current communications 6 Interview with Marcus Ras: communication? The owner of the machines does market situation, it is important to measure all What Difficulties Do Corporate Customers not need to visit them personally to verify their critical business figures and processes, and Face With Regard To self service systems operation or read certain measures manually. effectively link them to goals. Automation? Such machines can automatically send the Self Service is gaining in popularity in the SME and information to the owner or to another machine 30 Managing Your network Quality And corporate segments. But creating a self service that processes the data further. Such Machine-to- Guaranteeing A First-Class Customer system that is valuable both to the operator and Machine communication (M2M) is cheaper, faster experience the customers is not easy. Marcus Ras, the CIO and brings new possibilities. Customer experience is considered the new OnePhone Services AB of One Phone, discusses battleground, and has recently evolved into his view on the challenges and opportunities in 20 Cable TV Operators: Which service Are You the most discussed topic. But how do you this field. Missing? manage customer experience without extensive The last few years have been very good for cable investments? One answer lies in augmenting 8 Case study: operators. With merger and acquisition strategies, the existing network performance management Comarch Oss suite Implementation at and rapid service portfolio expansion, these systems, to refocus them on the customer. T-Mobile Germany operators have been able to achieve sustained The results of R&SI project implementation revenue growth – an enviable feat. But that’s the telcosPhere blog are improved Incident, Problem and Change bright side. What went wrong? The customer 33 Comarch Oss/Bss User Group Commentary Management processes due to end-to-end relationship management side of things has service visibility, smooth integration of Service unfortunately been neglected. 34 Reactions To MWC 2010 and Resource layers and consolidated overview of ownership for services. 22 self Organizing networks: To have or not To 35The iPhone vs. the Rest of the World have Control? 10 Case study: Most people are familiar with the blackout 36striker, Midfielder or Defender – Which Comarch Oss suite Implementation at scenario within an electricity network. A single Position Is Your self Care Portal? Telefónica O2 Germany local failure at a specific network point can lead With the implementation of the Comarch to a blackout affecting half a nation. So what can technology a& innovation OSS Suite, an advanced network and service the blackout problem in electricity networks teach 37 Uniform Communication With everyone, management solution, O2 in Germany aimed to us with respect to telecommunication networks? everywhere unify and simplify the entire network management Next generation telecommunication networks Due to the massive increase in the capabilities process, while decreasing maintenance costs. regularly utilize Self Organizing Network (SON) of mobile devices, the range of communication concepts in order to significantly reduce the costs services provided to users has also increased tr contest winner of managing the increasingly complex network. significantly over the recent years. In addition to 12 Robert Dygas, PhD, The Besen Group MVne regular voice calls or SMS messages, handsets Advisor 24 Common service Models Across the Oss/Bss may also be used to make video calls, transfer Does Cloud Computing have A Bright Future? Landscape – (Im)possible To Achieve? media files, perform text chats or keep track of The phrase “cloud computing” is based on the In today’s world of service- and customer- what our contacts are doing cloud symbol frequently used to represent the centric OSS/BSS environments, service modeling internet. A great definition of cloud computing is essential. The main question is: are these 40 semantic Modelling of network Physical was put forth by Frank Gens, IDC analyst, who the same services? If we look at the service Devices: A Prototype stated that “…cloud computing means consumer layer of eTOM (specifically the horizontal level In this article we present a prototype application, and business products, services and solutions 1 process grouping “Service Development and which enables modelling the equipment using delivered and consumed over the internet.” Management”), everyone is able to talk about a dedicated Domain Specific Language (DSL) services. They should be in theory (this is the enriched with the best available logic-based assumption behind eTOM), but are very far from it reasoning services. This allows us to define in practice. a rich layer of semantics on top of the structural description of the devices. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • news 5 What’s New Recent Contracts: Recent Award 03 | 09 | 09 16 | 03 | 10 07 | 04 | 10 Comarch Releases A new solution For Mobile Operators: Comarch next Generation Comarch Completes the Implementation Comarch service Quality Management – network Planning of Comarch’s Field service Management Product of the Year 2010 Comarch announces a new solution for solution for WildBlue Communications On the 25th of March 2010, Comarch was mobile operators, Comarch Next Generation At the end of 2009, WildBlue Communications, awarded a third Golden Antenna (“Zlota Network Planning, which provides support Inc., a leading high-speed satellite Internet Antena”) for its Service Quality Management for activities related to the planning and service provider, signed a master technology tool, which has been recognized as management of mobile networks. It enables and services agreement with Comarch, Inc. “Product of the Year 2010” in the category of simplification and automation of network Telecommunications Operator Solutions. operation, delivering Self-Organizing Network 24 | 11 | 09 (SON) capabilities to your doorstep. Comarch Completes Polkomtel sA project Comarch SA, has recently completed the last Recent Partnership: phase of a project at Polkomtel SA. The result is the complete implementation of a robust 22 | 10 | 09 solution based on Comarch InterPartner Billing. Comarch enforces Its Presence On The Mediterranean Market 16 | 11 | 09 Comarch, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ergoman, Comarch Deploys Its Bss/Oss Platform For provider of tailor-made solutions in the OnePhone Deutschland telecommunications and IT business sector, OnePhone Deutschland, a new German in order to conduct common business operator created as a joint venture between Recent Product Launches: development activities in Greece, as well as KPN and OnePhone Holding with the purpose realize commercial contracts on the Greek of offering telephony services specifically for 11 | 02 | 10 market. enterprises, decided to deploy Comarch’s BSS and OSS Suite. new solution For satellite Broadband Providers Available On The Market 10 | 11 | 09 Comarch releases a comprehensive solution for satellite internet access providers - the Comarch has Been selected By e-Plus As Comarch Satellite Package. A strategic Outsourcing Partner For next Generation network Planning 10 | 02 | 10 Comarch has been selected by E-Plus as a strategic outsourcing partner for Next Comarch Introduces Its Latest solution – the Generation Network Planning. According to M2M Platform for Mobile Operators the letter of intent, Comarch and E-Plus plan To help mobile operators enter the M2M market to conclude the 5-year contract by the 18th of Comarch has designed a platform containing For more information, go to: May, 2010. the necessary features for operators to provide services for M2M partners. www.press.comarch.com Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 6 customer sPotlight What Difficulties Do Corporate Customers Face With Regard To Self Service Systems Automation? elf Service is gaining in popularity in the SME and [MR] It is too early for us to tell at this point, but given S corporate segments. But creating a self service system that is valuable both to the operator and the that we are offering such a complete self service tool to our customers, we expect that they will find it much customers is not easy. Marcus Ras, the CIO OnePhone Services more convenient, performing any necessary actions AB of One Phone, has kindly agreed to discuss his view on the when and how they want. We will, of course, still challenges and opportunities in this field. support our customers through other more traditional channels, such as account management and call Could you describe the self service options you offer to centers. However, we believe that the self service tool your customers? will be an attractive selling point in our overall telephony solution. [MR] OnePhone offers customers an almost complete self service tool. We offer our customers the ability how can aversion to self-service be minimized? to virtually manage their entire telephony solution on MARCUs RAs their own, after the initial implementation has been [MR] Seeing is believing, meaning that educating the OnePhone services AB set up. This includes setting up new subscribers customer regarding the benefits and possibilities of the Chief Information Officer and providing appropriate products. Pending the self service tool will serve to convince them of its value. It product, these can be provisioned by the customer is crucial to understand that customers will not find and themselves in near real-time. Even complex PBX explore these value-added functions on their own. Thus, it products and functions can be managed by the is up to OnePhone to pro-actively assist the customer in customer themselves, through our service/client using the self service portal. portal. Of course we offer more traditional functions such as FAQs and Support. However, in the area of how will you encourage customers to use the self care cost structure management we have once again portal instead of other, more expensive channels? stretched beyond the average functional set, to offer not only complex cost hierarchies, but also extensive [MR] As mentioned earlier, in taking on an active reporting capabilities. With our solution, not only do all role, we are hoping to get our customers to use and subscribers of a customer have access to the service appreciate the self service tool that we have made portal, but the customer telephony administrator can available to them. An important first step is education. also assign different functional privileges to users As part of the customer implementation project, within their company. some of our customers’ telephony administrators will be invited to attend a course to learn more about Please tell us about customer attitudes towards self- OnePhone tools. The second step is to bring the new service. Do they like the idea or would they still prefer features and functions that will be made available, being helped by a customer service agent? throughout the customer lifecycle. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • customer sPotlight 7 Which customer inquiries would you say are What are your thoughts on the self service effectively executed if the customer could best handled via traditional customer service portal working as a sales tool, rather than perform these themselves during the contract channels, such as a call center, and which are just an online bill presentation, ordering and period. Typically, this includes managing handled better by customers themselves? ticketing solution? accounts, subscribers, ordering products, etc. For more complex inquiries, such as customer [MR] There will always be exceptions to the rule, [MR] In order for a self service portal to be expansion projects or serious service outages, but traditional inquires such as “How do I…? a successful and realistic selling point, it needs it is again important to allow customers How much do we spend on…? How does this to truly show value to the customer. This is, to speak directly with customer service function work? When is this function becoming of course, much easier said than done. Our representatives or account managers. No single available?” are all traditional self service approach is to give the customer as much channel is the answer to how to communicate portal inquires that are very easily addressed functionality as possible, not only through with customers correctly. Instead, this is driven and answered by this tool. We have tried to our telephony offerings, but throughout the mainly by the strategic decisions made by the increase the transparency of the information surrounding services as well, wherever such company. we store about the customer to the customer integration makes sense. This gives the themselves. This means that traditional call customer the added value of not just a few What is difficult to automate by self service center data, such as personal information disparate functions, but a more thought- systems for corporate customers? and address information is provided to the through end-to-end solution. This value add is customer through the self service channel, something that we can then package and use [MR] Primarily, the most difficult thing including ability to manage actual cost as a sales point to our customers. to “automate” is the personal customer structures, such as bills. experience. Many corporate customers, Where do you see self service going within specifically small to medium businesses, If you were OnePhone’s customer, what your company, in the next few months and feel that personal service is often neglected, features/benefits would you look for in a self further? and that this is often a luxury only afforded service portal? to large enterprises. However, it is important [MR] We intend to offer more functions to to not forget that while customers [MR] We are looking for things that we can customers through self service. The more would frequently like to execute tasks learn from other industries. The biggest lesson a customer can do without being dependant independently, they would also appreciate that operators can learn comes from the more on the operator, the more seamless their being served by a real person on certain traditional e-commerce service providers, telephony solution. So as we grow our occasions. Therefore, it is important that, specifically from their functional offerings. For telephony product portfolio, we will also for instance, contact information is not instance, we can learn a lot from the postal grow our self service portal. Additionally, this so hidden on the self service portal that it service industry, where customers can track will include further integration between our seems forbidden. In fact, the opposite should the current location and expected delivery telephony offerings and our administrative be the case. If a customer wishes to contact of a package minute by minute, by using capabilities. We also look forward to hearing OnePhone, they should be able to easily do a tracking number. These functions could be from our customers over the next few months, so. With this information readily available, similarly applied in provisioning and/or in ticket to gather their initial perceptions and feedback. they are likely to trust the new contact management. Another example is the airline Based on the information received, we will work channel for further interactions. This trust, industry, which has an extremely complex to accommodate their wishes into our product gained by interacting through a self service pricing structure, and yet it is very easy to roadmaps as much as possible. portal, has the same impact and importance search, book and pay for airline tickets through as interacting through the more traditional the web with no human assistance. If the Which contact channel between corporate contact channels. airlines can quote, order and provision through customer and operator do you think is better the web, so should the telecommunications for the customer: face-to-face contact with Service providers usually have applications industry. The simpler a complex service is a sales representative, self service via web allowing their corporate customers to manage perceived to be, the more popular it seems portal, contact center or other? Why? the standard product offering. However, these to become. While this is a generalization, it applications are not adept at handling “exceptions, is still a major argument for the development [MR] Given our target customer segment and and exceptions from exceptions,” such as of simpler functions representing complex the type of solutions we offer, it is difficult mass ordering of services, special discounts solutions. It is often difficult to build solid to single out a preferred channel. There are on handsets, logistics (e.g. tracking, reservation business cases around this type of many different scenarios that impact the of handsets) and bill disputes. Even if these functionality and development. Therefore suitability of a contact channel. For instance, applications are able to reflect corporate structures these functions are often only deployed by during the customer acquisition stages, face- – it is only to show spending reports. Subscription startup companies, which are later forced to to-face meetings with sales, technical sales, management is not always possible in the same re-prioritize for reasons given above. However, project managers and customer service context or even in the same application. the customer and business value of this type of representatives are very important. There functionality should not be underestimated. are a number of tasks that could be more Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 8 customer sPotlight Comarch OSS Suite Implementation at T-Mobile Germany aced with the challenges of today’s The Business need F telecommunications world, T-Mobile Germany was consolidating its OSS landscape using NGOSS T-Mobile’s operations are constantly faced with increasingly principles. The Resource and Service Inventory (R&SI) is used to complex provided services, along with the need to optimize CuStomeR manage Customer-Facing Services, Resource-Facing Services Incident, Problem and Change Management processes, T-Mobile and resources used for these services coming from different at the resource and service level. These challenges led to Germany Inventory and Configuration Management systems. The T-Mobile introducing a Service Inventory system, integrated Resource and Service Inventory system is also integrated with with Inventory and Configuration Management systems InduStRy other OSS systems, such as Fault Management and Trouble already present in the environment. Communications Ticketing. The R&SI project is a crucial element of T-Mobile’s strategy of migration towards next generation networks and The main problem of the T-Mobile project was the T-Mobile is a business OSS. This is the first step towards a self-organizing and self- cooperation between the Service Inventory and different unit of Deutsche optimizing network concept, which is a natural continuation of Resource Inventory Management systems. Telecom. Responsible the R&SI project. for mobile operations, it concentrates on the most dynamic markets in Europe and the COMARCh ResOURCe & seRVICe InVenTORY United States. By the end of the first quarter s s s of 2009, more than 149 editable resource R (managed by R&SI) million customers were s s s s s s served on ten T-Mobile read-only resource markets. T-Mobile is R (provided by 3rd s s gradually integrating party) OSS systems used in its R R R R R R R European operations in s editable service order to simplify network R R R R R R R management and provide providing the resources a common management platform for an entity that is composed of multiple national GSM operators in R R R R R R Europe. R R R R R R Figure 1 Logical architecture of the solution Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • customer sPotlight 9 The Approach Comarch Service Inventory provides a flexible The Result service modeling function that enables Because of the large scope of the project, it was representation of complicated mobile service The results of R&SI project implementation divided into several phases. Proof of Concept was in today’s networks. It allows for definition of are improved Incident, Problem and Change realized in the first phase. Comarch implemented many-to-many relations between resources and Management processes due to end-to-end basic functions of the system and provided sample Resource-Facing Services layers and between visibility of the services, smooth integration of integration with other T-Mobile systems. The goal of Resource-Facing Service (RFS) and Customer- Service and Resource layers and consolidated the initial phase was to develop and agree on the Facing Service (CFS) layers. The data model of overview of ownership for services. system functions and to check the functionality of Comarch Service Inventory is based on SID. It integration interfaces. Meanwhile, the requirements enables association of RFSs with different types of Cooperation between T-Mobile and Comarch is not for the final solution were gathered and crucial resources: limited to a single system installation. Rather, this functions were also discussed. is only the beginning of a complex transformation Equipment of the entire T-Mobile environment. With an When the system was accepted by the operator, ongoing effort towards environment consolidation the functionality developed during the first phase Equipment groups composed of multiple national operators, solutions of the implementation was only a basis for further developed by Comarch will play a central role in expansion of the Inventory Management system, Connections T-Mobile’s future operations. An increasing need within functionality and integration. for unified operations will inevitably push T-Mobile Connection groups towards integration, and Comarch will be a key T-Mobile demanded a system that offered enabler in this process. integrated and flexible service modeling, and Device components a wide integration ability to seamlessly cooperate Case study was published in the 8th Volume of TM with other systems Applications Forum Case Study Handbook, December 2009. Configuration Why Comarch? It also enables flexible service representation in Of all vendors offering similar OSS solutions, only mobile networks. According to NGOSS and eTOM Comarch offered an already established product principles, R&SI is the master system for the with significant market position, together with the service models, i.e. the service models maintained possibility of implementing specific functional within R&SI are used by Fault Management and requirements for advanced data sharing. Trouble Ticketing applications, and in the future, all applications requesting access to Service In some network domains, R&SI is the master Inventory (e.g. SLA Management). This approach system for resource creation, while in others it results in more consistent service modeling ComaRCh pRoduCt: holds only the read-only copy of the resources processes and management. Event propagation up used for services creation. The integration with to service level and alternatively down to resource Comarch Resource & Service 3rd party systems was realized by common level are possible, as well as event suppression Inventory information present in the environment, which based on change information. enables simplification of the overall architecture and reduction of the number of interfaces. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 10 customer sPotlight Comarch OSS Suite Implementation at Telefónica O2 Germany With the implementation of the Comarch OSS Suite, available through the dedicated Element Management W an advanced network and service management solution, O2 in Germany aimed to unify and simplify Systems used previously, including firmware upgrades, while at the same time enhancing these systems with additional the entire network management process, while at the features. Further, the integration of the systems entailed CuStomeR same time decreasing maintenance costs. All provider the development of unified network-level management Telefónica O2 telecommunications networks are comprised of a wide functions. Additionally, the system needed to correlate and Germany range of network elements, supplied by various vendors. subsequently present data gathered from all the managed The reason for this is quite simple: the highly competitive network elements in one consistent view. InduStRy nature of the equipment market allows operators to choose Communications the most cost-effective and technologically advanced solution, regardless of which vendor provides it. Going one The Approach Telefónica O2 Germany step further, it is important to remember that operators need Gmbh & Co. OhG belongs to manage all of these network devices. Of course this can The strongest aspect of Comarch’s offer was the ability to to Telefónica Europe and be done with a set of disparate proprietary management specifically tailor the offered solution to customer needs. is part of the Spanish systems. However, this kind of approach is usually expensive In this case this meant, among other things, enhancing telecommunication and has additional flaws making it unacceptable for O2. Comarch’s system with a set of specific management group Telefónica S.A. What the operators should be trying to achieve is a single, consoles, each for a different type of network element. The Company offers comprehensive and integrated Network Management System its German private and that directly manages and monitors all the different network The introduction of Comarch InsightNet* is a good step business customers elements and services. in operations optimization, integrating the management postpaid and prepaid of our transmission technologies into one homogeneous mobile telecom products platform. as well as innovative The Business need mobile data services Günter kaufmann based on the GPRS and For this project, O2 did not restrict itself to acquiring Manager, Operation Support Systems, Telefónica O2 Germany UMTS technologies. In a solution that would act as a manager of managers, *InsightNet is the former name of the Comarch OSS Suite addition, the integrated integrating with its already existing management systems. communications provider Instead, the company sought to completely replace the also offers DSL fixed element management systems in use. This required a system Why Comarch? network telephony and with a direct interface to thousands of network elements high-speed internet. from different vendors. In order to achieve this, a set of Comarch Inventory Management is the basis for other Telefónica Europe has specific data adapters needed to be created. modules, which operate using data collected and stored in nearly 49 million mobile and its database. It is designed to store complete information on fixed network customers One challenge was to equip the system with functionalities network resources. The information is kept up-to-date with in Great Britain, Ireland, the enabling the configuration of every network element. The changes occurring in the network thanks to the integrated Czech Republic, Slovakia solution should allow the operator to perform all actions network reconciliation module. and Germany. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • customer sPotlight 11 Comarch Configuration Management supports the The Result configuration of network elements of O2 network ComaRCh infrastructure in Germany. The functions of this module The implementation of the Comarch OSS Suite resulted in pRoduCtS cover: software/firmware management, including scheduled the following benefits: & SeRvICeS: upgrades, direct configuration of each of the network elements via a dedicated GUI, population of the initial Centralized and unified control across all network Comarch Network configuration of new devices, as well as modeling and domains Inventory provisioning of end-to-end connections. Management Information on network elements and their The Comarch Fault Management module monitors existing configuration gathered in one place Comarch network infrastructure elements. It receives, displays and Configuration efficiently tracks alarms, all of which allows users to manage Seamless integration with the existing environment Management potentially debilitating network problems quickly and effectively. The system also enables users to fully configure Unified solution for real-time network performance Comarch Fault the way alarms are processed. This is done through the management and monitoring Management creation of rules utilized by the built-in correlation engine. Improved network reliability Comarch The main goal of Comarch OSS Performance Management Performance (PM) is to provide a centralized point of performance policy Full automation of fault management tasks, including Management monitoring and network performance reporting. Here, the correlation module focuses on collecting all performance data (both short- and long-term) and forwarding it to O2‘s central PM Future-proof design (easy extensibility) data analysis system. Due to its wide functionality scope, the Comarch OSS Suite A sophisticated sophisticated visualization interface was is reliable step towards an integrated network management provided for the presentation of the gathered data. This system, simplifying the management process and reducing interface is capable of displaying all elements and alarms. OPEX. In addition to simply listing devices and alarms, it is also possible to use maps to visualize the status of network infrastructure and services. The system offers a GIS map- based visualization, logical layout, as well as a hierarchical view of the network and the devices within. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 12 tr contest winner Does Cloud Computing Have A Bright Future? The Concept of Cloud Computing can be provided over the internet, such as access to data warehouses, IT platforms, servers, applications, etc. Even The phrase “cloud computing” is based on the cloud symbol the cloud computing business process can be provided as frequently used to represent the internet. A great definition a service. According to a forecast from the IDC, the cloud of cloud computing was put forth by Frank Gens, IDC analyst, computing market will reach $42 billion by 2012. What does who stated that “…cloud computing means consumer and this figure mean? If compared to Microsoft’s or Google’s business products, services and solutions delivered and revenue for 2008, which was $58.4 billion [1] and $22.3 consumed over the internet.” Additionally, these can be billion respectively, this is clearly a significant market. Merill delivered and consumed anytime, anywhere. This is the Lynch estimates the market to be worth $160 billion by 2011, essence of the cloud computing concept, which is easy to including $65 billion from online advertising. Regardless of define, but can be difficult to control and manage in practice. which figure is correct, it is clear that the cloud computing This concept arises mainly due to technology development, market is significant and continues to grow. Some of ROBeRT DYGAs service specializations, as well as the current economic this market’s key attributes include shared services that The Besen Group crisis, which has forced companies to look for cheaper can be offered to multiple parties, scalable and remotely MVNE Advisor solutions in using IT and telecom services. It is difficult to manageable turnkey solutions, packaged services that imagine a telecom operator without the physical network or customer pay for based on usage, authorized and secured infrastructure, but this way of thinking is outdated. Several network access, and web service APIs. of today’s mobile operators, such as Virgin Mobile, are completely virtual. They do not possess the infrastructure As can be observed in Figure 1, not surprisingly, the most themselves, typically utilizing already available services significant attribute is competitive pricing (83.2%), while from the internet, or specially designed interfaces. Thus, a lack of previous business relations is not very important today’s market is service, rather than product-oriented. (30.4%). Also crucial is which service is commonly used What infrastructure elements are needed? Any service that by customers. Based on Paralles.com research (2008), Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • tr contest winner 13 internet application hosting, on-demand remote storage risk an investor is exposed to, the more profit is expected in and database centers are the most valued, due to the return. But what is the real value added in cloud computing digitalization of services, requiring special applications and service models? Cloud computing allows companies to start software to operate. a business with very limited capital investment. Providers use platforms for direct volume sales of different services to There are different types of cloud computing companies, potential customers, who strongly believe in the brand power including IBM Cloud Service, Saleforce.com, Amazon EC2, of the service provider. Customers are often able to try out Symantec.com, GTS CE, Alcatel-Lucent, Comarch, Huawei, etc. the product before deciding to purchase and are charged The main threat for traditionally organized companies is the proportionately as their usage grows (pay-as-you-go). This possibility of a reduction in their own IT resources. Increasing is key for the value of the cloud computing business model. competition and open access to new technology requires However, is this stable over time or is the value of cloud new business models in order to survive on the market. This computing only temporary? Because cloud computing is is why today’s IT world is showing significant interest in the not regulated, this cannot be confirmed. But a business value cloud computing business models can bring. that begins operating by utilizing cloud computing may be able to construct its own infrastructure as it develops. The same is true in business acquisitions where assets need to The Value of Cloud Computing Business be estimated. So, could the cloud be the asset? Financially Models speaking, probably not, therefore complicating the situation for modern CEOs, since the concept is attractive, but difficult Business models are typically public, private or a hybrid of to monetize and audit. the two. Here we focus on the value each of these can bring when applied in the real world. Most companies believe that Of course cloud providers want to see value as well. The cloud computing will transform expenditures from capital majority of efforts are spent on finding the optimal strategy, to operational, which may help optimize financial ratios and giving the customer freedom to decide which option is more improve business flexibility. This is the virtualization impact convenient (see Figure 2). Besides the freedom to choose on the business, which strongly influences the company’s it should be also financially attractive. The key is to have finances. Since there’s no such thing as a free lunch, either a high usage or low cost per each user. On the other a price has to be paid. In this case, it is the Service Level hand, more users and more traffic require extra investments Agreement, and the security of data flow and transactions, for development (i.e. capacity for data centers on-demand). which are web based. Thus, virtualization makes business Thus, it is important to ask how much is necessary for more flexible, but less secure the same time. This is similar a cloud computing company to break even. If both the to the risks and gains in the stock market, where the more fixed costs and the contribution margin are measurable, Q: Importance of IT cloud services supplier attributes (1=not important, 5=very important) Offer competitive pricing 83.2% Offer performance-level assurances/SLAs 81.1% Understand my business and industry 68.0% Can move cloud offerings back on-premise 67.2% Can provide a complete solution 61.9% Are future-oriented, an innovator 58.2% Can support many of my IT needs 55.4% Have a large network of partners 54.1% Have local presence 46.3% Are a large, established company 40.6% Have done business with my organization 30.4% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% % responding 4 or 5 Figure 1. Importance of IT cloud services (supplier attributes) / Source: IDC Enterprise Panel, August 2008 n=244 Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 14 tr contest winner provide enabling offer customers 2 technology to other cloud 1 a growing number of providers applications as SaaS PUBLIC CLOUDs services PRIVATe CLOUD SaaS SaaS paaS InteRnet paaS IntRanet IaaS IaaS paaS/IaaS enabler or 3 Give customers the users provider choice to deploy technologies in either private clouds or public IaaS clouds objectives: Ensure that cloud computing is fully enterprise grade Support both public and private cloud computing – give customers choice Figure 2. Possible cloud computing strategy / Source: Oracle the answer can be easily found. The question then becomes of this article includes customers, business products, and how to calculate the price based on usage and number of infrastructure offered and consumed anytime, anywhere customers over time, for a variety of services (XaaS). This in real-time over the internet. This is, of course, a much potentially requires the calculation of margin thresholds to broader concept than defined by Gartner. Cloud computing determine exactly how volatile usage may be over time. There itself appears to be a temporary trend, drawing the are no winners yet on today’s market, because no standards attention of many CEOs, although the concept of software are available to measure and compare the profitability of as a service (SaaS) is actually most important, and has cloud computing services. Everything is on-demand and the most promising future in the IT world. It is important to tailor-made with no industry standardization. Therefore, cloud recognize that something that is a valuable business today computing should not initially be used for any particularly can evaporate like a cloud tomorrow. Cloud computing may sensitive activities that may have a dramatic impact on the have a bright future, provided security and SLA issues can core business. As a result, mobile operator billing systems be resolved. Otherwise it will be nothing more than a trend, are not expected to be based on cloud computing services surrounded by operational and financial risk. in near future. The Future of Cloud Computing According to Gartner Group [2], research virtualization [1] The Economist, October 17th 2009, page 72-73 and cloud computing are some of the top ten disruptive IT strategies in 2009. Specifically, cloud computing here [2] Gartner lists 10 most disruptive technologies of 2009 http:// means computing capabilities (mainly software) as a service itknowledgeexchange.techtarget.com/server-farm/gartner-predicts- (SaaS). The definition of cloud computing for the purpose technologies-to-watch-in-2009/ Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • featureD ProDuct 15 achine-to-machine (M2M) traffic can provide m additional revenue sources for operators battling against reduced revenues from voice services. telCo opeRatoR m2m paRtneR The number of connectable machines is 5 times greater than the amount of humans (source: eTsI), and the number of machines currently connected is extremely low. Gartner external Systems predicts that the level of mobile M2M modules will continue to grow at a rate of 28% CAGR until 2011. Self partner’s Comarch management administrators As the level of M2M traffic increases and M2M devices existing BSS m2m become more common, the price of individual M2M hardware platform platform components falls, boosting M2M popularity even further. In Integration m2m partner addition, the declining price of data services facilitates more existing oSS Systems M2M business scenarios. Scenarios that a couple of years platform ago were deemed useless, due to high costs, now present an attractive business opportunity, with telco operators able to attain a new revenue source by offering M2M connectivity Integration services. underlying network The Comarch M2M Platform for mobile network operators Services and M2M enablers supports rating and charging, and also provides tools for actions such as performing mass operations on SIM cards, and integration with inventory and a self service portal. The platform contains a B2B Gateway for secure web service integration with a partner, thus enabling self management and provisioning functionalities that partners can utilize via their systems. This platform can be added to the existing MNO infrastructure in the same way that MVNE platforms are added to support MVNO business. the Comarch m2m platform is designed to support mobile network operators and m2m enablers with their Comarch M2M Platform – Benefits: m2m business operations. In addition to rating and charging, the solution contains other functionalities Single platform for various types of M2M services: such as mediation, provisioning, self-service (including service-agnostic data processing for multiple types of industries self-provisioning) and partner management, depending on the requirements of the m2m enterprise. With this Able to process vast amounts of data solution, the operator and m2m enabler are able to control resources (such as SIm cards) and manage Increased automation and cost efficiency workflows. Enhanced cooperation with business partners Flexible integration with external systems: standardized More info is available at: interfaces, modern and open technology http://m2mplatform.comarch.com/ Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 16 oss/bss features slicing Up The M2M Revenue Pie: How To Get Your Share And Boost Your Business n our everyday lives we are using more and Why should You Be Interested In M2M? I more automated and intelligent machines. These include vending machines, new energy meters M2M communication is developing into an interesting in homes, monitoring equipment and many more. Such business opportunity for telecom operators struggling IdeaS In BRIeF: machines can provide important information (e.g. various to maintain or increase their revenues. As the revenue measures or alarms). They also need to be managed and growth from voice services’ declines and the market How can M2M monitored. Increasing numbers of machines are able to do becomes more saturated, the M2M segment shows a lot of communication this automatically and without the control of their owners. potential to introduce additional revenues. The number of help you acquire This sounds dangerous, especially in a scenario where all connectable machines is five times greater than number of additional our household appliances are capable of sending such people (source: European Telecommunications Standards revenue sources? information to the producer regarding our lifestyles and Institute [ETSI]), although the number of machines currently behavior. Fortunately the situation hasn’t reached this stage, connected is extremely low. What types of yet. Machines initiate communication in order to provide vital companies are information and save time and money. Such technology is Figure 1 presents a very basic M2M communication active on the currently employed by energy meters, vending machines, or business case from a mobile operator’s perspective, where M2M market? monitoring equipment, etc. connectivity is provided to the M2M partner. What are the What is the main benefit of such automatic communication? As the level of M2M traffic increases and devices typical features of The owner of the machines does not need to visit them become more common, the price of individual hardware an M2M platform personally to verify their operation or read certain measures components falls, boosting M2M popularity even further. and how can manually. Such machines can automatically send the According to Gartner, the average price of an M2M module they support your information to the owner or to another machine that processes (one that is attached to a connectable machine and enterprise? the data further. Such Machine-to-Machine communication contains the necessary communication capabilities, such (M2M) is cheaper, faster and brings new possibilities. as SMS/GPRS) will amount to approximately 20€ by 2011. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • oss/bss features 17 Compare this to the average price of a similar module in connectivity services to M2M partners who own or operate 2007 – almost 40€, and we can see that the hardware cost these machines. The second group, M2M partners, represent has decreased by half. various business sectors – for example, vending machine operators, electricity suppliers, monitoring companies and In addition to the reduced hardware costs, the declining many more. price of data services allows for additional M2M business scenarios. Scenarios that a couple of years ago were If the operator is only offering M2M connectivity services, the deemed useless due to high costs, are now an attractive revenue stream in most cases originates solely from monthly business opportunity. Instead of taking the market share fees for M2M subscriptions. However, there are numerous away from mobile operators, the companies that use M2M other possibilities and services, which can be offered to M2M kRzYszTOF services introduce new business opportunities. partners helping operators maximize this revenue. kWIATkOWskI Comarch sA Other aspects important for operators should also be Figure 2 presents a scenario where a mobile operator BSS Product Manager, considered. The churn rate for M2M subscriptions is gains additional revenues from the services it offers to the Telecommunications extremely low, the machines can be controlled in groups, M2M partner. Compare this to Figure 1, in which the mobile Business Unit and the data from machines does not usually overwhelm the operator only provides connectivity services – the difference network. Additionally, most of the M2M subscriptions do not between the levels of revenue can be quite significant. require complex customer service. Of course, the ARPU of an individual M2M subscription is lower than that of one person, The most substantial difference is in offering services such but the amount of connectable machines is higher. as provisioning, self service portals, B2B gateways, rating, charging services and resource management. This decreases M2M is a new and promising area that is developing very the complexity of the IT systems required by M2M partners, rapidly, with machines becoming an increasingly important enables faster and easier startup of M2M businesses and customer segment for mobile operators. simplifies the management of M2M subscriptions. Such services can be delivered by the mobile operator through the platform, which operates like a gateway (or service enabler) A Multiplayer Game placed between existing mobile operator systems and various M2M partners. Delivering such services to M2M partners PekkA VALITALO Telecom operators are not the only players in the Machine- facilitates mobile operators with increasing revenue. Comarch sA to-Machine world. At this moment in time they offer BSS Market Analyst, Telecommunications Business Unit Invoice moBIle opeRatoR m2m paRtneR Machine- existing Systems It Systems of m2m to-Machine of mobile operator partner communication (M2M) is cheaper, faster and brings new possibilities. Connectivity Services network equipment m2m devices Figure 1. Basic M2M business model – mobile operator provides connectivity services to the M2M partner Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 18 oss/bss features Invoice moBIle opeRatoR provisioning m2m paRtneR Self Service portal existing Systems m2m It Systems of m2m of mobile operator platform B2B Gateway partner Rating & Charging Resource mgt Connectivity Services network equipment m2m devices Figure 2. Extended M2M business model – additional revenues from auxiliary services new Roles emerge – M2M enablers M2M partners? Figure 3 presents an example of a business case, in which an M2M platform is integrated with the In addition to the operators that are expanding into M2M, new existing systems of a mobile operator and provides services It is important that types of players have arisen as a result of M2M business to M2M partners. operators can add growth – M2M enablers offering services to M2M partners. the M2M platform Let’s take a look at the typical features of an M2M platform to their existing A typical M2M enabler is the owner of the M2M platform and how they support the business of a mobile operator or systems. (Figure 2), delivering services to various partners, with an M2M enabler. With these features, they can both attain a connection to more than one mobile operator or ISP in most additional revenue by offering advanced services to their cases. M2M partners. These features include: An M2M enabler’s business model bears many similarities Provisioning of services such as activation and to the business model of a Mobile Virtual Network Enabler deactivation of SIM cards; the M2M partner does not (MVNE), already known in the telecommunications world. need to perform complex integrations with mobile Both offer necessary network connectivity (that can be operator systems, yet the mobile operator can provide obtained from the MNOs), back-office operations and IT easy-to-use interfaces, allowing the partner to perform Cooperation with platforms allowing end operators to concentrate on their core mass provisioning operations on M2M SIM cards on an M2M enablers businesses. ad hoc basis or with mobile operators offering The enabler’s role in the M2M business is very important, Data mediation for the M2M partner to collect, unify and the appropriate especially when considering how many of the new M2M correlate data from the machines (e.g. meter readings), services can boost partners and enterprises on the market came from industries which is then sent for further processing the development of other than telecommunications (e.g. utilities, security and M2M business. automotive markets) and lack the sufficient expertise to Rating of events allowing the mobile operator to charge cooperate closely with mobile operators. the M2M partner for the service usage, as well as provide charging services for end users of the M2M partner as a value-added service; in this case the M2M What should You Look For In An M2M partner does not need to have their own billing system Platform? Integration with inventory as a repository of M2M SIM What features are essential for an M2M platform used by cards and M2M equipment with customized structure, a mobile operator or an M2M enabler providing services for lifecycle management and logistics Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • oss/bss features 19 moBIle opeRatoR m2m paRtneR existing Systems existing Systems It Systems of m2m of mobile operator of mobile operator partner Rating Invoicing Interface CRm Retail Billing System & Charging partner Billing System monitoring Business Interface process management m2m Service provisioning mediation Subscribers database Self m2m Service monitoring Service Interface monitoring provisioning portal Service & network Resource B2B management Gateway Interface provisioning Inventory network equipment Connectivity m2m devices Figure 3. A single M2M platform – multiple M2M partners with customized services A self-service portal for M2M partners and end- Conclusions M2M is a new and customers enables the operator to lower costs by promising area shifting the focus of customer service to the web The M2M revenue pie is likely to be substantial in size, but which is developing it is still an open issue as to who will get the biggest piece. very rapidly, Mass SIM card management enables M2M partners Telecom operators and M2M enterprises are not the only with machines to control the SIM cards (such as mass activation or players that will benefit from M2M business growth. M2M becoming an deactivation in a specific building or area) on their own, enablers may also play a key role in this market and can increasingly without involving the mobile operator benefit directly from it. important customer segment for mobile B2B gateway making it possible to safely expose all Cooperation with M2M enablers or with mobile operators operators. features of the platform to multiple partners with easy- offering the appropriate services can boost the development to-use interfaces (e.g. Web Services) and integration of of M2M business. With this approach, partners and the M2M partner systems. enterprises can focus on their business without the need for investment in complex IT systems, which are not directly It is important that operators can add the M2M platform connected with their core business. to their existing systems similarly to the way in which the MVNE platform can be added to the MVNOs infrastructure. Mobile operators and M2M enablers should prepare their With the M2M platform, mobile operators can enter the platforms for offering services to M2M enterprises and M2M market without performing complex changes to their management of M2M services and traffic. The current existing systems, limiting the risk and increasing potential systems designed for management of human-to-human profitability. traffic may not be capable of processing this increased amount of data and the different characteristics of these new “customers”. To reap the rewards of the M2M business, appropriate adjustments to the underlying IT platforms are required, and it is important to make these adjustments early on in order to be a step ahead of the competition. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 20 oss/bss features Cable TV Operators: Which Service Are You Missing? Conquering new Markets billion in telecom services revenues just in the first half of 2009 alone. Leading cable operators have succeeded in It isn’t news that communications service providers have transforming their businesses, and almost 40% of their always had to explore new markets. Fixed operators have revenues come from telecommunication. To compare, telcos’ IdeaS In BRIeF: gone mobile. Mobile operators have started to provide revenues from IPTV are well under $10 billion per year (where internet services. ISPs have begun offering VoIP and TV. total global annual revenues are at $1.7 trillion). Cable TV operators Cable TV operators, too, were forced to transform and were forced to became triple-players or quad-players, in order to secure And the future is bright as well. Cable operators are expected to transform and revenues and compete effectively. When the economy was double their telephony revenues within five years. assumed the still booming, many went on a merger and acquisition spree. roles of triple- or Due to market deregulation and all-IP transformation, cable quad-players, in operators began to bite and sneak more and more of the houston, We have a Problem order to compete incumbent operators’ cake. effectively However, it seems that this transformation was too quick for These strategies seem to have yielded very good results. MSOs. With operators merging and services portfolio growing, Transformation According to TeleGeography Research, since 2003, cable IT infrastructures began to swell and succumb. This has been was successful, companies around the world have been increasing their a step-by-step process, with each step adding more silos, but occurred revenues from telecom services (primarily broadband complexity and limitations, in both the network and BSS/ to quickly for internet and telephony) by an average of 28% each year. OSS layers. As a result of chasing competition, new systems MSOs - customer MSOs (Multiple System Operators) generated over $30 were added quickly, without paying attention to the general relationships appear to have I want to been forgotten terminate the oK. What’s don’t you want I don’t need your name? to know why? to... contract With operators Case no 1 merging and the Customer Cable Customer Cable services portfolio operator operator expanding, IT infrastructures began to swell, please hold please hold on the line on the line meaning a Case no 2 significant cleanup may be necessary Customer ReGISteRInG ISSue Customer 30 mInuteS lateR... High quality services can offer now you can a sustainable We changed watch 5 kids competitive Case no 3 your program channels instead package of your favourite advantage on sport channel markets with Customer Customer multiple MSOs Figure 1. How cable operators care about their customers Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • oss/bss features 21 IT architecture. Introducing changes so quickly has created customers’ needs for a long time will suffer big losses after several critical issues: competition arrives. MSOs still use simple solutions that do not support next It seems that customer relationships have been forgotten in generation services, with poor time to market, efficiency the transformation process. or flexibility Multiple and not integrated manual back office systems Maintain Good speed increase operation costs and decrease effectiveness With the multi-play transformation underway across the New markets require QoS and SLAs, which are not industry, the future may still look bright. But in order to not MAGDALenA zYWIOL traditionally part of the cable mentality get eaten by the big fish, cable operators need to stop and Comarch sA look at what they may have left behind. A significant cleanup CRM Consultant, This inefficient system agglomeration has also had may be necessary to improve service quality and lower Telecommunications a negative impact on customers: operational costs. MSOs today need to look from a broader Business Unit perspective and verify whether their IT architecture meets Less clear and consistent product message the following multiservice approach principles: Increased wait time for service launch and ticket Easy and transparent customer services - minimize resolution (due to an overly complex information flow, instances of technical service details interfering with As a result incomplete access to information and errors in manual the customer experience of chasing process steps) competition, new Connecting disconnected CRM, billing and inventory systems were Offer not well-suited to customer needs (inflexible systems to enable additional business with both added quickly, service packages) customers and partners without paying attention to Lack of information regarding changes in service prices Flexibility in composing and re-configuring OSS network the general IT and availability services with minimal impact on BSS architecture. Today’s customers want to communicate with service More freedom in defining new product offerings based providers across multiple channels, and expect quick and on existing services and service bundles, and in flexible trouble ticket resolution. However, it seems that some launching service-agnostic price plans cable operators are stuck in the 1980s – information on their webpages is incomplete and outdated, and often there is Cross-layer independence - higher layers should not still no sign of a self service functionality. The difficulty of artificially constrain capabilities of the lower layers. Customer getting through to a knowledgeable call-center agent is On the other hand, if such constraints are desired relationship well-known. There are too few customer service offices and elements/conditions of a business service, it should be management has hours of operation are often too short for people with regular possible to introduce them unfortunately been work schedules. So what can a customer do in case of neglected. service failure? Experienced customers (one might call them Unified Self Care to manage all services veterans), know that the only thing left to do is simply sit and wait until the issue eventually gets fixed – because even if someone picks up the phone, it is usually impossible to how Truly Bright Is The Future? receive any information about repair time. What can you say in that case? Just another night without your favorite show. The last few years have been very good for cable operators. Yet another important issue is that the customer has no With merger and acquisition strategies, and rapid service control over the set of programs he/she receives, and what portfolio expansion, these operators have been able to is even worse, there is insufficient information about planned achieve sustained revenue growth – an enviable feat. package changes. But that’s the bright side. What went wrong? Customer relationship management has unfortunately been neglected. Changing service providers is not easy either, because This resulted in an alarming accumulation of negative there is typically only one provider in each neighborhood, customer experiences. Now, MSOs need to rethink their and customers are stuck with whichever cable operator approach to customers before other CSPs. The race to is available. MSOs often have a monopoly in their territory. provide multiple complex services to customers in a simpler, As history shows the monopolist that has ignored their friendlier way has begun. Where are you? Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 22 oss/bss features Self Organizing Networks: To Have or Not To Have Control? The Blackout scenario reduce the costs of managing the increasingly complex network. The idea is to make networks more intelligent and Most people are familiar with the blackout scenario within an automate management tasks, which until now have required electricity network. A single local failure at a pecific network human intervention. This means that the network becomes IdeaS In BRIeF: point can lead to a blackout affecting half a nation. It works more autonomous. One intended SON function is “cell outage like the domino effect, where one rare failure knocks out compensation.” This mechanism assumes that in the event Self-organizing the neighboring electricity facilities, propagating the failure of a cell outage, cells in close proximity should attempt means to their neighbors and so on, causing extensive damage. to compensate for lost coverage by adjusting their radio automation The term blackout originates from the incredible view parameters and neighboring relations. and providing created when this problem is viewed from above ground autonomy to the or from space. This epic failure takes the form of a wave Can this mechanism lead to a problem similar to the one network propagating though the country, switching off lights and discussed in the electricity blackout example? In fact it completely blacking out large areas. Although fascinating can… when implemented incorrectly. A typical example is The absence of visually, this has a disastrous impact on the economy and the airport cell scenario. This assumes that a low-ranking manual control our lives. Interestingly, this domino effect is caused by the cell close to a high ranking airport cell experiences the must not equal electricity network’s attempts to act “smartly.” The electricity outage. The cell outage compensation mechanism, when no control at all network has a compensation mechanism, which is used in conducted incorrectly, may mean that the airport cell the event of a local failure to compensate for the situation trying to compensate for the loss may have degraded its A shift from by leveraging the surrounding electricity facilities. However, own performance. Since the airport cell is a high-ranking defining “how” when you try to act intelligently, you must be careful to cell (meaning it must serve many more customers), the to defining avoid looking impractical in the end. In case of more severe business effect of the compensation could be catastrophic. “what” is crucial failures, it is better to not attempt to compensate for the local In this case it seems more sensible to simply do nothing, as outage, but rather to isolate it. This will ensure that it does opposed to finding a “smart” remedy. Control via not lead to a local problem, which could have catastrophic defining clear consequences for the entire network. But does this mean that the SON theory is wrong? Probably goals and not, as it only proves that when you try to behave in a criteria is the “smart” way, you really have to guarantee that you are most effective The Blackout scenario in sOn? behaving “smartly.” Proper implementation of the cell outage approach compensation mechanism means treating this issue as So what can the blackout problem in electricity networks an optimization problem. In other words, the algorithm teach us with respect to telecommunication networks? Next should compare the summary of the business impact of generation telecommunication networks regularly utilize Self the compensation with that of the original outage. If the Organizing Network (SON) concepts in order to significantly impact of the compensation is worse than that of the original Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • oss/bss features 23 outage, it is better to remain inactive or to simply select an “Borrowing” resources from an airport cell to compensate alternative compensation scenario. This may sound simple, an outage of a low ranking cell may not be a good idea, as but it also means that the compensation algorithm needs to this may reduce the airport cell’s ability to serve customers. be more comprehensive. Negative business effects of this degradation may outweigh the positive result achieved with coverage restoration of the faulty cell. sOn: To have or not To have Control? So what is the real goal of cell outage compensation? It is It could be said that the earlier cell outage compensation not to bring back lost coverage at all costs. Rather, it is to mechanism example shows how giving the network assure ability to fulfill customer demand (the service level) LUkAsz MenDYk autonomy may lead to problems. Some may argue that as much as possible, which can be achieved by leveraging Comarch sA although you may use self-organization to save time and available resources (reduced in the event of an outage). OSS Product Manager, money, you are bound to experience issues, since this When calculating the effect of outage compensation it Telecommunications requires you to give up control. However, this is not exactly is important to take into account not only the positive Business Unit true. In employing the self-organizing concept you must effect of restored coverage, but also the negative effect of maintain a balance between what is not worth your attention “borrowing” resources. If the summary service level of the and what you must control. The answer is that you must compensation scenario is worse than the service level of the control the goal and the criteria, but most likely do not need uncompensated outage, the compensation scenario should to control all of the details regarding exactly how your goal be discarded. This is a good example of a situation in which it is implemented in the autonomous system. The best way to is better to not compensate the low ranking cell, rather than demonstrate this is to go back to the example of cell outage risking the SLA violation for the neighboring airport cell. compensation. Thus, going back to the initial question of this article, the What is the goal of cell outage compensation? The answer answer is that you must know what you need to control seems obvious: to compensate the outage. But this is not and what you can let go, due to the autonomy of the self- exactly true. To understand the real goal, we must have organizing, self-optimizing algorithms. This is why the a proper view of the outage compensation process. This self-organizing network concept is so exciting. It forces process is based on the effect of “borrowing” resources us to better understand the network. Each time we want from cells in close proximity, to bring coverage to the faulty to delegate heavy tasks to be handled by autonomous cell. However, “borrowing” means lowering the service level subsystems, we need to identify borders of this autonomy, of cells from which the resources are borrowed. This is with the goal and criteria clearly defined. crucial, because outage compensation impacts all cells the resources of which are used for coverage compensation. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 24 oss/bss features Common Service Models Across the OSS/BSS Landscape – (Im)possible To Achieve? n today’s world of service- and customer-centric Fulfillment concentrates on provisioning process I OSS/BSS environments, service modeling is essential. If we look at the service layer of eTOM effectiveness, the distinction between manual and automatic fulfillment tasks and cooperation with third (specifically the horizontal level 1 process grouping “Service parties that provide a portion of the service. Service IdeaS In BRIeF: Development and Management”), everyone is able to talk models are examined to determine what has to be about services: configured in the first step Departments carrying out Strategy, Infrastructure and Product defines service Strategy, Infrastructure and Product concentrates on various eTOM strategy; assures the delivery of service capabilities; business cases and identification of high revenue level 2 processes manages service development and retirement areas. The ability to bundle the same service in various in the service product offerings is important. Service models are layer usually Fulfillment enables service configuration and activation examined to determine what is going to sell have their own tools and service Assurance monitors, analyzes, diagnoses and aims to Billing concentrates on inter-partner settlements, rating models, due improve service quality efficiency and discounts application. Service models to specifically are examined to determine how to ensure that the different Billing analyzes and rates service usage records billing process is correct and efficient service model requirements and Operations Support and Readiness manages service Operations Support and Readiness concentrates on expectations inventory and supports all other areas coverage, capacity and availability of the resources. This department supports all others and ensures smooth Service models The main question is: are these the same services? They process operation. Service models are examined to already exist, should be in theory (this is the assumption behind eTOM), but determine whether they are ready to be launched even in legacy are very far from it in practice. systems, but are not present in existing environment service-oriented Requirements and expectations types, rendering In theory, Operations Support and Readiness should manage the task of Departments carrying out various eTOM level 2 processes service inventory and thus provide the service catalog that service modelers in the service layer usually have their own tools and service would fulfill all necessary requirements. Complicating their even more models, because their service model requirements and task however, is the fact that these service models already complicated expectations are very different: exist, even in legacy, not service oriented systems. They are not always represented explicitly and are usually stored The adoption of Assurance concentrates on the correlation of in some type of configuration: contract templates, groups a step-by-step fault information from different sources (fault and of KPI measurements, rules of alarm processing. The initial strategy towards performance management, active and passive probing environment is filled with service models. The worst case commonly systems, trouble ticketing), in order to assess service scenario involves not only a service model per department defined service impact and calculate root causes. Service models are realizing one eTOM level 2 process group, but also per system models is examined to determine the most common source of operating in each department. For example: the service models recommended problems may be implemented in every performance management tool separately. It is clear that such service models are difficult to Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • oss/bss features 25 maintain, export and share between different systems. They Recommendations lengthen the configuration process and complicate interfaces. They are prone to errors and increase operational costs. The Instead of failing to achieve the ideal scenario, it is better to best optimization method in this scenario is creating a single adopt a step-by-step strategy towards commonly defined central place to store all necessary service models. service models, managed by OS&R. The following is a sample approach that can be utilized (among other possibilities) to achieve a realistic scenario: Challenges With Commonly Defined service Models Service models should be centrally stored in service inventory. Different teams that are responsible for MALGORzATA The optimization method mentioned earlier implies that different use cases, realized with the use of service kWATeRA-knAPek everyone must agree on exactly what these service models models (event management, performance management, Comarch sA should look like. And here the real challenge begins: how to provisioning and activation) should have access to OSS Solution Manager, define the service models that answer the needs of Fulfillment, different areas of service model management, in order to Telecommunications Assurance and Billing in the same time? For instance, sufficiently specify the models Business Unit Assurance places the most value on capturing all elements that can create events and KPIs, as well as on optimizing the This requires responsibility areas within service models models for correlation purposes. For Fulfillment, provisioning in service inventory to be properly defined order and elimination of bottlenecks in the process are the most critical. Billing takes care of the difference between pre- Service models prepared according to the methodology paid vs. post-paid and usage vs. flat-rate. Operations Support described above should be shared with all interested and Readiness needs to provide correct service models for all parties as read-only (modifications would be only these requirements. All these expectations will be very difficult possible in service inventory) to achieve in practice, and simply defining the responsibility for this task in OS&R does not solve the problem. The reason KPI definitions, thresholds, propagation and correlation is the complexity of service modeling, without definition rules, as well as provisioning scenarios should be defined of the use cases that the models should fulfill. In practice, within responsible units and corresponding systems. allowing all interested parties to define the requirements to be These should be propagated back to service inventory, implemented by OS&R and provided within service models may where they will be read-only, but available. Thus, service actually be counterproductive, with everyone maintaining their inventory becomes central storage for the service models, current service models, due to the supposed futility of new as well as for associated knowledge models. Commonly defined service models should be viewed as both a challenge and responsibility for all parties involved. StRateGy, InFRaStRuCtuRe opeRatIonS & pRoduCt product lifecycle operations Fulfillment assurance Billing management Support & Readiness I can monitor the I can produce I want to sell I have a network I can configure the faults (so that we invoices (so that product (it is built (it can be used to network (so that it know if services we get paid for the of services) deliver services) provides services) are oK) services) Figure 1. Alternative visions of service across eTOM level 2 processes Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 26 oss/bss features Is Your Business Reaching Its Optimum Performance? s your sales margins decrease, time becomes equipment, effectiveness of the network and services a crucial. The performance management methodology is one of the most important tools delivered. Performance management can also be used for budget and time control of large, complex projects. Other enabling managers to make the right decisions, at the goals, such as sales growth, cost reduction and time-to- right time. Considering the current communications market market can be monitored as well. All critical business situation, it is important to measure all critical business figures and figures and processes, and effectively link them to goals. The range of business process types where performance is processes should important is also extremely wide, and can be related to order be measured and Performance management is a set of activities ensuring management, billing, invoicing, managed services, customer effectively linked to that certain goals are met at all times, and can be applied in service, partner settlements, time-to-market for new services goals. numerous business areas, including personnel, processes, and more. departments, projects, finance, general performance of the organization and more. The question is - how can the activities connected with performance management of business-critical processes Within network performance management, these activities inside a large organization be supported? include evaluation and reporting on telecommunications Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • oss/bss features 27 The Past and the Future how Does It Work? IdeaS In BRIeF: Information-based organizations frequently use Business Intelligence (BI) with regards to skills, processes and 1. Definition of goals How can technologies, as well as applications and practices. BI you support technology is based on historical and predictive information The mission of an organization involves accomplishing managers in views, and can provide reporting, analytics, data mining and certain goals. Goal-setting is the first stage in defining how making the right predictive analytics. performance should be measured in a given organization. decisions, at the right time? All this information can be combined to help managers Depending on the organization type and the characteristics make the most informed decisions possible. It assists with of the business, such goals can vary. For service providers, How can you analyzing large amounts of data, as well as with identifying goals can range from financial performance and market judge whether the patterns and trends that affect the business. share indicators, to increasing customer satisfaction. One your business is way the latter can be achieved is by shortening the average heading in the However, even if business intelligence is useful, it only duration of the order management process. right direction? represents information related to the past and the future. It aggregates static information gathered from multiple How can you sources and does not provide up-to-date information about 2. Definition of measures ensuring ensure that what is currently happening within certain processes. goals are met business goals are met at all Measures can be represented by Key Performance Indicators times? (KPI) connected to particular processes, and can assess time the duration of the business process, the number of orders processed within one hour, the number of errors in orders processed within a given time period, etc. Let’s use the example of a KPI expressed by a time period between an operator entering the customer data into the BI – historical now? BI – predictive CRM form and the end of the provisioning process. To make data view this KPI more precise, we can link it to the average time for processing an order within a given hour. Based on this information, we define a desirable order processing time (e.g. one minute) and set it as our KPI. What About Right now? kRzYszTOF To measure the KPI it is sufficient to determine the time kWIATkOWskI The business of most companies consists of running between the start and finish points. But to solve possible Comarch sA hundreds or thousands of shorter and longer, smaller and performance problems and to discover their source, BSS Product Manager, larger processes. These processes often go through multiple we require more advanced measures, linked to partial Telecommunications levels of the company hierarchy, various IT systems and operations. One example is measuring the duration of Business Unit numerous departments. a credibility check performed by an external company, whose systems are connected with our order management Present process view and the possibility of detecting processes. Another is verifying the duration of provisioning associated performance problems requires an extension processes. Therefore, it is necessary to have intermediate of Business Intelligence with real-time, event-driven data measures related to particular stages of the processes. analysis, called Business Activity Monitoring. In addition, it is vital that measures are stored within Information from Business Intelligence supplemented with a registry. Such a history of measures in an explicit or a real-time view allows managers to make the most well- aggregated format can be transferred to the Business informed decisions, at the right time. Intelligence systems, and used for future comparison or correlation with real-time data. This complete view of the historical, predictive and present data is managed by Comarch Performance Management for Business. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 28 oss/bss features events is discovered. This information is then translated into the measures (KPIs) defined in step 2. visualization 5. Visualizing results in dashboards One of the most important steps is visualization of measures. measures collector Dashboards depicting graphs, grids and alarms are commonly used. To visualize measures, it is important to have the option to build your own dashboards with current measures, history and other values. measures Complex events processing definition If you are involved in monitoring order management processes, you may want to view the average times for order registrations for each hour of a particular day. You may also want to know the location of the most important bottlenecks, events collector as well as to find out the number of orders registered, separated by customer category. Performance should be monitored by various levels of company management. Only then can it work effectively. events from sensors However, each manager has different concerns and may be interested in more aggregated or more detailed information, Figure 1 Translating events into measures including details about various business processes. Thus, visualization must be highly flexible and should allow the It is a crucial 3. Definition of points for event creation of custom dashboards for specific employees and element for collection managers. To be comprehensive, the information presented supporting within the dashboards should consist of historical and decision- In order to measure the intervals between particular stages forecasted data extracted from Business Intelligence and making, based of given business processes, we have to plug in certain up-to-date measures. It should be possible to personalize on the essential sensors. This means integrating the sensors with the the dashboards or create your own, based on pre-defined information taken Business Process Management system. widgets. from the past, future and the Currently, an increasing number of solutions are using For security purposes, not everyone should have access to present. Service Oriented Architecture and modern Business Process all Business Intelligence data or all of the available measures. Management systems, where such integration of sensors is not particularly complex and does not require any changes to existing systems and processes. It is also possible to use 6. Alarms and notifications standard-based protocols like SQL, SNMP and JMX, among others. In addition, in order to allow faster responses to problems with Key Performance Indicators or other issues detected, an ...you can judge When the sensors are ready, they are able to produce events automatic notification and alarm management functionality, whether your with appropriate values (e.g. time or volume), which can then or interaction with a trouble-ticketing system should be business is be collected at the central point where they are processed. possible. For example, a manager or a group of employees heading in the right can be sent an e-mail or SMS about the problem. This can direction. help quickly track and solve problems and improve overall 4. Perform complex event processing to performance. translate events into measures Before such alarms or notifications can be sent, appropriate KPI Complex event processing means processing events from threshold levels must be configured with alarm, notification or multiple sources (sensors), and detecting complex event warning limits. Complex Event Processing (from stage 4) can patterns, event correlations, timing and other operations. It is use such definitions, associate measures with limits and raise at this location that the information contained within multiple appropriate alarms, notifications or warnings. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • oss/bss features 29 Dashboards for different management levels alarms & notifications processing Statistics collector alarm & Complex events processing Business Intelligence notification measures notes definition events collector Measures from various departments Figure 2. Comprehensive Performance Management for Business Conclusion Performance Management consists of multiple elements, correlate it with real-time measures collected from multiple from network performance management, to personnel, points within the business processes and various systems. organizational or financial management. Monitoring business However, it is most important to have the option to control process performance should allow control of various this data in the context of KPIs, linked with high-level goals. domains including order management, billing, invoicing, managed services, customer service, partner settlements, Performance Management for Business is a crucial element time-to-market for new services and many more. for supporting decision-making, based on the essential information taken from the past, future and the present. The key is to attain a complete view of the historical and In this manner, you can judge whether your business is predictive data taken from the Business Intelligence, and heading in the right direction. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 30 oss/bss features Managing Your Network Quality and Guaranteeing a First-Class Customer Experience ustomer experience is considered the new The Gap Between Customer Focus and C battleground, and has recently evolved into the most discussed topic. A crucial question is: how network-Centric Operations do you manage customer experience without extensive Customer focus was traditionally assigned to BSS systems, investments? One answer lies in augmenting the existing while OSS systems were more network-centric. This network performance management systems, to refocus them creates a gap in systems supporting Communication on the customer. The goal is to manage network quality by Service Providers (CSP). The problem is that CSP business providing a comprehensive customer experience, rather than is based on providing customer services rather than managing underlying network infrastructure performance managing a network. This does not mean that managing only. This requires a shift toward customer Service Quality the network is not important, but rather implies that it Management (SQM). should not be a goal in itself. Instead, network operations Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • oss/bss features 31 KQIs BlackBerry CdRs Customer Facing Services KQIs KQIs xdRs BB Retail BB enterprise Intermediate Services KQIs KQIs KQIs BB Configuration Customer Infrastructure transport Resource Facing KQIs KQIs KQIs ... KQIs Services Specific Conf. Generic Conf. utRan GeRan BSC network Resources KQIs KQIs BlackBerry RIm auth Server Raw counters BtS BtS BtS BtS platform Figure 1. SQM Concept should be strictly aligned with the customer. This is network quality metrics – packet delivery delay variation. essential, in order to avoid such issues as overinvestment The high delay variation may have a different impact on in network improvements, with little impact on customer the customer, depending on the service being provided by experience. the network. Extensive variation may have little impact on downloading files from the internet, but it can easily lead to customer complaints regarding VoIP or video streaming The Gap and Customer experience services. In the past, this problem was far less severe, as services were much simpler and tightly bound to a single The problem resulting from this gap is now a very serious network technology. In these cases, network performance issue for two key reasons. First, customer experience has improvement translated almost directly into customer become the main battleground. Second, the advent of service quality improvement. Today, relying on LUkAsz MenDYk new services leveraging convergence has complicated network-centric systems only is not an option, because this Comarch sA customer service. Increasingly complex services make could lead to network overinvestment without customer- OSS Product Manager, it more difficult to determine how network performance focused support within OSS, working to improve the Telecommunications translates into customer satisfaction. One example is customer experience. Business Unit Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 32 oss/bss features This tool is shifting network Performance experience. This, in turn, means that CSPs measure service designed to Management to Customer service quality from the same perspective as the customer when support CSPs Quality Management assessing the provided service, using the same language. in managing This serves to eliminate problems created when a customer customer The quality problem in traditional OSS systems was tackled complains about the echo effect of a VoIP service, where satisfaction, by from the network-centric point of view and addressed CSPs are typically only able to draw up technical parameters aligning network by Network Performance Management (PM) systems. As that attempt to pin down the issue. The customer may be performance with described in the previous paragraph, this leads to CSPs being frustrated as a result, feeling that he is not understood by his customer service unable to effectively manage customer experience. One CSP. However, this can be remedied by the SQM system. quality. SQM allows answer can be shifting Network Performance Management you to make the to a Customer Service Quality Management system. Shifting KQIs can be used directly to define SLAs with customers. best informed refers more to augmenting performance management, as Utilizing KQIs means that the customer is aware of what he decisions regarding opposed to replacing existing PM systems. This approach is being offered for the extra fee. A CSP using SQM has the investment has two key benefits. First, CSPs do not need to replace their ability to directly monitor SLA parameters and prevent SLA in network existing systems, thus avoiding large investments. Second, violation costs. improvements, SQM is built over PM, enabling customer experience issues through controlling to be tracked down to the cause of network performance them from the problems. The latter benefit is particularly important for Proactiveness perspective of the managing customer experience. However, it is not enough customer. to measure customer experience only. The ability to identify The Service Quality Management system’s goal is to measure network problems affecting the customer is crucial as well. the service quality as it is perceived by the customer, as well as to prevent customer problems. Since SQM is built over the Performance Management system, it also has an early Using the Right Metrics detection capability. When PM detects a network performance problem, SQM calculates the impact on customer service. If The ability to use appropriate metrics to gauge customer customer service degradation is discovered, SQM can initiate experience is crucial in the shift from PM to SQM systems. the restoration prior to the customer actually experiencing Performance Management provides KPIs, as opposed to the problem. Beginning restoration operations may prevent SQM, which operates within the KQI (Key Quality Indicator) customer complaints, or at least shorten the time needed to fix domain. KPIs provide metrics to gauge network performance. the service, after the customer has reported the problem. In contrast, KQIs provide metrics for customer service quality, Unlike KPIs, which rather than underlying network performance. To illustrate the By providing KQIs, SQM can help analyze customer quality operate in a highly difference, we can use the example provided in the previous tendencies needed to identify network improvements, technical domain, paragraphs. KPIs measure technical aspects of network which must be conducted in order to prevent customer KQIs are designed performance, for example regarding IP packet delivery delay experience degradation. This eliminates the risk of over- or to express quality variations, while KQIs gauge the echo effect experienced by underinvestment in the network when CSPs only monitor in the customer’s a customer related to VoIP or video streaming usability. The network performance metrics, without a clear view of the language, which is shift from KQIs to KPIs means that CSPs can concentrate impact on customer service quality. achieved through on improving KQIs when striving for a better customer measuring client experience. KPIs should be used for the identification of Concluding Service Quality Management is an OSS system, experience. network problems, which have caused customer service which bridges the gap between network performance and degradation identified by deteriorated KQIs. customer perception of service quality. This tool is designed to support CSPs in managing customer satisfaction, by aligning network performance with customer service quality. speaking the same “Language” As the SQM allows you to make the right decisions about investing Customer in network improvements, by controlling them from the perspective of the customer. The shift from KPIs to KQIs has significant additional implications. Unlike KPIs, which operate in an extremely technical domain, KQIs are designed to express quality in the customer’s language, which is achieved by measuring client Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • telcosPhere blog 33 Comarch OSS/BSS User Group Commentary his year’s annual Comarch OSS/BSS User Group Before the agenda split into 3 streams (closed OSS t moved to Düsseldorf, Germany. The elegant and tasteful interiors of Düsseldorf’s Intercontinental experience sharing session for German mobile operators, BSS session and OSS expert corner), there was one more Hotel, where the event took place, matched the scale open OSS presentation held by an E-Plus Mobilfunk GmbH and the atmosphere of the event. Never before has the & Co. KG representative (one of the four major German MIChAL User Group gathered so many representatives of leading mobile operators). This was possibly the most interesting zAjACzkOWskI telecommunications operators from all over the world, presentation that day, with a packed audience and storm of Comarch sA focused on sharing their experience and assisted by questions following the speech. OSS Solution Manager, analysts and press. Telecommunications With three agenda tracks, user group participants could Business Unit The event is a forum for all customers of Comarch’s OSS/ either listen to BSS-related presentations or attend the BSS suites and our potential customers to share their OSS live demo session, where experts presented cases experiences. All participants have a unique opportunity to appropriate for the given customer and answered questions. meet the actual users of Comarch’s OSS/BSS suites both during the official presentations, as well as in informal There was also a closed OSS experience sharing session for discussions during lunch or the evening social events. The German mobile operators. This was the first time ever all four discussions and presentation are not focused solely on German mobile operators were able to meet in one room to Comarch’s product portfolio. The participants also disclosed discuss their approaches towards certain OSS areas, as well influential information regarding their business models, ideas as current challenges and ideas for the future. for the future, and, most importantly, their approach towards OSS and BSS systems development in the upcoming years. The end of the last presentation did not mean the end of the entire event. The activities planned for the evening gave After an opening presentation from Piotr Piątosa, VP participants plenty more opportunities to discuss and share Telecommunications, Comarch, the product managers of their experience and thoughts. The activities began with a Comarch’s OSS Suite (Jakub Załuski) and BSS Suite (Krzysztof guided tour of Dusseldorf’s old town, then moved for supper Kwiatkowski) presented their newest product roadmaps, to the famous Uerige brewery, culminating with a Samba highlighting new areas and ideas for new functionalities show as the evening’s entertainment. in the upcoming releases. Customers took the lead next, sharing their experiences. In the end, the user group can be summed up in just two words: extremely successful! Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 34 telcosPhere blog Reactions To MWC 2010 I have returned from MWC 2010 in Barcelona, with mixed fillings. Looking back at the events in Spain and Cannes, it is apparent that these events do not offer anything new TYMOTeUsz WROnA Mobile devices have been integral to our existence for a long What we are able to see as a BSS/OSS vendor is that Comarch sA time, and we treat them as part of our everyday lives. People these shows become less focused on specific billing or VP BSS Solutions tend to not think about what is mobile and what is not. Instead, network management. Instead, as in our everyday lives, Management, the focus is on whether it is useful, trendy or a must-have. it is a philosophy of a bit of this, a bit of that, with a mix Telecommunications of both BSS and OSS. All major telecom operators want to Business Unit Past discussions have focused on new networks, moving avoid being merely dumb pipes, and strive to fill the role of on to new services and applications. Today’s conversation is smart plumbers instead. Thus, M2M has recently become a mix of everything. In my opinion, the MWC is transforming somewhat of a hot topic. The term “somewhat” is specifically and searching for its own direction, as large vendors change chosen because it is not “boiling hot.” In fact, this should their plans, either not attending this year or not attending at be a careful discussion that focuses on the question of all. You can see Microsoft personnel using Blackberries’ and money. This is similar to converging CRM and billing, while at Symbian representatives with iPhones, further highlighting the same time opening proprietary features with business- the fight between the flexibility of the operating system, to-business gateways. CSPs are striving to become smart usability of the GUI and fashion in general. enablers, rather than dumb providers. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • telcosPhere blog 35 The iPhone vs. the Rest of the World The success of the iPhone and the App Store has led to competitors openly declaring their intention to challenge Apple’s dominance, through the creation of even more revolutionary devices. This would be done by building an App Store capable of delivering applications to various types of devices. This news leads to questioning what exactly lies beneath the iPhone’s success and whether it can truly be challenged GRzeGORz WAChOCkI Comarch sA One of the main reasons the iPhone appears to be so Furthermore, Apple uses a homogenous platform for all Senior Software untouchable is simply that people love it. Despite the arrival versions of the iPhone, and all of its applications work Analyst/R&D Manager, of competitor models, consumers will always choose Apple’s seamlessly with all models. When a new application is Telecommunications solution, regardless. That is just the way it is and altering the needed, one simply has to go to the App Store, click once and Professional Services balance will require something more than simply providing the application is ready to use, without having to take into a slightly better solution. consideration the version of that particular phone. Moreover, the overwhelming number of available applications allows you However, there are other, more tangible features contributing to find an application for almost anything you need. to the iPhone’s success, from which other companies should learn. First is the completeness of the solution, since it is not However, such benefits also bring certain costs. In order just the handset alone that has contributed to its astonishing for the iPhone to be what it is, numerous limitations had to accomplishments. In addition to the phone itself, Apple be accepted, such as the highly restricted SDK, making it provides virtually all ingredients necessary to ensure that impossible to implement many solutions that are possible people will love the phone. Specifically SDK, which enables with other platforms. Apple provided a device offering an developers to produce limitless applications, as well as the exceptional user experience, at the expense of the number App Store, which helps them by selling their applications and of features supported. However, it seems that the majority of encouraging further development. And this is not to mention consumers are not interested in whether the original versions the vast number of accessories. An assortment of these of the iPhone support MMS messages (which they do not). services was provided to the global market for the first time, Instead, what takes precedence is whether the device is cool in the shape of a comprehensive and operable solution. or not. Another aspect adding to the iPhone’s popularity is So, can the iPhone be challenged? It can, to a certain extent, performance. Its interface allows the user to feel like they with regard to certain aspects of its success. The remainder have complete control over what the phone is doing, due to depends upon user preferences. However, if the quality of seamless and quick operation. It is also very aesthetically alternate offers begins to increase, users may also begin to pleasing and intuitive, thereby improving user experience. change their preferences. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 36 telcosPhere blog Striker, Midfielder or Defender – Which Position Is Your Self Care Portal? PAWeL LAMIk Self Care, a web self service portal, is a proven method for telecoms to reduce customer Comarch sA service and billing costs. It takes on a significant percentage of service requests that would CRM and Self Care otherwise have to be handled by the call center. It also helps save trees (an important feature Product Manager, for marketing) and money (vital for all other departments) spent on sending paper invoices to Telecommunications customers. It can also help increase sales, or at least improve cost-efficiency. In football terms Business Unit it is a defender – it protects money. Although this would be the dream scenario for many service as a call-center, IVR, USSD or customer service offices. providers, Self Care is unable to offer its users anything This is why so many CSPs worldwide still have difficulties that would make them more likely to regularly return and convincing customers to use Self Care or to switch to login. A Self Care portal cannot become someone’s internet e-billing. It can become difficult for CSPs to recoup traditional homepage. This is different from something like online billing costs, especially because it is prohibited or not banking. Customers log into an online bank frequently, commercially feasible to charge customers for a call-center because it is a very convenient method for using the call or for a paper invoice in many countries. core banking service itself – they can perform financial transactions, transfers, etc . from any location at any time. However, this particular weakness of Self Care, its only In communications, the core service would be making calls, occasional use, can actually be an opportunity. Returning sending text messages, watching TV or using the Internet. to the football metaphor, Self Care is not able to become A Self Care portal is not required for any of these actions. a midfielder, with a lot of ball possession, or in our case, A handset, TV set, or PC will suffice. frequent customer interactions. But it does have the potential to become a striker. A striker usually has the ball the least, If Self Care is important for service providers, what is it to but can make the biggest difference when he does have it, customers? It can be useful – somewhere they can go scoring a goal and even winning the match. Similarly, Self to occasionally to check their invoices. If the amount is Care holds the key to customer experience. These relatively more or less correct, the interaction is typically finished. rare customer interactions must be used to boost customer In some instances, they will also change their tariff plan, experience. If this opportunity is wasted, it will be a long wait renew their contract or add a service. However, Self Care until the next one presents itself. is not necessary for most customers, as long as there are other free and convenient service channels available, such Is your Self Care portal a striker, midfielder or defender? Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • technology & innovation 37 Uniform Communication With Everyone, Everywhere ue to the massive increase in mobile device to utilize many similar solutions of the same type, in order d capabilities, the range of communication services provided to users has also increased significantly to be able to communicate with all of their contacts. This is the main disadvantage of the technological competition over the recent years. In addition to regular voice calls or SMS between market players who develop their own standards, messages, handsets may also be used to make video calls, duplicating each other’s services. Fortunately, there is a transfer media files, perform text chats or keep track of what standard specification allowing us to see the light at the end our contacts are doing. This wide variety of communication of the tunnel. not only enables us to share more with our contacts, but also makes the communication process more convenient, useful and practical (not to mention significantly more user- RCs Overview friendly). GRzeGORz WAChOCkI RCS (Rich Communication Suite) is a specification of Comarch sA However, along with the increasing number of available communication services developed by the consortium of the Senior Software services comes the growing number of related technologies mobile manufacturers and operators, such as AT&T, Ericsson, Analyst/R&D Manager, and standards. As a result, many redundant services appear Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, SonyEricsson, T-Mobile and many Telecommunications on the market, restricting user communication abilities to others. It was created in order to facilitate the introduction of Professional Services only those contacts using the same protocol. Users have a new standard of services offered to mobile phone users, Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 38 technology & innovation and to provide a common framework for comprehensive Free text, similar to statuses in popular Instant IdeaS In BRIeF: services that are interoperable among various mobile Messenger (IM) applications operators and devices. Along with Favorite link, a hypertext link pointing to a web page or the increasing There are three main high-level features specified by RCS: any other content the user wants to share number of communication Enhanced phonebook, with presence support Timestamp informing when the data was last updated services available for today’s mobile Enriched call, with multimedia sharing during the The phonebook view provides easy access to user contact handsets, comes session data, as well as to their communication capabilities. the growing If a social relationship is established, access to those number of related Enriched messaging, with a variety of messaging attributes is available as well. These features are all easily technologies and options, such as chat and message history accessible in the phonebook list, which significantly standards improves the user experience of phone usage and contact These three features will improve the way people use their management. RCS initiative’s handsets, by providing new communication capabilities main aim is to and giving users simple and easy-to-use tools to enhance Additionally, the RCS phonebook enables users to access provide common communication. the communication history of a contact, making it possible standards to browse and analyze their previous interaction with that of services, person. interoperable enhanced Address Book among various mobile operators The address book is the core element of the RCS, and enhanced Call and devices is where most use cases are initiated. All contact-related information, from the telephone number to presence Traditional calling is another area where the RCS specifies Comarch S.A. is attributes, is also accessible from the address book. improvements of offered services, with enhanced call. The involved in the main enhancement is the ability to share multimedia content development Service capability information is one of the most important while on an active call. This allows users to share video or of several RCS- pieces of data available to users via the RCS Phonebook. This pictures with the person they are speaking to. The voice related products, set of indicators shows which communication capabilities of connection remains active during the multimedia transfer. which makes a particular contact are available at a given point in time. The Both users may initiate the content sharing, and, when it it an excellent capabilities include the user’s ability to participate in a video is accepted by the second party, the content is shared partner in call, image sharing, file transfer and chat conversation. throughout the session. The receiver is also able to store the creating your own This gives users a clear view of their contact’s availability, shared content on their mass storage device. implementation allowing them to decide what type of communication is most of this innovative suitable at the moment. In a multiple device environment, where a user has more specification than one active RCS device, it is possible to accept an The Network Address Book (NAB) support enables users initial service invitation, such as a voice call, on one device to backup their contact data onto a remote server. This is (for instance the phone). In the meantime, a subsequent also very useful for anyone using more than one client. Due invitation, such as video or picture sharing, can be accepted to NAB support for multiple devices, all of the user’s clients on a different device (such as a PC client), to take advantage are automatically updated. Therefore, if someone wants to of the larger screen to view the shared content. update their phonebook data, it can be accomplished from one of the clients only, while all others will be notified and The file transfer feature allows various types of files to be automatically synchronized with the central database. exchanged between users and is available independent of any other sessions between the users. Social presence is another example of the type information presented in the RCS Phonebook. It gives more detailed information about a user, including: enhanced Messaging A picture identifying the user The RCS extends SMS and MMS services by introducing conversational views, making it possible to browse and hyper-availability, informing that the user is ready to display the messaging history with a particular contact, communicate at that very moment similar to the way messages are displayed in instant Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • technology & innovation 39 messengers. The messages are displayed like a conversation It is possible to change the communication channel – in a threaded mode, ordered by speaker/sender. However, while in an active session with a user. For instance, All contact-related SMS and MMS services may only be used via phone, not it is possible to continue a chat conversation via SMS information, from via a broadband client, with the exception of sending SMS messages if the contact is no longer available via the the telephone messages. chat protocol number to presence In addition to the already available messaging options (SMS Broadband clients are meant to serve the exact same attributes, is and MMS), the RCS introduces a chat service. Similarly services as the primary devices (phones). The only accessible from to other RCS services, users are identified by their phone exceptions are MMS messages, which cannot be sent or the enhanced numbers. This enables people to converse as they would received on a broadband client; and the SMS messages, address book using internet-based Instant Messengers, but without which can only be sent, but not received with such clients. needing to install any extra messenger applications, and Network Address without knowing their contact’s identifier specific to that Multiple device support enables users to simultaneously Book support particular IM. utilize RCS services via several active devices. Generally, enables users the service invitation is always sent to all available devices to backup their Yet another advantage of the RCS is that chat may be belonging to the target person. Communication then contact data onto also utilized by broadband devices. It is thus possible to continues only on the device used to accept the invitation. a remote server take advantage of the bigger screen and more convenient The user may also define which devices are allowed to utilize and synchronize keyboard if chatting with someone from home. It is also which particular services. The invitation is then sent only it with other possible to choose the most convenient device at the to the device(s) authorized for that particular service. All devices moment of receiving an invitation, which is always sent to all data, such as contact information and presence statuses, online clients of the user. are automatically synchronized among different devices Share multimedia belonging to the same user. content while on Group chats are also possible and new participants may an active call be added to the existing conference chat session at any In the RCS network, users are identified by SIM cards and are time, as well as to one-to-one chats, by any of the session’s able to use their services on any device equipped with the RCS. Ability to send participants. All other participants of the chat will be notified For broadband clients, it is also possible to authorize the client Instant Messages that a new person is joining the discussion. Additionally, in the system with a user name and password. It should be without participants may, at any time, check who is participating in noted that in order to communicate with a user through any of needing to the current group chat. the available services, it is enough to know the user’s phone install any extra number. No extra user names or identifiers are required. applications, and Another intriguing feature is the notification shown when with identification the other party is composing a message. This makes the of contacts by user more aware of what is happening the other side, further summary their phone enhancing the experience by allowing users to feel in control numbers of the conversation. The Rich Communication Suite is a specification of comprehensive solutions aimed at increasing the Multiple device attractiveness of communication services in mobile support enables highlights networks, strengthening its business model by providing users to improved communication means, and improving the user simultaneously It is important to understand that all of the services experience. This solution enables end-customers to use their utilize RCS described above are designed to be interoperable, and to handsets more easily and extensively, which combined with services via make it possible for the user to seamlessly switch from one various charging models, guarantees significant revenue several active service to another, including: increases for the service provider. devices When the social presence relationship is established with a user, it is possible to view their attributes not Find out more: only from the phonebook, but also from other places where their information is displayed, such as the http://www.gsmworld.com/our-work/mobile_lifestyle/rcs/ message history view index.htm Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 40 technology & innovation Semantic Modelling of Network Physical Devices: A Prototype n large companies, the time consumed by in slot “1”: “Supervisor_Engine_2” “Supervisor_ I maintaining thousands of devices and finding solutions to possible problems is constantly Engine_720” in slot “2”: “Supervisor_Engine_2” “Supervisor_ increasing. State-of-the-art technologies currently cover Engine_720 “Catalyst_6500_Module” various aspects of physical device management, but in slot “3”: “Catalyst_6500_Module”. are usually unable to provide consistent support to the user by answering questions that involve sophisticated If one of these routers is configured so that configuration-related constraints. Thus, this remains one of a Catalyst_6500_Module card is inserted in slot “1”, the challenges faced by NGOSS systems. the device (and slot “1”) are reported as inconsistent. The user receives the following explanation: In this article we present a prototype application, which enables modelling the equipment using a dedicated Domain “Cisco 7603 slot 1 allows only “Supervisor_ Specific Language (DSL) enriched with the best available Engine_2”or “Supervisor_Engine_720”. logic-based reasoning services. This allows us to define kRzYszTOF MIksA a rich layer of semantics on top of the structural description It is also possible to inquire about the validity of the Comarch SA of the devices. Thus, the configuration-related constraints are knowledge itself, or potential connections between Project Manager at the OSS expressed declaratively, in a platform independent manner, devices and cards. Research & Development and are managed in an integrated way with the structural Department model. The information kept in the model can then be used on runtime to guide the system user. UC-2: Detect errors in physical device type definition Use Cases: exAMPLe 2. The main advantage of this approach is that the knowledge about device types, once formalized, can be exploited The following two statements are contradictory: for various use cases. A simple example is verification of device configurations. If an error is found, the user should 1) “Cisco 7603 allows only following cards: receive justification for the inconsistency, in order to receive in slot “1”: “Supervisor_Engine_2” “Supervisor_ suggestions on how to fix the configuration. Engine_720” in slot “2”: “Supervisor_Engine_2” “Supervisor_ PAWeł sABInA UC-1: Find wrongly configured instances of Engine_720” “Catalyst_6500_Module” Comarch SA devices and explain errors in slot “3”: “Catalyst_6500_Module”. Software Analyst at the OSS Research & Development exAMPLe 1. 2) “Cisco 7603 requires at least one Cisco SIP card”. Department The definition of device type Cisco 7603 contains the An error is very clear in this case, because statement following constraints: 1 does not allow Cisco SIP in Cisco 7603, which is required by statement 2. However, such errors might be difficult to “Cisco 7603 allows only following cards: find in large knowledge bases. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • technology & innovation 41 UC-3: Suggest card types that are allowed in a slot Supervisor_engine_2 type exAMPLe 3. 1 (7609_1) Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp Supervisor_engine_2 Suppose that a card in slot “3” of Cisco 7603 device is 2 (7609_1) broken. The user may then ask for allowed replacements Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp of a card, given the current configuration of the device. 3 (7609_1) Catalyst_6500_module Potential relationships between cards should also be Cisco_7600_SIp considered. For instance, a card may require a specific 4 (7609_1) supervisor card to work properly. If the device is Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7609_ Cisco_7600_SIp configured without the required supervisor, such a card Configuration_1 5 (7609_1) should not be suggested. Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp Prototype Architecture: 6 (7609_1) type Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp The conceptual architecture of the prototype is depicted 7 (7609_1) in Figure 1. The user interacts with the Integrated Modelling Catalyst_6500_module component, which enables the creation of structural network Cisco_7600_SIp 8 (7609_1) device models (PD Modelling), annotated with additional Catalyst_6500_module configuration constraints in the Web Ontology Language Cisco_7609 Cisco_7600_SIp 9 (7609_1) (OWL Modelling). Catalyst_6500_module type Cisco_7600_SIp 1 (7609_2) model-ontology Bridge Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp 2 (7609_2) transformation ontology Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp 3 (7609_2) Integrated Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp modelling 4 (7609_2) oWl modelling Cisco_7609_ Configuration_2 Route_Switch_processor_720 Guidance Semantic Supervisor_engine_32 Supervisor_engine_720 pd modelling Services Reasoner 5 (7609_2) Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp 6 (7609_2) Figure 1. Conceptual architecture Catalyst_6500_module Cisco_7600_SIp 7 (7609_2) The integrated models are then transformed into semantic Catalyst_6500_module descriptions (Ontology), which can be accepted by a Semantic Cisco_7600_SIp 8 (7609_2) Reasoner. It is then possible to invoke Guidance Services, Catalyst_6500_module which implement cases listed in our Use Cases section. These Cisco_7600_SIp services can then the profit from reasoning services provided 9 (7609_2) by the Semantic Reasoner. The reasoning results are then interpreted and returned back to the Integrated Modelling Figure 2. A sample instance of this device model is presented in Figure 3. The instance environment, where they are presented to the user. contains only one card in slot “5”. configurations. The configurations can contain slots, which, Language Integration: in turn, may specify the allowed or required card categories. The types of devices and their instances are modelled in An example device type model is presented in Figure 3. the Physical Devices Domain Specific Language (PDDSL), The model depicts a Cisco 7609 chassis with two possible a modelling language specifically tailored for representation configurations of the nine available slots. Allowed card of device configuration constraints. It allows definition categories are listed next to their respective slots. Slots of device types, which can have multiple alternative requiring cards are marked in red. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • 42 technology & innovation Conclusions: The prototype application we have shown is an early 1 (7609) innovation in combining software engineering techniques with the power of ontologies. However, it is already evident that semantic technology usage can greatly improve 2 (7609) domain-specific modelling of network physical devices, as well as software technology in general. The knowledge, 3 (7609) once formalized, can be exploited to answer various user questions, which today require time-consuming and error- prone custom coding. Additionally, the definition of the 4 (7609) Cisco_7609_ modelling languages can be integrated with OWL to allow Cisco_7609 Configuration supervisor_32_1 the combination of language constructs with OWL axioms 5 (7609) in a single model. Thus, the modelling language remains simple and productive, while the expressiveness of the combined models can be greatly improved. 6 (7609) In the future, we plan to investigate how our current 7 (7609) approach can be generalized. We hope to streamline the development of ontology-supported DSL tools for other application areas, such as service management. 8 (7609) 9 (7609) Acknowledgement: This research has been co-funded within the 7th Framework Programme project MOST. http://most-project.eu Figure 3. Example device of type Cisco 7609 Some pd_hasConfiguration Some pd_hasSlot Some C (a) pd_hasCard Cisco_7600_SIp Figure 4. An additional constraint may be expressed in OWL and modelled graphically in the Integrated Modelling environment. The example constraint specifies that a device should have at least one Cisco_7600_SIP card connected. Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • technology & innovation 43 Comarch Thought Leadership If you have enjoyed the articles in our magazine, you may want to visit the section below for further insight. there you will find a variety of resources, through which we share our expertise to shed new light on both common, as well as more exclusive challenges and trends in the industry: On DeMAnD WeBCAsTs “enterprise – A Customer Or Partner? how self-service Billing Can Turn Business Relationships Upside Down” speakers: Pawel Lamik, Self-Care & CRm product manger at Comarch and krzysztof kwiatkowski, Billing Systems product manager at Comarch; Analyst: Alun Lewis “Fulfilling the Promise of Component-Based service Creation” speakers: jakub zaluski, oSS product manager at Comarch, Lukasz Mendyk, oSS product manager at Comarch and Martin Creaner, president, tm Forum FeATUReD WhITe PAPeRs 10 Ways To Optimize Your satellite Broadband Business The Concept of B2B Gateway Aiming Towards Better Customer experience With ITIL and eTOM PReVIOUs IssUes OF TeChnOLOGY ReVIeW In Focus: Mobile Technologies In Focus: next Generation service In the issue: Management Behind the Scenes of mobile products In the issue: – Smartphone operating Systems next Generation Service management loyalty Card Killer! next Generation Service delivery Smartphone – the Best tool for platform – Integrated Service Cutting Field Service Costs and Fulfillment Increasing productivity application Sla – the missing part of digital home – a dream or a Fact? complete Service Sla management? Thought-Leadership.comarch.com Comarch Technology Review 01/2010
  • showing ROI on service 3G investments bundling showing return Migration on short-term to 4G/LTe investments Cost Increase your reduction ARPU Managing B2B customers partnerships M2M Mobile broadband Managing news services Dealing with excessive Pricing data consumption Dont’ lose focus on what is really important – YOUR CUsTOMeRs the communications market is constantly changing – there are more and more areas in your business that require professional support. With 17 years of experience Comarch is able to help you answer the current challenges and address them with a solution that is best suited to a particular area. our oSS/BSS systems have already helped many operators worldwide. We will assist you with managing all your business areas so you can stay focused on your customers. COMARCh – sOLUTIOns FOCUseD On CUsTOMeRs TeLeCOM-sOLUTIOns.COMARCh.COM