Technology Review | In Focus: Customers & Product
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Technology Review | In Focus: Customers & Product

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

Published twice a year, Comarch Technology Review (Telecom Edition) provides expert commentary and analysis on current trends shaping the telecommunications market, as well as insight on how to solve problems most commonly faced by telecom operators

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Technology Review | In Focus: Customers & Product Technology Review | In Focus: Customers & Product Document Transcript

  • www.comarch.com n0 2/2008 (08) Comarch Telecommunications Business Unit Comarch Technology Review is a publication created by Comarch experts and specialists. It aims at assist- ing our customers and partners in obtaining in-depth information about market trends and developments, and the technological possibilities of addressing the most important issues. in focus Business Models in TelecoMMunicaTions >> Telco's Next Battleground >> Efficient Partner Management – how it will contribute towards success? >> IPTV-VNO – a new business model for IPTV
  • comarch oss/Bss seminar 2009 – broaden your vision of telecommunications market challenges Join us on the 1st-2nd of June, 2009 in Krakow
  • Table of Contents < 3 IN fOCUS backbone, physical or RAN. All of these circum- stances and the historical background have a 29. Comarch Product Catalog 4. Telco’s Next Battleground large impact on network management systems. as the key aspect of Service Deliv- ery Platform With an increasing number of mobile subscribers moving to third-party provided applications, the 16. How to move Service Having customers with high expectations forces carrier’s role as a service provider has weakened. Assurance to the Next Level operators to expect more and more from their systems. Service Delivery Platform helps deliver Carriers continue to offer legacy services, while The Common Service Monitoring new products faster and more conveniently. An investing in the development of next generation Engine as the heart of Next efficient product catalog acts as the heart of communications applications but they now must Generation Service Assurance the platform providing operators with a flex- compete with agile and innovative software Delivering services to the customer is the life- ible interface to define new offers. houses and service providers. If carriers fail to keep a significant service market share, their blood of an operator’s business. How can opera- role will be limited to that of bit pipes that only tors ensure the proper quality of offered services CASE STUDIES to fulfill customer expectations? This article will supply the network, while the revenue from the lucrative part of the business will drift away. review emerging trends in service management and examine the benefits of the Next Genera- 32. On Marrying Ontologies and 8. Efficient Partner Management tion Service Assurance concept. Software Technologies MOST Project How it will contribute towards success? Business models in the telecommunications 22. Managing MPLS networks Following “Web 2.0” as a term describing the recent evolution of the Web, a new term “Web Recently operators have been implementing market are changing. The increasing amount of 3.0” has been introduced to describe a future Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) infra- partners that are involved in the operator’s ser- wave of Internet innovation. It has been asso- structure that unifies IP VPN and other data vice offerings, bring about the need for an appro- ciated at this point mostly with concepts of the services. MPLS has been adopted as it allows priate partner relationship management (PRM) Semantic Web. Yet technologies that back up the the quick and easy creation of secure IP VPN solution. This article discusses the business ben- new approach stem from traditional studies on services, which represent a less costly alterna- efits that PRM will bring to operators. Artificial Intelligence and are flexible enough to tive to traditional leased-line circuits. Enterprise 11. IPTV-VNO demand has made IP VPNs one of the fastest- growing sources of data revenue for service pro- be leveraged by other domains. In this article we introduce the Marrying Ontologies and Soft- ware Technologies (MOST) project that tries to A new business model for IPTV viders, therefore speeding up the development of MPLS networks. improve Software Engineering through Seman- IPTV-VNO can become one of the most widely tic Technologies [MOST]. As a part of the project known telecom acronyms. Many large, well- known brands may consider IPTV-VNO initia- 26. OSS and CRM the new approach will be evaluated in the case study on the development of solutions based on tives. There are many exciting new IPTV concepts Integration that pays Comarch OSS Suite. that are perfectly suited to this model. IPTV- 36. The Comarch OSS Suite as a The telecommunications industry, although still VNO’s can truly add value for customers. technology-driven to a great extent, is no differ- ent from any other in terms of what customers SOLUTIONS & PRODUCTS basically ask for. They look for products that ful- Management Platform for fill their needs conveniently, for a fair price, and Next Generation Optical 13. Convergence in Network if something goes wrong, they want the problem to be solved reasonably and fast. Unfortunately, Networks and Service Management in reality, suboptimal processes in the areas of Mango – Eureka/Celtic Project The competitive market of telecommunications sales, order fulfillment and trouble ticket man- In order to challenge recently emerging issues nowadays encourages operators to look for dif- agement too often negatively impact customer concerning optical network management ferent sources of revenue and cost optimization. satisfaction and, eventually, the bottom line. It Comarch, together with international partners It happens that fixed operators, in order to offer has frequently been said that lack of genuine (operators, a research institute, an SME and dif- mobile services, establish separate companies customer focus or constant process improve- ferent universities), conduct the Eureka/Celtic with their own organizational structure and inde- ment largely contribute to poor results, so it project Management Platform for Next Genera- pendent network. Then, the majority of mobile won’t be discussed here again. What is truly tion Optical Networks (MANGO). One of the goals operators also deliver internet access services worth attention, though, is how much can be of the MANGO project is to perform and evaluate through hotspots. In addition, currently the trend done for profitability just through tighter inte- a pilot of an integrated network management is to outsource parts of the network, including gration of CRM and OSS. platform for next generation optical networks. Editor-in-Chief: Diana Bonczar Technology Review is a free publication available by subscription. Assistant Editors: Marta Bulik The articles published here can be copied and reproduced only with Layout: Maciej Urbanek the knowledge and consent of the editors. The names of products DTP&Graphics: Adam Dąbrowski and companies mentioned are trade marks and trade names of their Proofreading: Scott Reynolds producers. Publisher: Comarch SA, Al. Jana Pawła II 39a, 31-864 Kraków Tel. +48 12 64 61 000, fax: +48 12 64 61 100, e-mail: marketing@comarch.pl www.comarch.com Print: Skleniarz Printing House, ul. J. Lea 118, 31-033 Kraków Circulation: 1 000
  • 4> In focus Telco’s Next Battleground technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • In focus < 5 figure 1 Client Telco-IT Telco Client Telco-IT Client Network Service A new role for Telecommunications aware and integrated, then what is the value of operators the tried-and-tired voice service with its static The most important evolution in the outlook of the address book and its busy signal as the only infor- telecommunications industry is the diminishing mation of one’s presence? role of landline services in favor of wireless tech- With an increasing number of mobile subscrib- nology. Strong competition in the mobile arena, ers moving to third-party provided applications, the the ever-increasing popularity of 3G technology, carrier’s role as a service provider has weakened. and the emergence of 4G, have made broadband Carriers continue to offer legacy services, while data plans affordable for mainstream consumer investing in the development of next generation acceptance. At the same time, handset vendors communications applications but they now must are pushing new devices with larger screens and compete with agile and innovative software houses user-friendly interfaces, supporting a multitude and service providers. If carriers fail to keep a sig- of mobile platform applications that used to only nificant service market share, their role will be be available for PCs. limited to bit pipes that only supply the network, Although some next-generation mobile appli- and the revenue from the lucrative part of the busi- cations are still being developed indigenously by ness will drift away. carriers in their IT laboratories, many successful ones come from independent third-party provid- Is the customer the only source of ers who do not have direct access to mobile cus- revenue? tomers, but who are often well established in the Mobile and landline carriers, ISPs and Cable TVs Web 2.0 world. For application providers, mobile extend the value of their offerings by introduc- devices are just another way of providing access ing triple and quad-play and providing complete to websites like Facebook, Eventful or Whrrl. For communication packages that include TV, mobile customers who have already replaced their desk telephony, landline, and internet access. As they phones with Skype, their emails with Facebook become multi-service operators, including all pos- and news sites with Digg, mobile access extends sible applications in their offers, other business the convenience of taking their networks and models come into play. personalized information from their desks and The traditional telecommunications business laps and into their hands. What else is needed model represents a revenue stream that comes in order to eliminate traditional telephony, mes- from customers. In the new approach, custom- saging and content offered by today’s telecom ers are no longer the only ones who pay the carriers? If a social network offers a mobile inter- bills. Mobile advertisers and e-commerce mer- face with up-to-the-minute status updates, con- chants have an ever increasing role in the reve- vergent messaging, voice and video, all location- nue chain. nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 6> In focus figure 2 Mobile Advertising Revenue Growth, Worldwide, 2006-2011 Source: Gartner (January 2008) 14, 000 12,000 10, 000 8,000 6,000 4,000 2,000 0 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 The emergence of these new merchants and Technologies like mobile RFID, LBS, 2D bar codes the following attributes provided by carriers would providers in the mobile arena leads to additional and real-time video processing support mobile become unique and valuable propositions for inde- revenue, but not necessarily for telecommunica- marketing and enable accurate targeting, making pendent application providers. tions service providers. Mobile service aggregators it significantly more attractive to customers than > Their own customer base like Google, Yahoo, Apple or Facebook are already any other form of advertising. > Their own network exploring this market and are succeeding in mon- Over the past few years many consumers, espe- > Brand recognition etizing mobile advertizing. End-customers pay only cially the younger generations, have realized that > Marketing data a part of the price of mobile services while the rest social networks take communications to the next > Location data of the revenue is collected from advertisers. level. Instead of sending vacation pictures to our > Identity and Authentication Forecasts predict significant growth of the friends and family or calling them with invitations > Policy Management mobile advertising market over the next few years. to birthday parties, consumers now use social net- > Established invoicing and payment channel This will be possible due to increasing adoption works to let the outside world know about their of mobile internet as well as implementation of lives. It seems only natural for users to move from Customer-centric vs. telco-centric larger screens on mobile devices, leaving more the desktop application to the mobile terminal and model real estate for advertisers. take their social network on the go. For the mobile Depending on how mobile carriers react to the Transformation of advertising expenditure and industry, this fact represents a significant change, changing market environment, there are two over- new opportunities for advertisers also contribute even a revolution. For many users, the mobile ver- arching models that can be foreseen as a future to changes in the business model for mobile pro- sion of Web 2.0 could become the most commonly configuration of the mobile industry. Carriers will viders. First of all, a mobile device stays with the used application on their phones. either continue to position themselves as domi- user all day. We grab our phones when we wake All this puts tremendous pressure on traditional nant service, content and device providers, or they up and keep interacting with them until we go to voice and data service providers. Analysts predict will adjust to changes by offering attractive deliv- sleep. There is no other marketing channel that pro- that by 2012, the number of traditional mobile ery platforms for external third party providers. vides similar, continuous contact with the target. voice minutes in Europe will drop by more than Users listen to the radio, watch TV, use computers 40%, and will be replaced by other applications In the first scenario, carriers would not be able to or read newspaper for only few hours a day. Mobile like VoIP, social networks or click-to-call. compete with other providers, and could merely phones are with customers all the time. Carriers are trying to navigate this new world by become “bit pipes” losing a significant part of the Some may say, having constant access to the offering next-generation applications that could revenue. In this customer-centric model, carriers customer does not necessarily mean more ads can respond to the new demands of customers and lose their dominant role in the value chain. This is be delivered. But what if ads can be perfectly tar- prevent them from moving to third-party provid- very analogous to what happened to internet ser- geted and provided precisely when and where they ers. Is this the right direction for carriers? Shouldn’t vice providers. ISPs have no control over where are really needed? What if advertisers know who they accept the fact that the best applications will and what equipment customers buy as long as it the customer is, where they are located and what be developed by those who specialize in these is compatible with their networks, what service they are looking for? Correctly targeted advertising areas? Carriers have a lot to offer as aggregators, customers use for email, IM and VoIP calls, who could be appreciated, if not desired, by customers combining networks with third-party applications, the content provider is, and ultimately who deliv- and result in dramatically improved response rates. content and advertising. Platforms equipped with ers ads. The ISP is just a part of the value chain technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • In focus < 7 figure 3 Network Network (Telco) Service Content Service Content Ad Customer Device Ad Telco Device Customer and it is up to the customer to decide which pro- It is probably too early to gauge which model port services provided by third-parties while cap- viders will deliver the rest of the internet experi- will become the dominant one, but it is clear that turing a significant share of the mobile advertis- ence to them. the Telco-centric model is beneficial to both exter- ing market. < nal providers as well as carriers. Customers also The second model is much more promising for gain more from this model than they would from telecommunications operators as it places them the customer-centric one. The customers will still in the center of the ecosystem with an assumption have the advantage of choosing the service and that they are able to serve as a delivery platform, provider but they do not have to struggle with supporting both customers and other service pro- mixed delivery standards and multiple front-ends. viders. In this Telco-centric scenario, the customer It is crucial for carriers to recognize this opportu- is not exposed to any individual external provider nity and realize that the Telco-centric model can but is rather offered an aggregated service from only be implemented if they reorganize, open their the telecom carrier. There is a single bill, integrated networks, develop service delivery platforms and payment and identity management provided by make them attractive for external providers. the carrier throughout the platform. From the cus- tomer’s perspective, this model is similar to the Summary traditional approach the industry has had over Telecommunications carriers need to find a way Greg Kwiatkowski the past decades. The real difference lies within to incorporate social networks and other Web 2.0 the operational ecosystem. Telecommunications related services into their offerings, even in lieu Comarch Inc. Position: Head of Solution Architecture carriers, instead of trying to develop and add new of losing partial revenue from less attractive on- and Strategy services to their portfolios, enable external pro- deck applications. They have to strike a balance Department: Telecommunications viders by offering the delivery platform for their between their ambitions to utilize their own ser- Business Unit services. Such a platform simply opens up access vice development potential and the need to com- Info: Greg, along with his team in Chi- cago, is responsible for designing and im- to the carrier’s customer base, streamlining order pete with experienced Web 2.0 players. Carriers plementing innovative Comarch OSS/BSS management and billing processes for all the oper- should put more focus on enabling their networks and SDP solutions for telecom service ational ecosystem members. and OSS/BSS systems to aggregate, offer and sup- providers in the USA and Latin America. nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 8> In focus Efficient Partner Management How Will it Contribute Towards Success? Business models in the telecommunica- tions market are changing. The increasing amount Due to the earlier business models employed many years ago, the problem regarding the exchange of information between partners was not consid- services, has caused operators to pay more atten- tion to business process automation. In the near future, when legacy networks will of partners that are involved in the operator’s ser- ered to be as important as it is today. This is because be transformed to IP-based networks, the business vice offerings, bring about the need for an appro- the total amount of information exchange between influence of third parties on the business models is priate partner relationship management (PRM) partners was not as high. This ongoing trend, where expected to grow, highlighting the importance of an solution. This article discusses the business ben- operators reduce their operational costs when fac- effective partner management system. When opera- efits that PRM will bring to operators. ing reduction of revenue growth from traditional tors have multiple partners, interaction can become technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • In focus < 9 figure 1 Many forms of information OPERATOR Fax, telephone, e-mails, ... PARTNER Wholesale Billing System – interconnect, revenue sharing, roaming Trash Unordered Agreements complex, especially if multiple forms of information to increased operational costs as well as frustra- processes (not only limited to those mentioned flows exist between the operator and their partner. tion for the partners. here) reduces the need to use several different systems and also reduces the effort that is needed Business problem 1: Business problem 3: to manage the system properly. The advantages High amount of information Complexity of the SLA audit of automation are shown below. Currently, the typical scenario where the importance The SLA audit process can be complicated to per- Solving a dispute is an issue that is not related of efficient partner management can be seen is in form efficiently without an appropriate PRM sys- to technology – it is related to knowledge. Disputes the case when the operator rents an access line to an tem. Typical parameters in the SLA agreements can should be categorized and solved using an appro- external partner. The external partner then sells net- be such things as time limitations for resolving a priate trouble ticketing system that can support work access services to end subscribers. The reason problem and quality indicators for specific services. the problem resolution process by collecting and for the popularity of this kind of business scenario For example, a trouble ticket should be resolved showing relevant information about the problem. is that the regulative environment demands more within a specified period of time in order to avoid Usage of trouble ticketing reduces the time and open environments to increase competition. The an SLA violation. effort to solve these problems and allows the sys- business scenario of line rental also translates into tem user to see relevant information during all a large amount of information that is exchanged Business problem 4: stages of the problem solving process. In addition, between partners and the operator. This kind of Dispute management reconciliation is an efficient tool in the support of information can include agreement definitions, Cooperation between an operator and partner does dispute resolution, allowing discrepancies in the management of disputes, management and col- not always happen without disputes. One typical sit- settlements to be found. lection of debts and multiple way of communication uation where a problem can occur is the existence For an operator that has a large amount of to deliver the information (phone, e-mail, fax…). of discrepancies related to reference data (e.g. dif- agreements with partners (e.g. in the line rental ferences in the settlement reports). Another prob- case), efficient business processes for the manage- Business problem 2: lematic situation can be when there are technical ment of agreements are important. Automation of Multiple applications and flows of information problems related to the lines that the partner has agreement management processes can be imple- Having multiple applications to handle partner com- rented from the operator. When operators and part- mented for many situations. During the agreement munication and information exchange can lead to ners interact to resolve the disputes, extra effort is negotiation process, the usage of agreement tem- a situation where introducing new functionalities needed from personnel of both companies causing plates reduces the time to introduce agreements to the existing system becomes complex and expen- additional operating costs. In addition, the quality into the system. It is also important in order to sive. The common situation can occur, for example, of dispute management processes is difficult to manage the end dates properly – the agreement when the operator wants to introduce new services keep at a high-level, if the critical processes con- time period may need to be extended, or a reminder to the existing environment, but the legacy appli- nected to processing disputes are not automated. about an existing agreement deadline should be cation the operator is using, may not support this sent to start new negotiations. There may also be new type of service. The service integration to the Solutions for business problems other reasons for starting negotiations regarding existing platform may become expensive. Automated business processes can be used dur- a new agreement. For example, if the agreed upon ing all stages of interaction with partners: during amount of the partner’s data transmission quota The business problem of multiple information agreement definition, price management, com- has expired, the operator may want to negotiate flows is shown below. Many different systems and munication channel management (e.g. automatic another pricing plan. many different forms of communication cause processing of e-mails) and order management. The PRM system should have open architec- complex interaction between partners. This leads Bringing a high level of automation to all of these ture to enable easy integration with external sys- nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 10 > In focus figure 2 OPERATOR PARTNER Ordered agreements Information flow under control Partner Web-based Relationship Partner Management System Self Care Wholesale Billing System – interconnect, revenue sharing, roaming tems. Similarly, the addition of new services (that OPEX. The risk of SLA violations becomes lower Insight into future trends the partners may use) to the existing platform because of improved SLA management. Also, in The telecommunications environment is changing. should be simple in order to minimize time-to- the event of SLA violations, penalties are automati- Operators are migrating their legacy networks to market and to enable earning revenue from the cally calculated and can be applied in the form of IP-based networks. This brings about more busi- new service as soon as possible. Additionally, in discounts. ness opportunities for third parties in the form of order to reduce CAPEX, it should be possible to From the partner’s point of view, the communica- advertisements, loyalty programs, etc. The chang- manage services from one system instead of many tion experience with the operator will be improved ing environment involving more partners in busi- individual systems. The usage of automated pro- as the partner receives up-to-date information ness scenarios also has the effect of blurring the cesses also provides savings in the form of reduced about order statuses, agreements and prices. distinction between the roles of a partner and end-subscriber. In the telco 2.0 environment, the end subscriber may actually provide content to the operator, to be used in the offered services. In exchange for the content, the end subscriber may get a commission or discount for his usage of the services. These kinds of scenarios highlight the need for appropriate billing, commissioning and partner management solutions. Conclusions Appropriate interpartner settlements and revenue assurance scenarios between operators and part- ners are needed when the amount of service offer- ings for end subscribers increase. One contribut- ing factor for the increasing role of third parties is Pekka Valitalo Krzysztof Kwiatkowski also the regulation that intends to increase com- Comarch SA Comarch SA petition on the market. Changing business models Position: BSS Consultant Position: BSS Product Manager with increasing amounts of partners involved in Department: Telecommunications Department: Telecommunications business scenarios will result in an increase in the Business Unit Business Unit Info: Currently responsible for building Info: Responsible for Comarch Conver- amount of money on the wholesale market. Fur- BSS solutions for customers and analy- gent Billing, InterPartner Billing and thermore, partner relationship management will zing trends on the telco market. 3arts in the area of R&D roadmaps, sales have an essential role in that business. < support and marketing activities. technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • In focus < 11 IPTV-VNO A new business model for IPTV IPTV-VNO can become one of the most widely known telecom acronyms. Many large, IPTV Market The term IPTV (IP television) first appeared in 1995. Originally during this time, there was not enough Current strategies for deploying IPTV solutions for most network operators include a combination of delivering LIVE TV channels over a broadband well-known brands may consider IPTV-VNO initia- bandwidth to transmit live TV to homes and thus connection, adding basic interactivity and finally tives. There are many exciting new IPTV concepts there was not enough headroom with which to apply access to a Video-on-Demand service. The growing that are perfectly suited to this model. IPTV-VNO’s added value and enable transmission over IP to be functionality of set-top boxes (IP-STB) allows net- can truly add value for customers. attractive. Recently this has started to change. work operators to build new business models and nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 12 > In focus new sources of revenue. Within the next few years, and subsequently place an order. Personalized Comarch Next-Generation TV the main emphasis will be on interactivity, person- advertising known from the Internet can be one > The Comarch NGTV solution allows broadband and alization, social services and advertising. Telecoms of the key factors pushing IPTV forward. mobile operators to provide interactive TV services see great potential in bridging Internet-based ser- across various devices including TV sets, mobile phones and PCs. vices and TV, which will become the next potential The key to IPTV-VNO success > For customers, our solution provides a next-gener- service access channel beside mobile devices. IPTV-VNO can become one of the most widely ation experience with many sophisticated features The nature of IP-based services means that known telecom acronyms. Many large, well-known such as an Electronic Program Guide (EPG), Video-on- you can deliver content and services everywhere brands may consider IPTV-VNO initiatives. There Demand (VOD), Music-on-Demand (MOD), visual radio, independent of the end-user terminal supporting are many exciting new IPTV concepts that are per- online shopping, online access to Google’s Picasa™ IP. Televisions offer an opportunity for an excep- fectly suited to this model. IPTV-VNO’s can truly add photo galleries, personal TV profiles, favorites and much more. tional user experience of multimedia services due value for customers. > For operators, the Comarch NGTV suite provides a to content quality and simplicity of use. The second We can denote three key areas where business complete IPTV middleware that is easy to integrate important accelerator of IPTV market growth will plans usually require more work: distribution, loy- and is customizable, reliable and cost-effective. It can be Fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) networks. alty programs and content. Acquiring new users be used for delivering various third-party premium in- takes more than a compelling product. It requires teractive TV services. It also supports open standards and integration with products of leading head-end, New business models a set of distribution channels and efficient audi- VOD, CAS/DRM and set-top box vendors. An innovative technology often generates innova- ence targeting. The IPTV-VNOs need to build their > Comarch NGTV is a basis for innovative business tive business models. In the case of IPTV, one of the own retail network or develop a multi-channel dis- models such as NGTV Ecosystem and IPTV-VNO, most promising opportunities is delivering services tribution strategy. Strategic alliances with existing acting as a bridge between Internet and television through the networks of existing FTTH/DSL opera- retail or Internet businesses can also be a good services. tors by external retail companies. We call this IPTV choice. In a competitive business environment, Virtual Network Operator or IPTV-VNO. This model churn is an important threat for operators. While is quite similar to the Mobile Virtual Network Oper- IPTV-VNOs focus on launching and building their ator (MNVO). An IPTV-VNO is a company that pro- business, they should remember that quality and vides an IPTV service, but does not own its own the means of how they incorporate loyalty pro- network infrastructure. Instead, it uses the FTTH/ grams can determine their success. DSL infrastructure of an existing network operator The top priority for a good IPTV service is inter- and has the required IPTV infrastructure deployed esting and high quality content. Currently, due to on that network. At a minimum, an IPTV infrastruc- the high initial costs pertaining to the distribution ture is usually comprised of IPTV Middleware, a CAS/ of content from major movie distributors and their DRM system and VOD servers. Additional compo- rigid distribution licensing models, this is probably nents include what is commonly referred to as a the largest barrier for small players. The solution head-end, which is a set of systems responsible for is in cooperation with content aggregators who sourcing and encoding live TV content. A head-end offer content from multiple sources. is crucial and expensive however it is optional in various cases given that live channel feeds may be Conclusions received directly from another IPTV operator, who In summary, the main IPTV-VNO revenue sources are: has already deployed a head-end. > IPTV service subscription fees > Live pay-per-view TV transmissions IPTV revenue sources > „Content on Demand” distribution fees - Movies, There are several new business opportunities for Music, Internet Radio, Events and Audiobooks an IPTV-VNO. Core services that can be offered > Delivery of 3rd-party premium TV services include premium TV channels, EPG and VOD. What > Interactive advertising we refer to as interactive services go beyond this > Online shopping and include things such as quizzes, dating services, access to Internet services (PicasaWeb™ etc.), inter- Who can become an IPTV-VNO? net radio access and so forth. The third promising > Retail stores area is online shopping and interactive advertising. > Internet portals Łukasz Luzar An advertisement can be displayed before and/or > MVNOs Comarch SA after viewing a movie and the user can access more > DTH platforms (in hybrid mode) Position: Product Manager information regarding the product displayed. The Department: Telecommunications order can also be submitted online and payment IPTV is expected to be the next big thing. It seems Business Unit may be added to the IPTV monthly bill. For exam- apparent that this is an exceptionally promising Info: Currently responsible for two ple, when a user starts to watch a movie, they can technology with a high business potential. There are products in the VAS area: Comarch Next-Generation TV (NGTV) and Comarch be asked if they want to order a pizza. If the user many business opportunities that lay behind it, and Content Delivery Solution (CDS). agrees, then they can browse through a pizza menu IPTV-VNO is one of the most promising ones. < technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 13 Convergence in Network and Service Management Service providers’ challenges Synergies in fixed and mobile When one investigates mobile and fixed net- The competitive market of telecommunications now- network management works many similarities can be found: adays encourages operators to look for different Currently it is quite a common situation that tele- > Similar technologies and hardware delivered by the sources of revenue and cost optimization. It happens communications operators, delivering both fixed same vendors used in the backbone network that fixed operators, in order to offer mobile services, and mobile services, use different systems to man- > The same processes for backbone upgrade and establish separate companies with their own organi- age mobile and fixed parts of the network. It constantly maintenance zational structure and independent network. Then, happens that backbone connections delivered by a > The same problems in service-to-resource map- the majority of mobile operators also deliver inter- fixed network for mobile traffic are visualized as leased ping and service delivery net access services through hotspots. In addition, lines in the mobile network inventory. The only differ- > Similar services offered over different access currently the trend is to outsource parts of the net- ence is that those leased lines are provided by the com- networks work, including backbone, physical or RAN. All of these pany from the same business group. In such a situa- One of the possible solutions to these problems circumstances and the historical background have a tion the same network resource is managed twice in is to allocate a separate unit responsible for man- large impact on network management systems. different Network Management Systems. aging the whole backbone network. In order to nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 14 > Solutions & Products figure 1 Independent Network Management by fixed and mobile divisions of a service provider Mobile Operator NMS A fixed Operator NMS B remove duplication of the network management figure 2 One Network Inventory with different network domains systems an OSS solution must allow for easy assign- ment of responsibilities to appropriate user groups Comprehensive Network Inventory and roles. A single Network Inventory application managing the whole mobile and fixed network delivers the following benefits: fixed Access Domain Radio Access Domain A single repository for all the network-related information, allowing for a comprehensive end- to-end view of network connections – one source of information for Fault Management and plan- ning tools. > Up-to-date information about the whole network thanks to Network Reconciliation > De-duplication of systems and tools for backbone network planning and maintenance > Reduced CAPEX and OPEX on different network management applications. Backbone Domain Figure 2 presents the idea of one convergent back- bone and one application managing it. Convergent network management creates a frame- work for additional enhancements in the opera- tions area: cal connection, to building new sites and physical Service management > Orchestration of network growth infrastructure. In order to automate and orches- In order to fully utilize the network potential flexible > Service management and delivery trate those processes a tight integration of network service modeling should be introduced. Service mod- > Outsourcing of the network and/or its opera- inventory and process management is needed. els should contain definitions of required or used tions The Change Management process is triggered in resources grouped in manageable internal services. the context of network resources, and the above- One source of network information feeding service Orchestration of network growth mentioned tight integration allows for automatic models can lead to the creation of new services, Once the network management systems are inte- calculation of the impact on affected resources. which will utilize different access networks, back- grated, one of their main roles is to support network Since changes may have different scopes, some bone transport and content servers in order to deli- growth. In such an architecture network changes parts of the change project may be orchestrated vere one convergent service, regardless of the used may be triggered by radio network upgrade or reor- by different systems, including financial manage- access method. For example, mobile TV over IP may ganization, by fixed access network needs, or just ment tools responsible for signing contracts for be delivered via a radio access network, but when as an output of internal backbone optimization new sites. Such systems have to be triggered by the user with a mobile handset is at home within processes. The change may have different impacts, change processes via open interfaces in SOA com- the coverage area of their wireless router, the service starting from a small reconfiguration of some logi- pliant architecture. may be sent over a fixed access network. technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 15 figure 3 Resource facing Services offered by different domains Customer facing Service Model Resource facing Service Model Radio Access Backbone fixed Access Domain Core Domain Domain Domain Service Inventory also supports different domains vendor), and then the central Network Inventory Furthermore, Comarch OSS Process Management in network management. In each domain Resource works as the so-called manager of managers. In offers automation and orchestration capabilities in Facing Services may be defined independently by this case data is divided into domains which are defining and running Change Management processes, users responsible for the management of a given managed by different systems, and one central even in large OSS environments, where responsibili- network domain. These services may be offered to inventory gathers only the data which is required ties are shared among different applications. < users responsible for defining and offering Customer to deliver an end-to-end view on network connec- Facing Services. Figure 3 illustrates this idea. tions and network services. In the central reposi- tory Customer Facing Services are also modelled Outsourcing and master processes for network upgrade are Currently, the outsourcing of a network and its triggered. operations is a common trend. Service providers want to focus on service delivery and, on the other Comarch Process-Driven Network hand, introduce additional cost savings. But even & Service Inventory when the network operations or the network itself The Comarch OSS Suite includes the Network Inven- are outsourced, there is still a need to have a gen- tory Management solution, which allows for divid- eral picture of the network resources, both out- ing the network into domains with different user sourced and locally managed. Outsourced parts groups and roles assigned. It is possible to restrict may still be offered as Resource Facing Services access in such a way that certain user groups have in a given network domain. Operations require access only to the part of the network which is orchestration and automation inside the domains under their management. It is possible to divide Jakub Załuski-Kapusta and between them. That is why Inventory systems the domains further in order to allow the outsourc- must allow for such network management organi- ing of certain parts of the network. Comarch SA Position: OSS Product Manager zation and must comply with much higher security The Comarch Network Inventory can also be Department: Telecommunications requirements for inventory data. equipped with a Service Inventory, allowing for the Business Unit Outsourcing may also introduce other Net- flexible modelling of service structures, and main- Info: Currently responsible for sales work Inventory applications (even from the same taining information about existing services. support of Comarch OSS systems. nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 16 > Solutions & Products How to move Service Assurance to the Next Level The Common Service Monitoring Engine as the heart of Next Generation Service Assurance technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 17 Delivering ser- vices to customers is the lifeblood of an operator’s busi- In the traditional architecture, the services pro- vided were embedded in the networking equip- ment. Analysis of the service state was easy and ness. When the services offered are maintained straightforward. In modern networks, however, ser- with a high degree of quality and fulfill SLA agree- vices are no longer associated with a single device ments, when they are constantly modified accord- in the network. Instead, each service is composed ing to market requirements, and when new ones from resources provided by many devices operat- can be activated quickly - the business succeeds. ing within the network, or even based on many However, when the service management is poor, other simpler services offered by third party com- with frequent service outages due to network fail- panies. With more advanced services offered, the ures and, furthermore, when the resolution process structure of these services can become more and is slow, customer experience is not in line with ex- more complicated. pectations. The evolution of telecommunication In the case of any failure in such a complex mesh networks brings about a constant emergence of of connected resources, the contents, suppliers, new services, with their number and complexity quantity and importance of the affected services growing rapidly, while at the same time service usually determines the severity of the network fail- lifecycles are getting shorter. ure. Therefore, in a next generation network, exact How can operators ensure the delivery of proper information about the service state is essential for levels of quality for so many complex services? For- network management and operation. tunately, operational support systems are evolving Let’s see this problem in an example. Imagine together with operators’ businesses. The growing the telephone switch in an old-fashioned network number of services means that OSS systems have encountered a failure. In an old-fashioned network never been as important as they are nowadays. manual identification of affected customers and Today, operators can not even think about deliv- services was quite feasible: simply, all customers ering modern services with a high level of qual- directly connected to the affected ports were cut ity without significant help from the supporting off from the voice service. In a next generation net- systems. This also means that Service Assurance work, the relationship between the equipment and is becoming the most critical area of modern OSS provided services is much less straightforward. In solutions. the case of an edge router failure, it is not a simple task to determine which services are affected by The challenges of Next Generation this failure. Services offered over an IP network Networks can vary, from basic residential Internet access The changes that have occurred in the telecommu- to highly critical IP VPN for enterprise custom- nications market in the last decade, and the transi- ers. Since these services are not provided directly tion to NGN networks that is currently happening by the edge router itself, it is usually difficult to have increased competitiveness in the telecom- quickly determine the set of affected services. As munication market and forced all the operators to these are the services that are sold directly to the optimize their costs and make their services much subscriber, the quantity and importance of the more attractive to end customers. However, this affected services usually determines the severity optimization can not be achieved using the pre- of the network failure. Therefore, in a next genera- vious generation of OSS systems. The move from tion network, exact information about the service traditional architecture to a next-generation tele- state is essential for network management and communications network poses additional prob- operation. With more advanced services offered, lems for network management and operation. The the structure of services can become even more introduction of multi-layer network architecture complicated. simplifies the development and introduction of Nowadays, gathering information about the advanced services, e.g. providing connectivity as failure is also not simple. The event can be an a network layer service as in IMS, but hides the alarm collected directly from a network element complex relationship between the services pro- or a network management system, an end-to-end vided and the network resources used. In other probe or a third party SLA monitoring engine, but words, Next Generation Networks require Next also a Trouble Ticket generated by a call center Generation Service Assurance to fully protect the or information from a customer self-care system. services delivered to the customer and conserve What is more, these different sources can all report operator revenues. together about the same outage, every one in its own way! This means that we need advanced logic nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 18 > Solutions & Products figure 1 Evolution of services The left panel presents an old-fashioned simple voice customer-faced services. The right panel contains a the complex mesh of resources and resource-facing service with direct mapping between resources and part of a model of a modern Blackberry service, with services the Blackberry for customer is based on. BB Instance Customer facing Services Voice BB Prosumer BB for Business Intermediate Services BB Mechanism Customer BB Transport Resource facing Services Specific BB Generic BB Mechanism Mechanism UTRAN ......... GERAN BSC Network Resources BlackBerry RIM Auth Local Loop Platform Server BTS BTS BTS BTS BTS to find and present clear information for network and responsibilities, often partially outsourced, least, optimal and automated business process and services maintenance staff, as well as a set of doing it in an organized, optimal way with proper management. standardized interfaces to inter-connect all parts prioritization of performed actions, without any of the Service Assurance system. help from OSS system, seems to be a very hard or How to design the ultimate However, delivering precise information about even impossible task. solution the customers and services affected by a failure We can point out the most crucial challenges To overcome the challenges of Next Generation is only one part of modern Service Assurance. for NGSA solution: Networks an operator needs a comprehensive Oper- The other is to improve the process of finding the > providing actual information about the huge ational Support System providing a permanent event’s root cause for an operator’s staff. Support- number of services with complex structure and opportunity to model and monitor complex services ing the engineers in the fast location of the fault’s resource dependencies based on the underlying network resources. A Pro- source is crucial for the operator’s business. The > offering a clear and coherent presentation and gressive Fault Management module with advanced later the reason for a failure is identified, the bigger analysis of events gathered from multiple classes event processing and enrichment should be the the losses it causes. Here we come to another chal- of sources main event source. Standard and common inter- lenge - Next Generation Service Assurance should > organization and automatization of the incident faces to external systems (e.g. Trouble Ticketing, Cus- not only provide visibility of service states, even resolution process. tomer Care, SLA Management, E2E probes) should with failure root cause analysis, but a comprehen- provide the ability to collect events and information sive solution should also proactively support the To summarize, the huge number of services with for alarm enrichment from non-network sources. process of incident resolution to speed-up ser- complex structure and intricate mapping on the By taking a closer look at the telecommunications vice recovery – minimizing losses. When it comes resources, which are essential for an operator’s market we can see that the best strategy is choos- to fixing even hundreds of outages (planned and business growth, imposes a duty on the OSS sys- ing interfaces founded on the OSS/J initiative, which unplanned) per day with complex services based tem to provide clear visibility of the service, easy seems to be becoming the ‘de facto’ OSS interfac- on a mesh of resources, with divided staff skills service control and governance and, last but not ing standard. Such an expanded system needs an technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 19 figure 2 Solution architecture Schematic architecture of proposed Next Generation Service Assurance system. KnowHow CMDB SLA Probing E2E Trouble Ticketing Performance Database Management system system Management Enhanced Communication Bus Reusable components Authentication System Repository Service & Configuration Process Management Service Management Reporting Notification & Service Escalation Service fault Management Enhanced Communication Bus OSS Console WEB Console MEDIATION MEDIATION MEDIATION DEVICE DEVICE DEVICE Mediation Layer Network Environment Next Generation IP Network Platform (e. g. IMS) NMS Element efficient correlation engine to support the presen- ing related tasks should be stored in a Know-How events and the advanced logic to process them tation of the most relevant information regarding Database in order to improve and speed-up solu- automatically shortens the time of failure root upcoming events in an automated way, as well as to tion finding for subsequent, similar cases. In mod- cause analysis and, combined with the workflow implement advanced logic to support the network ern business models many maintenance tasks are system, speeds-up the incident resolution process. engineers in root cause analysis. Automatic busi- outsourced, so there is a strong need to include a That simplifies the network staff’s every-day activ- ness impact analysis on the basis of information highly configurable Web Interface for presenting ities, makes their effort more effective and, from about possible SLA violations, affected customer dashboards or simple task panels for external part- the customer’s point of view, provides more reli- importance, failures in rush-hours etc. should also ner companies. Service Assurance should also have able services offered with higher QoS. Automatic be performed during the event enrichment process control of Service Level Agreement fulfillment and business impact analysis giving task prioritization and incident creation. To deal with emerging inci- direct communication with the customer, such as prevents most important SLA violations and pro- dents, a process management system controlling through Trouble Ticketing. tects VIP customers etc. reducing potential losses. and organizing complex workflow is also crucial. The open interface strategy also makes the solution To structure the business process it is very conve- Benefits more flexible in the perspective of further growth nient to use workflows based on the best practices Using the solution described above we are able and development. Analysis of the processes related described in ITIL and eTOM recommendations. The to provide instant and comprehensive assurance to the assurance of typical services shows that the knowledge gained during hundreds of failure-fix- of offered services. The wide range of gathered majority of human tasks result from data fragmen- nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 20 > Solutions & Products figure 3 Event propagation A scheme of event processing, from ‘rare’ event, correlation and enrichment stages, up to service coming from network elements or systems, through monitoring and incident handling layers. Notification & Process Management OSS Console Escalation Service Incidents Process templates Service Events Service Management Customer facing service SLA Propagation Management Resource facing service Resource facing service Rules Resource Resource Resource Resource facing service facing service facing service facing service Qualified Events fault Management Self Care CRM TT Sources Trouble Tickets Correlation Reasoning engine Rules Aggregated Events OSS Mediation Layer MEDIATION MEDIATION DEVICE DEVICE Correlation Reasoning engine Rules Events Event Sources E2E Network NMS Probes Elements technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 21 tation and redundancy between all the systems > A process management system controlling and and Web GUI enables the possibility of configur- involved in the end-to-end process. organizing the complex workflow in the areas of ing dashboards or panels for use by external part- The integration of the process management Incident and Problem Management, equipped ners. Seamless integration of all the components engine with the OSS Solution, and the foundation with predefined ITIL and eTOM founded process of the Comarch solution with 3rd party software, of a predefined processes on well-documented templates and enabling task automation. through OSS/J interfaces, delivers an OSS system and preconfigured workflows based on the ITIL > Web GUI dashboards and panels with highly which enables Service Assurance to be controlled recommendation, organized in the skeleton of configurable content restrictions for external from one convergent application. the eTOM framework, optimizes human and net- partners’ use. In conclusion, every day we have to deal with work resource usage, thereby reducing redundan- > A Know-How Database to gather and store knowl- new emerging services with steadily increasing cies and ineffectiveness. Having a library of exe- edge, tips, solutions and all necessary wisdom service complexity. This situation introduces new cutable workflows mapped on the eTOM process about the devices, services and procedures related requirements for Operations Support Systems. framework, and a ready to deploy SID based data to service assurance in your business case. Only tools that are service and process oriented model, it is possible to quickly address a chosen > The solution provider’s ability to adapt and cus- with highly automated incident and problem man- eTOM area by building a mesh of coupled work- tomize the off-the-shelf solution according to agement are able to help an operator manage this flows operating on event data. The added value your company’s particular needs, because not live environment of resources, services, custom- can be a redefinition of business processes in the everything that is convenient for other compa- ers and partners. < company, on the basis of ITIL knowledge and best nies is suitable for you. practises, to make them more effective and reduce > Choose a stable, well-experienced solution pro- unnecessary costs. vider with at least 10 years’ experience in the OSS Using the available automations in incident or market, and which is a member of international problem process handling, it is possible to reduce organizations and forums like TMF, ETSI etc. This human interaction by 60% on average. Considering assures you that the supplier knows and tracks that each human task involves a long and unpre- the changes in the IT world and follows new con- dictable pending period, execution of the process cepts and ideas. can be greatly improved, from several hours or days to either minutes or seconds. Comarch’s offer and vision This optimization, together with a Know-How Our proposal is Comarch Next Generation Service Database repository, allows the network staff to Assurance, based on the Comarch OSS Suite 4 mod- operate efficiently and quickly and keeps the busi- ules: Service Management, Fault Management and ness away from unnecessary losses. OSS Process Management. It provides the abil- ity, through a very efficient event correlation sys- What to look for in a Service tem, to monitor complex services, find a problem’s Assurance Solution root causes in an automated way, enrich events When looking for a next generation service assur- with advanced information, e.g. incident business ance solution, you should be sure to consider the impact calculated with the use of external system following elements: information and, most importantly, resolve inci- > A comprehensive service modelling and moni- dents through structured processes modelled in toring engine, providing the mapping between the OSS Process Management module which is resources and services even for complex cases. specifically designed for managing a Telco oper- This should be the heart of Next Generation Ser- ator’s processes. It provides several mechanisms vice Assurance. and tools which enable process automation at > A progressive fault management system, includ- different levels. Each typical, common task can ing advanced event enrichment (with the use of be defined at the highest level as an automatic information from external systems) and a strong process. Finally, Process Management provides correlation engine to assure clear data presen- a scripting mechanism to define actions even at tation and root cause analysis. the atomic level and use them in high level pro- > Automatic business impact analysis giving task cesses as automatic tasks. OSS Process Manage- Jakub Meisner prioritization related to business (e.g. SLA) infor- ment comes with a large number of preconfig- Comarch SA mation. ured workflows based on ITIL best practices. It Position: OSS Solution & Product > Standard OSS/J based interfaces to external sys- also contains automation patterns operating on Manager tems, giving you the ability to collect events and a predefined data model based on SID. A Know- Department: Telecommunications Business Unit information from non-network sources as well How Database integrated with the Process Man- Info: Responsible for developing OSS Me- as protecting system growth possibilities. agement system provides additional added value, diation and the Comarch NGSA solution. nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 22 > Solutions & Products Managing MPLS networks technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 23 figure 1 General view of MPLS network LIB LIB LIB Exit LSR Entry LSR LSR LSR MPLS network LIB LIB LIB LIB LSR LSR LIB LSP (Label Switch Path) Recently operators have been implementing Multi Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) the path, which swaps the packet’s outer label for another label, and forwards it to the next router. The last router in the path removes the label from routes through the BGP process. The routes learned by the PE router are collected in VRF tables (Virtual Routing Forwarding). Each VRF table is created for infrastructure that unifies IP VPN and other data ser- the packet and forwards the packet, based on the each site connected to the PE router. vices. MPLS has been adopted as it allows the quick header of its next layer, for example IPv4. The most popular case for the creation of VPNs is and easy creation of secure IP VPN services, which Each LSR holds a Label Information Base (LIB). when a customer needs access to intranet VPN and represent a less costly alternative to traditional LIBs are tables that contain information about label extranet VPN shared by other clients. Such a sce- leased-line circuits. Enterprise demand has made switching and related activities. Each LSR examines nario is shown below. The service provider routes IP VPNs one of the fastest-growing sources of data the label and inbound interface for the packet and the packets in three VPNs (1, 2, and 3), while one cus- revenue for service providers, therefore speeding up determines the outgoing interface and outgoing tomer belongs to two VPNs. PE routers exchange the development of MPLS networks. In order to use label. Additionally, each LSR can perform an oper- route information through the BGP protocol. all the benefits of MPLS operators or service provid- ation on the label. If necessary it can substitute it The other approach to MPLS VPNs is the tun- ers must have OSS environments that: and forward the packet with a new label. neling Layer 2 point-to-point connection between > Provide up-to-date information about configuration Labeling and building LSPs also allows traffic two customer sites. Layer 2 VPNs are sometimes of the network and elements composing it class differentiation. Specific types of packets may referred to as Pseudo Wire Emulation Edge-to-Edge > Properly monitor the network and provide infor- need to be forwarded to the same hop or along the (PWE3) or Virtual Wire Private Service (VWPS). All mation about the alarms and the network’s utili- same LSP. All the packets to which a specific label these terms refer to the protocols providing tun- zation is assigned form a Forwarding Equivalency Class nels to emulate Layer 2 services like Frame Relay, > Monitor and ensure QoS offered to the operator’s (FEC). An FEC can be variously defined by a provider, Ethernet, ATM, and SDH over packet switched net- customers depending on its size or set of services: An FEC may works like IP/MPLS. Traditional and packet switched > Ensure proper progress of MPLS operational pro- be constituted by all the packets bound for the networks are connected to share resources and cesses within the operator’s environment same LSR entry, all the packets with a defined class extend internetworking. As a result, connected of service, bound to a certain region or matching customer sites work as if they belong to one local MPLS Overview the route statistics for a large service provider. network since customer Layer 2 frames are trans- MPLS puts together connectionless IP with con- parently transmitted through devices residing on nection-oriented networks. It is also called Layer VPN tunnels the customer edge. 2½ technology as it combines Layer 2 advantages The main idea behind the MPLS VPN is that the pro- – speed & efficiency, and Layer 3 advantages – scal- vider’s core routers do not even know about the Managing MPLS Networks with ability. MPLS networks consist of Label Switching VPN networks and just switch the labels inside the the Comarch OSS Suite Routers (LSR) that transmit packets according to MPLS network. Provider Edge routers (PE) take the The Comarch OSS Suite includes a Service and traffic labels introduced by entry LSR and removed responsibility of routing the client’s packets cor- Resource Inventory, Service Provisioning, Network by exit LSR. Another important entity in MPLS net- rectly into and out of the MPLS network. Discovery and Reconciliation, and Performance works is the Label Switching Path (LSP) which is a Every PE router keeps multiple routing tables and Fault Monitoring, as well as Service and SLA path through an MPLS network, set up by a sig- containing definitions of routes to the remote sites. Management. The OSS Framework, which provides naling protocol. The path begins at a Label Edge The PE router keeps track of just those routes which core functionality and supervises the operations Router (LER) that sets an MPLS prefix to a packet. lead to remote sites belonging to the same VPNs of Comarch OSS modules, includes functional- It then forwards the packet to the next router in as the local PE’s client sites. PE routes learn these ities which are shared by all modules: Visualiza- nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 24 > Solutions & Products figure 2 MPLS VPN Layer-3 approach Customer B, Site 1 VRF for VRF for Customer B, VPN 1 VPN 2 Site 2 Customer A, Site 2 PE PE Customer A, Router Router Site 1 Customer C, Site 1 PE PE Router Router Customer B, Customer A, Site 3 Site 3 MPLS core network VPN 1 VPN 2 VPN 3 Route information update LSP tion Engine, Reporting and Notification Service, Autodiscovery/ Reconciliation MPLS Network Monitoring Administration Tools and Reasoning Engine. Seam- Thanks to the Autodiscovery/Reconciliation mod- fault and Performance Management less integration of the Suite with third-party soft- ule the system user can rest assured that the infor- The Comarch Fault Management solution for MPLS ware in an existing environment is ensured by the mation stored within the system is synchronized is preconfigured to properly treat MPLS specific Comarch OSS Mediation module. with the network and is always up-to-date. The alarms. The correlation engine allows the corre- system integrates with MPLS Network Elements lation of MPLS alarms with other alarms across Inventory of MPLS network mainly using the SNMP protocol, but other proto- the protocol hierarchy, and therefore helps the The Comarch Network and Service Inventory allows cols are also possible. user to solve the alarm quickly by providing Root the managing of information related with MPLS The Auto-discovery tool covers the following Cause alarms. networks. The Network and Service Inventory inventory reconciliation functionalities: Comarch Network Performance Management becomes a central point where all data is gath- > Adding/ Removing the Network Element to/from allows the gathering of MPLS performance specific ered and made available for consultation by the the Inventory database data in order to track the traffic that is traversing user or other modules or systems. >> Updating the Inventory database due to: the network with its parameters. The system allows The Comarch Network and Service Inventory >> adding/ changing/ removing cards, ports, etc. real-time control of gathered performance data provides: to/ in/ from the Network Element against predefined threshold levels. The system > MPLS backbone network modeling. This appli- >> changing status of the interfaces in the Network is able to report Threshold Crossing Alarms in the cation allows the managing of MPLS technol- Element case of performance policy violation. ogy items related to handling traffic inside the > Adding/ Updating/Removing NE configuration Finally, the systems can produce various statis- provider’s core MPLS network. The set of inven- (the VPN information) tics and performance reports. The following list tory objects includes, among other things: Label provides just a few examples of the stats reports Switching Routers (PE, CE), MPLS tunnels and User friendly data presentation that the user may choose from: clouds Label Switching Paths (LSPs), Label Switch- All data stored in the Inventory can be easily pre- > Throughput of LSP head and tail routers ing Tables in (LSRs), Virtual Routing Forwarding sented to the user with several visualization meth- > LSP throughput and volume overview Tables (VRF), Route Targets, etc. ods (e.g. Inventory View, Hierarchical View, Logical > MPLS tunnel statistics (like tunnel availability) > Business layer modeling. This area covers all items View, Table View etc…). related to services offered to customers by MPLS In addition to the many visualization possibili- Comarch Service Level Management backbone network providers like MPLS VPNs, or ties the user can easily filter appropriate informa- Once the information on how the services are built Virtual Wire Private Services (VWPS), providing tion and navigate among different views using a within the network (Network and Service Inventory), point-to-point connectivity between customer context menu. Such an approach ensures that the and information about the condition of network sites, while the provider emulates a set of wires system user can quickly find adequate information components is present in the system (Fault and Per- between sites over the underlying MPLS tunnel. within the Comarch Inventory. formance information), one can deduct the state and technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 25 condition of the services offered to a Customer. To figure 3 Hierarchical list of VRfs and related Route Targets facilitate this, Comarch offers the Comarch Service Level Management module, which is able to evalu- and Logical View of MPLS Network (VPNs) and its components ate service health and performance using already collected network fault and performance data. In addition, the system can offer SLA monitoring which integrates network management information with the business objectives of the operator. Each SLA is specified using the performance and health parameters accessible in the service moni- toring system. In the SLA contract, the operator can specify service reliability metrics, as well as thresh- old values for the service performance metrics. The SLM can be used for monitoring MPLS layer services (e.g. VPNs), as the module can be offered with a set of predefined service templates for MPLS. How- ever, the full functionality of the Comarch SLM can be > Maintenance processes, e.g. Change Management and therefore reduce costs with overall solution shown when monitoring cross technology; cross layer processes ensuring that changes within the net- efficiency. The Comarch solution can be offered services. In such a case the MPLS services can be part work are performed properly. as a complete solution (all modules described pre- of a complex service offered to the Customer. viously) or just a particular module with specific Integration with MPLS devices functionality requested by the operator. MPLS Network Processes The Comarch OSS Suite retrieves configuration and Comarch OSS allows operators to control and ful- The aforementioned functionalities of the Comarch performance data from an MPLS network in order fill the potential of the network while being able to OSS Suite are helpful in day-to-day operations of to monitor performance and perform health moni- quickly react to the changing business environment. the service provider’s business. However, such oper- toring of MPLS devices & tunnels by finding MPLS The solutions bring business value by optimizing ations follow well described processes or proce- VPNs tunnels and their LSPs inside an MPLS network. network usage and human operations, and there- dures implemented within the operator’s business. This is done with the help of the Comarch Mediation fore directly decreasing operational costs. < Comarch OSS Process Management can ensure that layer, which is responsible for communication with tasks and operations, in particular those involving Network Elements and/or other management sys- several participants (people, departments, etc.), are tems. The integration may be done in several ways: automated and follow a previously specified pro- > Directly from NE mainly using SNMP and follow- cess. Furthermore, it supports task automation in ing MIBs: MPLS-LSR-MIB, MPLS-LDP-MIB, MPLS-TE- order to reduce operation time and costs through MIB, MPLS-VPN-MIB and RFC 1213 MIB an increase in overall OSS solution efficiency. > With the use of another external system (via e.g. Comarch OSS Process Management utilizes pow- XML files) erful process modeling functionality to design a robust framework of highly customizable generic The system may gather MPLS network informa- processes based on industry best practices. The pro- tion from external systems e.g. EMSes/ NEMSes in cesses within Comarch OSS can be quickly adapted order to keep all information in a central database in order to suit the operator’s needs. OSS Process together with information about other network Management provides a combined ITIL and eTOM technologies. Such interfacing may be made with process environment based on the TMF GB921V the help of both well standardized interfaces, e.g. standard. The following ITIL Processes included: MTNM, mTOP, OSS/J, CORBA, CMIP, and also via pro- Incident Management, Problem Management, prietary interfaces. Change Management, Approval (as part of Change Management), Configuration Management, Ser- Conclusions vice Level Management. eTOM processes: Service/ The Comarch OSS Suite provides several tools and Resource Operations Support & Readiness, Service mechanisms facilitating MPLS network manage- Paweł Wiatr Fulfillment, Service Assurance. ment at different levels, starting from simple alarms The exemplary processes specific for MPLS are gathered from the MPLS network, by complex mon- Comarch SA Position: OSS Solution Manager as follows: itoring of MPLS Services offered to the Providers’ Department: Telecommunications > Service Desk processes ensuring proper main- Customers, up to operational process control. With Business Unit tenance of service related requests (automated the ability to integrate with NEs and other external Info: Responsible for developing OSS support system with workflow management) systems, the Comarch OSS Suite can play a key role solutions for Comarch customers. > Service Provisioning orchestration allowing auto- within the operator’s environment and significantly mation of MPLS service creation within MPLS reduce the time and effort required for operations nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 26 > Solutions & Products OSS and CRM – integration that pays The telecommunications industry, al- though still technology-driven to a great extent, is no different from any other in terms improvement largely contribute to poor results, so it won’t be discussed here again. What is truly worth attention, though, is how much can be done cost-oriented OSS, and the IT department taking care of the revenue-oriented BSS. The different perspec- tives have resulted in limited systems integration, of what customers basically ask for. They look for profitability just through tighter integration of as well as multiple disconnected data repositories for products that fulfill their needs convenient- CRM and OSS. and processes. These issues, while technical at first ly, for a fair price, and if something goes wrong, There have always been two camps on the oper- glance, have a real business impact and have led to they want the problem to be solved reasonably ator’s systems map: BSS - customer-facing business different initiatives, such as attempts at achieving and fast. Unfortunately, in reality, suboptimal pro- support systems (normally covering billing and CRM) a 360 degree view of customer data, where carriers cesses in the areas of sales, order fulfillment and and OSS - network-facing operations support systems could view those pieces of physical and logical net- trouble ticket management too often negatively (for instance: network inventory, fault management, work inventory that are related to a given customer impact customer satisfaction and, eventually, the provisioning). This has also been reflected in the service. However, the real benefit of bridging the gap bottom line. It has frequently been said that lack organizational schemes – there is traditionally the between CRM (the part of BSS we focus on in this of genuine customer focus or constant process network operations department taking care of the article) and OSS lies elsewhere. technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 27 When customer orientation meets figure 1 Comarch CRM for Telecoms – Customer Orders View thinking in circuits Most processes have their “moments of truth”, when only combined CRM and OSS effort is nec- essary. Imagine an ongoing sales process aimed at winning a new business customer. What we generally know about business customers is that although they tend to have higher expectations and more complex problems taking a good deal of organizational effort to handle, they also tend to be more profitable. At some point, our prospective cus- tomer will ask a simple question, like: “How much will this T1 link cost me per month?”. When a price is quoted to the customer (whose data is stored in the customer-centric CRM) and the costs of the ser- vice (based on data from the network-centric OSS) cannot be well defined on a per-customer basis at this early stage, profitability is at risk. Carriers sell- ing services that are provided to them by external providers know this situation well, especially in markets where local-loop unbundling regulation has been implemented and local loop costs vary depending on concrete physical location. When a contract is signed and an order is placed, order fulfillment and provisioning actions take vate the product, it has to be clear what exactly processes transparently across CRM and OSS layers place, and they are often pretty complicated and this particular “T1 link” looks like from the logi- with a single tool. Not having to configure duplicate time consuming. The customer may ask for the cur- cal and physical network point of view. In other procedures and integration logic in both systems rent status of his order. Once it has passed from the words, there has to be logic translating the “busi- enforced by consistent versioning would definitely customer-focused CRM to the network-oriented ness product”, with all its parameters collected as increase the ease of adapting the business process OSS, many providers can only give a laconic “in prog- part of the sales and ordering, into to the underly- management environment to changing business ress” answer, because they are not able to relate an ing “network product”, with all the necessary pro- needs. Other advantages worth mentioning include order back to a customer. Sometimes problems with visioning actions. It is usually harder when there common access to order attachments, better han- provisioning may occur on the side of the external are multiple local, disconnected product catalogs dling of provisioning errors, full visibility from CRM provider, which may not necessarily be reflected disseminated among different best of breed and into OSS order history (and vice versa) and more in order status. The same information gap exists home-grown OSS and BSS systems. possibilities in managing orders in jeopardy. for fault management and trouble ticketing. Let’s A unified product catalog acting as a master and imagine that the customer is happily making use of central database for products and offers to be found An integrated CRM-OSS solution the newly configured T1 link, and suddenly a circuit in the service provider’s systems not only eliminates There are generally two notable ways to close the goes down. OSS systems produce tons of valuable the error prone processes of manual reconfiguration CRM/OSS gap. The first is to use an open architec- information about the status of the network. When and synchronization of catalogs, but also reduces ture based on standards. Use TMF eTom and ITIL as such a fault occurs, the location, possible causes the time to market of new products and the customi- guidelines for (re-)defining business processes, use and correlated events may quickly be identified, zation of products for business customers (e.g. the the Shared Information/Data (SID) model for hav- yet associating this data with the customers who setup of a dedicated T1 link with a variable billing ing common terms and relations between business may be affected tends to be more challenging, mak- cycle, or an advanced VoIP configuration). All sales objects in different layers, and OSS/J for interfaces. ing customer notification and pro-active assistance and marketing activity could be driven by the cen- In theory, an operator could pick best-of-breed prod- even more difficult to achieve. tralized product repository, with corresponding tar- ucts for every functional area of OSS and BSS (for get segments, geographies, bundles, tariff plans, and instance defined by the NGOSS Telecom Applications How many product catalogs does variants. Of course, not all difficulties can be elimi- Map, another TMF standard) and integrate them, it take? nated – adding new products will remain difficult trying to adhere to the mentioned standards, but in The true value lies in sales, order fulfillment and per se – adding a product to the catalog must be practice these standards are still evolving, and not trouble ticketing processes effectively spanned accompanied by setting up all the necessary quot- all vendors provide current implementations. across CRM and OSS modules, supported by a ing, ordering and post-sales processes, as well as The second approach for a service provider shared product catalog and workflow engine. As anything else that is affected by products. would be to diligently pick an end-to-end suite in our example, knowing costs prior to quoting the Similarly, with a common workflow engine being encompassing CRM, BSS and OSS modules, with a price is crucial in achieving desired profitability, the central point for all ordering and ticketing pro- shared product catalog, workflow, and integration but to know the costs and later to be able to acti- cesses, it would be possible to design and execute layer in order to strategically focus the architec- nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 28 > Solutions & Products figure 2 Order Management and Trouble Ticketing spanned across OSS and CRM Comarch Product Product Specification Product Lifecycle Product/Service Catalog and Offering Management Catalog Management Comarch CRM for Telecoms Comarch Billing System Campaign Sales Management Management Contact Management Customer Data Management Quoting Customer QoS/SLA Billing and Workflow Order Management Trouble Ticketing Invoicing Comarch OSS Suite Inventory Management Service Assurance Service Inventory Service Level Management Network Inventory fault Management Provisioning Network Performance Management Mediation ture around it, adding a limited number of systems effect. In the end, what really matters is to be from other vendors to the mix. This approach may focused on the assumed business outcomes of be more cost effective, faster and easier to main- the initiative, while remaining compliant with cor- tain than the other – there is no overhead in man- porate policy and architecture standards. aging multiple suppliers, a smaller functionality overlap between modules (not all best-of-breed Summary modules are carved precisely along TAM guidelines), Previously, putting up with the gap between CRM and most interfaces are set up between the suite’s and OSS worlds has been a viable - though not opti- internal modules (vs. interfaces between systems mal - strategy for most operators. But now that the from different vendors, sometimes implemented by telecommunications industry is undergoing the different System Integrators). Unfortunately, there “communications and content over IP” transfor- is also a considerable drawback. Many companies mation, service providers are starting to redesign find it risky, if not plain dangerous, to become too their business models and to rethink the infrastruc- Paweł Lamik dependant on one given vendor, proprietary inter- ture. It looks like a great opportunity for bringing Comarch SA faces and technology. No risk, no gain – here the CRM and OSS systems, processes and data closer Position: Product Manager gain is lower TCO of the solution. together. Conducting the architectural change with Department: Telecommunications Regardless of which approach fits a service a pragmatic, modular approach is crucial to deeper Business Unit provider better under given circumstances, both OSS and CRM integration paying with increased Info: Responsible for Comarch CRM for Te- are just different methods for achieving the same profitability. < lecoms and Comarch Self Care products. technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 29 Comarch Product Catalog as the key aspect of Service Delivery Platform The challenge It’s all about money Service delivery platform Fast changing market demands from telecommu- Increase revenue while reducing the cost and risk The term Service Delivery Platform corresponds nication service providers to respond on changes of creating new services it’s not only a challenge, to the architecture style used in an operator’s almost immediately. These changes can be grow- but a permanent sticker on the wall. While income infrastructure. It is intended to enable rapid devel- ing customer requirements as well as competitor’s depends on market and marketing actions, costs opment and deployment of new converged mul- innovations. Most often change does not mean are more dependent on procedures, tools and timedia services, from very basic to very com- that an operator needs to use the newest tech- execution of services. Lunching new a product on plex. SDP focuses on both consumer and business nology, instead just deliver new value to the cus- the market takes from 1 to 18 months. This time applications. tomer using existing infrastructure and services. can be significantly reduced with a flexible and There are two approaches for a SDP. First, is In this case it may be a combination of existing efficient service delivery platform. a fully integrated platform that includes all key services or new pricing model. elements required to: develop, create, launch and nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 30 > Solutions & Products figure 1 Service Delivery Platform key components Service Delivery Paltform Service Creation Environment Execution Environment Integration Environment Media Control Presence / Location figure 2 Comarch Product Catalog – specification of product Nokia N95 screen adjusting their offers. Products inheritance, copy of product specification and inheritance of character- istics form products category and so on… these are simple basic features that should be implemented in the product catalogue to speed up products creation. Versioning of products and offers is a next feature which can be useful during mainte- nance and products evolution. To support product description, it may be useful to attach some doc- uments (graphics, texts, emails,). Product catalog should store complete information about particu- lar products and its offers; this also includes what services are used to realize such products. This information can be used for provisioning appli- cation to activate required service when product will be contracted. Most challenging functionality in a product catalog can be pricing of products and exchange information about rating mechanism with bill- ing systems. It is a good approach to have one central point for product definition in the whole infrastructure. Instead of having a module of product catalogs in CRM, billing, provisioning or any other applica- maintain products/services as well as contract it nance of products and their offers. In practice, this tion, it would be great to have this module pulled to customer, create bills and generate reports. The means that it should support the whole lifecycle before the bracket. First obvious benefit is that second approach is to combine SDP with elements of product and offer definition. Product catalog we can define a product only once in one system from independent providers. This solution can be should allow operators to configure new products not in many systems. This is an area where we can better adjusted to an operator’s business, but inte- fast and easily. Short time of new product creation save time off product development. Data coher- gration here is more complex. and less money spent - this is where costs can be ence is the next issue. While having many mod- reduced. Especially for huge operators which have ules where we have to define products we have Product Catalog a wide portfolio or where the portfolio is chang- many opportunities to make mistakes entering One of the applications from a service creation ing all the time, the functionalities provided by data (human error) – that leads to data inconsis- environment is the product catalog. This applica- product catalog are crucial. These operators use tency which can generate incorrect bills and poten- tion is used for creation (definition) and mainte- product catalog all the time creating, modifying or tial loss of income. technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Solutions & Products < 31 figure 3 Comarch Product Catalog and Comarch Service Catalog in operators infrastructure Other systems Comarch Product Catalog Pre paid billing Vouchers Products and offers data Generic and complete products and offer data Products and offers data CRM Product lifecycle management Logistics Products and offers data Integration bus (OSS/J, JMS,..) Products and offers data Warehouse Products and offers data Loyality Comarch Service Catalog Products and offers data Commisioning Services Inventory Products and offers data ERP Network Resources Inventory Products and offers data ERP Mediation & Reconciliation Products and offers data NETWORK Comarch Product Catalog is a central product nificant reduction of development time. Average and offer repository. It’s the master database of time reduction for product development is 40%. products and offers for all other systems. More This result depends on types of products. For sim- system’s integrated with a product catalog result ilar products and for simple ones this time reduc- in better utilization of implemented functional- tion is much higher. ities. CPC supports product definition and main- tenance through the full lifecycle of a product. It The conclusion is a key element of the service delivery platform. It is not difficult to notice that in a challenging mar- Being crucial in process of delivery values to end ket where changes are made very fast it’s impor- customers. By using one central point of creation tant to have a lead on competitors or at least fol- and modification it is possible to decrease not only low closely. In such struggles it’s a huge advantage the cost of product development but also costs of to have infrastructure ready for fast changes. One infrastructure. Operator pays only once for prod- of the applications most important and most often uct catalog which is used by other applications used in such cases is the product catalog. There Adam Gowin and does not have to spend money on many prod- are hard requirements against such an application uct catalogs in other systems. This may seam a bit to be able to manage a product development life- Comarch SA Position: BSS Product Manager naive because we have to remember about inte- cycle and speed up products creation. Also, there Department: Telecommunications gration costs, but using open standards of data are problems with such applications especially in Business Unit model (ex. SID) and integration (like OSSJ) this costs multi-country context where operator wants to use Info: Areas of interest: Master Data may be reduced to a minimum. Important benefit many currencies, languages, and other regional Management solutions and the Software of using the Comarch Product Catalog is also sig- settings. < as a Service sales model. nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 32 > Case Studies On Marrying ontologies & software Technologies MOST Project Following „Web 2.0” as a term describing the recent evolution of the Web, a new Intelligence and are flexible enough to be leveraged by other domains. In this article we introduce the Marrying Ontologies and Software Technologies Semantic Technologies The opportunities and expectations associated with Semantic Technologies were expressed by Tim term „Web 3.0” has been introduced to describe a (MOST) project that tries to improve Software En- Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web: future wave of Internet innovation. It has been asso- gineering through Semantic Technologies [MOST]. “I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] ciated at this point mostly with concepts of the Se- As a part of the project the new approach will be become capable of analyzing all the data on the mantic Web. Yet technologies that back up the new evaluated in the case study on the development of Web – the content, links, and transactions between approach stem from traditional studies on Artificial solutions based on Comarch OSS Suite. people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Case Studies < 33 figure 1 MOST project building blocks Marrying Ontology and Software Technology Case Studies from Telecom, ERP, Information systems Reasoning Process Traceability Technology Guidance Integrated Metamodel Queries Transformations useful information using cognitive decision-mak- plexity of products, shortened development cycles, ing ability, emulating human beings. and heightened expectations of quality has created The currently used standard for publishing web major challenges at all stages of the software life- information, HTML, is still incapable of defining rela- cycle. To respond to these requirements, various tionships among data. Rather, it provides merely for software-engineering methodologies have been the presentation of information. Therefore in order used to capture information concerning require- for web documents to be able to be processed by ments, architecture, design, implementation and a machine, a layer of semantic information needs testing. The majority of such methodologies pro- to be added over the existing web content. Web mote the usage of models to capture and main- Ontology Language (OWL) is a language to classify tain that information. A prominent example is the web content using a standard hierarchical catego- conceptualization of business entities that exist in rization scheme. Resource Description Framework the system domain in class diagrams available in (RDF) is a data modeling framework that can be Unified Modeling Language (UML). considered as a knowledge representation format. SPARQL Protocol and RDF Query Language (SPARQL) Although creating models improved the under- is an RDF query language that facilitates extracting standing of the software systems, it imposes extra information from the web where content is rep- overhead to maintain the models created at dif- resented using RDF. Together, these technologies ferent stages of the software lifecycle since their provide the means to annotate web content with content needs to be eventually transformed manu- meta-data and then help extract the required infor- ally into code. The models are only blueprints that mation by identifying the nature of the content. can guide developers during the implementation phase, thus they may not reflect precisely the sys- should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but Model Driven Software tems running. Moreover, as the system evolves, the when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, Development changes made in code are usually not transformed bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled Model-driven software development (MDSD, often to the models thus leading to unsynchronized arti- by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent referred to as Model-Driven Architecture – MDA) is facts which significantly reduces the value of the agents’ people have touted for ages will finally an emerging technology that promises to introduce models in the maintenance phase of the software materialize.” [SW] significant efficiencies and rigor to the theory and lifecycle. Thus, Semantic Web is the next generation web practice of software development. In large soft- MDSD provides the means for separating the where machines can read web pages and extract ware development organizations, increased com- business and implementation aspects of software nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 34 > Case Studies figure 2 Model driven development of TMf/NGOSS compliant OSS Computation Platform Independent Model Independent Model Service Providers View Service Developers View Technology Business Capabilities, System Capabilities, Neutral View Constaints & Context Constaints & Context BUSINESS SySTEM DEPLOyMENT IMPLEMETATION Technology Deployment Capabilities, Implementetions Capabilities, Specific View Constaints & Context Constaints & Context Platform Running System Specific Model Automated tool support based on MDA at different levels of abstraction and is therefore Marrying ontologies and MDSD ing complex business related concepts at a high a key for the efficient development of large and However, as MDSD constitutes a huge leap forward level of abstraction. complex software systems for a heterogeneous in software development, the fragmentation of the Thus the main objective of the MOST project is customer community. In this approach, models involved models on different abstraction levels, to develop a seamless integration technology for are the artifacts that directly lead to the running difficult configuration and customization, and the ontologies into MDSD, resulting in ontology-driven system. To achieve this, MDSD promotes frequent corresponding loss of oversight and understand- software development (ODSD). This integration usage of automatic transformations that may gen- ing still imply a tremendous effort for the software technology concerns all artifacts involved (ontol- erate platform specific models and code from plat- developer. Key questions, such as the validity of the ogy and modeling languages, models, tools), as form or computation independent models. models, the relationship between the models and well as development processes in order to guide In the context of Operation Support Systems, code, and the properties of model transformations the developers in their activities. MDSD has already been noted as a promising cannot be answered by today’s technology. approach in line with the efforts of such bodies Yet we face the opportunity to Leverage MDSD Comarch involvement in the as TMForum. Both TMF/NGOSS and OMG/MDA are with ontology technology. Ontology technology project aimed at providing benefits to the business lead- allows for managing, integrating and validating The main role for Comarch, the coordinator of ers and development communities through tech- information found in different software models the MOST project, is to provide a case study for nology neutral architecture, i.e. architecture that is and code. Ontologies enable the developer to ask MOST technology. This involves both evaluating sustainable through technology changes [TMF]. crucial questions and check the validity across the research results and providing industrial use model fragments and process steps. In addition, cases that reflect the real life challenges of large the expressiveness of ontologies allows for record- scale software development. technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Case Studies < 35 figure 3 The idea of the Comarch case study within MOST Software Integrated Metadata Product Line Overview Management Software Development Process Customized Product The case study will cover the area of large scale Conclusion Operation Support System development. Comarch MOST is a proposal for early innovation in the field has already formulated well established develop- leading to more efficient and higher-quality soft- ment methodology for systems in the ware development with a better integrated under- Comarch OSS Suite product line, including the standing of the resulting software product. The usage of model driven methods. The intent of the MOST project can deliver fundamental results that case study will be to use these existing sources as can be leveraged by European software vendors to a starting point and to adopt MOST technological improve the quality of software products, produc- advancement to increase productivity, time to mar- tivity of the developer teams as well as the time to ket, and software quality. market for customized solutions. < References: Partners: [SW] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semantic_Web Technische Universität Dresden (Germany), [TMF] TMF White Paper on NGOSS and MDA University Koblenz–Landau (Germany), [MOST] www.most-project.eu SAP AG (Germany), Project: The University of Aberdeen (United Kingdom), MOST – Marrying Ontology and Software Technology BOC Information Systems GmbH (Austria), Project coordinator: Comarch SA (Poland). Krzysztof Miksa Duration: Krzysztof Miksa Comarch SA February 1, 2008 – January 31, 2011 E-mail: krzysztof.miksa@comarch.com Program: Comarch SA Position: Project Manager Technical coordinator assistant: ICT – Information and Communication Department: OSS Research & Development Prof. Uwe Assmann Technologies Info: He has been a part of Comarch’s Tel- Technische Universität Dresden further information: co Department for 5 years with expertise E-mail: uwe.assmann@tu-dresden.de Project website: http://www.most-project.eu in the development of OSS systems. Coordinator of the MOST project. nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 36 > Case Studies MANGO – Eureka/Celtic project The Comarch OSS Suite as a Management Platform for Next Generation Optical Networks technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • Case Studies < 37 Optical networks physical (optical) impairment constraint in Rout- Optical communications technologies have ing and Wavelength Assignment (RWA). Due to emerged as a key enabler of broadband network- the lack of electrical regeneration, and due to ing solutions for residential and enterprise custom- the evolution towards the scenario where optical ers. The amount of raw bandwidth available on an signals are routed, added/dropped, multiplexed, optical fibre, the support of a wide array of signal and de-multiplexed in the optical layer, optical formats and data rates, and the ability to choose signal impairments may accumulate along a light- from among a number of topologies (ring, mesh, path. Thus, it is required to offer rapid connection point-to-point, tree, etc) make optical technologies provisioning tools that take into account physi- a strategic component in the evolution of core and cal impairments when performing Routing and access networks. Furthermore, the introduction Wavelength Assignment (RWA). of flexibility in the optical layer has the potential to provide significant cost reductions, in particu- The majority of the aforementioned challenges lar when using all-optical switching techniques. can be solved by management software allowing Advances in optical technology enable the evolu- management of the heterogeneous optical net- tion of optical networks towards all-optical net- works. Currently available platforms are devel- works that are capable of providing lightpaths as oped mainly by companies producing optical net- optical circuits for e.g. virtual private networks or work equipment. They are designed to manage other services. only their specific optical network’s elements. A However, the benefits of optical networking do number of different management platforms are not come without several associated challenges. required in cases where the network is composed > (D)WDM networks are able to transport hundreds of heterogeneous components. Our approach con- of wavelength channels (lightpaths) through a siders network management from a service man- single optical fiber with, say, 10 Gbps at each light- agement perspective that is not limited to a par- path. Advanced cabling technologies group sev- ticular manufacturer. eral hundred optical fibers in a single cable. As a result, a cable cut may cause the interruption of MANGO Project a huge number of digital connections and a tre- In order to challenge the abovementioned issue mendous loss of data. Therefore, fast fault recov- concerning optical network management Comarch, ery mechanisms and proper fault management together with international partners (operators, a in the optical networks are crucial. The recovery research institute, an SME and universities – listed mechanisms can be implemented in several net- below), conduct the Eureka/Celtic project Manage- work layers. However, in order to ensure short ment Platform for Next Generation Optical Net- recovery times and to avoid conflicts caused by works (MANGO). One of the goals of the MANGO simultaneous actions at more than one network project is to perform and evaluate a pilot of an layer, the interactions between the layers need integrated network management platform for next to be well associated, and appropriate recovery generation optical networks. The pilot is based processes and actions need to be defined. on the already available Comarch OSS integrated > Monitoring of the performance parameters in management platform, which combines several optical networks differs from monitoring in “tra- functionalities of the management system (Fault ditional” telecommunications networks. Services Management, Performance Management, Service given by the optical layer (optical circuits, Virtual Management, Circuit Management, Configuration Private Networks (VPNs), etc.) in all-optical trans- Management and others) that will be expanded to parent networks require a revised approach of be used for that purpose. Quality of Service (QoS) management and moni- Particular emphasis in work related with the toring, as the set of parameters that need to be pilot is put on automated fault and performance taken into account includes optical signal qual- management, management of optical connections, ity indicators (e.g. power level, noise, polarization and complex Quality of Service (QoS) management. mode dispersion (PMD), etc.). Management of optical connections includes > The main advantage of all-optical networks is path engineering that takes into consideration their transparency to bit rate and traffic format, the physical aspects and characteristics of opti- which reduces the need for costly transmitters cal links in transparent domains such as optical and receivers. However, the absence of electronic signal impairments. Fault and Performance man- regenerators in transparent all-optical mesh net- agement includes monitoring of the parameters works imposes a need to take into account the in optical networks, from the pure physical level nr 2/2008 (08)
  • 38 > Case Studies figure 1 MANGO testbed in Acreo figure 2 Comarch OSS Suite up to the high level QoS Service Level Agreement Project outcome > Royal Institute of Technology, KTH, (Sweden) – Univer- (SLA) parameters. The pilot in the Operator’s net- To address the above-mentioned needs, MANGO sity contributing expertise in fault management work environment will be used for tests and evalu- will produce a number of innovations: and reliability issues in optical networks. ation of the Management Platform. > Fault and performance management software > Comarch (Poland) – Industrial partner – Project for next generation optical networks, featur- coordinator – contributing both experience of ing all optical switching technologies and inte- network management and the Comarch OSS grated data switching capabilities. Suite management platform. > Algorithms for cost-efficient allocation of light- path connections in optical networks, taking Business relevance into account the signal quality constraints. Successful deployment of manageable and cost- > Specification of efficient rules for alarm fault efficient optical networks is of utmost importance correlation and propagation across layers. for accelerating the adoption of broadband tech- > Integration of the management software, algo- nologies. Investments in this area should not be rithms and fault correlation rules into a fully directed only towards the physical network infra- equipped testbed. structure building blocks, but also towards the software environment required for the smooth Project Consortium operation of such networks, so that service pro- The MANGO Project Consortium consists of the viders can transfer all the benefits brought by following partners: optical technologies to their customers. > TeliaSonera (Sweden) – Telco operator contribut- About Celtic ing experience in operating optical networks Celtic is a European research and development and network test environments. program, established as a Eureka cluster, to > Proximion (Sweden) – SME contributing experience strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in telecom- and knowledge in optical performance monitor- munications through short and medium term col- ing, and with an already existing Optical Perfor- laborative R&D projects. Celtic is currently the only mance Management (OPM) system, WISTOM. European R&D program fully dedicated to end-to- > Acreo (Sweden) – Research Institute and Telco end telecommunications solutions. Launched in Paweł Wiatr operator contributing experience and knowl- November 2003, Celtic (Cooperation for sustained Comarch SA edge in optical transmission that will host parts European Leadership in Telecommunications) Position: OSS Solution Manager of the evaluation of the proposed management was founded and has been supported by major Department: Telecommunications platform. European telecommunications players, both ven- Business Unit Info: Responsible for developing OSS > Warsaw University of Technology, WUT, (Poland) – Uni- dors and operators. Celtic fills the gap between solutions for Comarch customers. versity contributing research expertise in net- public R&D programs not specifically focused on work modeling, optimization and performance telecoms, and short-term R&D efforts by the tele- evaluation. coms industry. < technology review [www.comarch.com]
  • There are easier ways to share the revenue pie Comarch InterPartner Billing provides a multi-party billing functionality that fulfills the requirements for handling the revenue sharing process between business partners involved in the supply chain. The system supports many business models connected with multi-party billing: Learn more at • Interconnect Billing with support of least cost routing and reconciliation of settlement reports ipb.comarch.com • Revenue Sharing for calculating revenues and commissions for partners in the chain of Value-Added Services delivery • Roaming for handling mobile roaming and managing agreements between roaming partners. Comarch InterPartner Billing also enables professional Partner Relationship Management functionality that covers the entire settlement process for all partnerships. It includes business agreement definition, loading and rating as well as settlement generation.
  • Just sit back and relax... ... with Comarch Next Generation Service Assurance you can simply be sure that all the services in your network are working. The growing number of services and their importance for operators’ businesses means that OSS systems have never been as important as they are nowadays. Today, operators can not even think about providing services without help from the supporting systems. It is crucial to take advantage of a comprehensive Operational Support System based on the underlying fault management system that can monitor services, automatically gather events from all Learn more at possible sources and has a powerful engine to present the most relevant information. ngsa.comarch.com Our proposal is the Comarch Next Generation Service Assurance solution, based on three modules of the Comarch OSS Suite: Service Management, Fault Management and OSS Process Management. Thanks to a highly efficient event correlation engine, the solution provides the ability to monitor complex services, track problems’ root causes in an auto- mated way, and most importantly, resolve incidents through structured processes. More- over, seamless integration of all Comarch solution components with 3rd party software is realized through OSS/J interfaces. As a result, we get an OSS system offering us all the advantages of service assurance in a single convergent application.