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Friday, November 25, 2005

How IMS and SDP fits within the wider OSS/BSS chain

I got an email yesterday from a practitioner working in the OSS space. He said:

“Thanks for a very interesting newsletter [October Edition of the 'IMS Insider' Report– subscribe at www.ims-insider.com]
. I would be interested to see more coverage of how SDPs and IMS relate to the rest of the OSS world, in particular how they overlap or complement such areas as inventory, activation and service assurance.”

In response I thought we should start by thinking about the evolution of IP based services and supporting systems.


Open Source platforms and specific developer communities have been successful in commoditizing horizontal markets with specific programs, services and solutions. Examples include web and enterprise application markets. IMS has the potential to create a horizontal market for IP communications. It is intended to not only provide top tier Operators with a more cost effective platform, but also to enable economies of scale by letting thousands of small vendors participate in a way that adds market value to their particular focus areas.

As a simple example, in the e-commerce space pioneers like eBay and Amazon promoted the idea of commoditizing basic services in order to open up a much larger and wider volume market of small vendors. Functionality for personalized web presence, online payment, shopping carts, bidding, and product marketing became available at very low cost. This allowed new ideas to be tried quickly with minimal risk. As a result there was a boom in e-commerce sites (some survived, some didn’t). This rapid turnover translated into greater levels of competition, greater innovation and dramatic improvements in quality of online services. The bottom line was that consumers became increasingly confident about online shopping - from books and gadgets to cars to even homes – as did B2B businesses in terms of online procurement and supply chain/demand chain management.

These trends from the internet are becoming increasingly required in the telecoms world where services are seen to be the future driver of revenues rather than voice minutes.

For Telco Operators, Service Delivery Platforms (SDP’s) are the current answer to enabling rapid deployment of services to customers in a controlled manner. As such an SDP sits squarely in the Services Layer of an Operator as per the e-TOM model [the industry standard roadmap/approach towards Next Gen OSS], with some overlap into the Service Coordination and Access Control areas, (see figure 1 below). Advanced or ‘Open SDPs’ (like those being developed by Sun Microsystems) can be seen to work seamlessly with IMS to support future dynamic convergent services, which will need to be created in the same sort of innovative environment as the internet world (as per figure 2 below).












ERP, CRM, SCM, Billing etc (“OSS/BSS”) are part of the enterprise logistics and customer care chain and, as such, are complemented by IMS and SDP. Direct links into the SDP process are made via systems such as mySAP ERP, mySAP CRM, or Sun Microsystems’ Access Manager, or Identity Manager (www.sun.com/identity). As each Operator has a somewhat different system and strategy in this area we can say, in general, that these systems are normally accessed via the SCAC or Control layer in figure 1 above.























We will be going into this issue in more detail as part of a wider debate on creating a ‘Killer Environment’ for IP-based service delivery in future editions of the IMS Insider Report. We also have a more slides, case studies and data on SDP, NGOSS and IMS structures/architectures, which are available to subscribers of the IMS Insider Service. You can subscribe at www.ims-insider.com.

In the meantime, please email me with any comments and thoughts on this topic –
editor@ims-insider.com.





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