Enabling Service Provider Transformation Through the Cloud

Editor’s note – May 25, 2011 –
The section below about developments being highlighted at this year’s show was updated after initial publication.

DUBLIN, Ireland – May 24, 2011 – TM Forum’s Management World event provides all of us in the industry with an open forum to discuss and debate the challenges in telecoms and how working to common goals and standards can help the industry as a whole work better together. This time round – in Dublin for the first time – the main debate is how to manage the transformation from service provider to innovative service enabler.

Microsoft is an active member of the TM Forum. At a leadership level we are Executive Board and Executive committee members; we have been involved in many catalyst projects with partners; and we are both a consumer and a vendor of TMF standards and services. But more than this, Microsoft is a major cloud service provider with a wealth of experience in using, managing and selling cloud services. Almost all of Microsoft’s products and services have evolved to take advantage of the cloud – Office 365, Windows Azure, Windows Live and Xbox Live are examples of how the cloud is central to our offerings across business and consumer markets.

This puts us at the very heart of the TM Forum debate: how will the cloud enable the transformation to innovative service enabler?

We believe that service providers can deliver enhanced user experiences through hybrid cloud models and that Microsoft is poised to play a significant role in helping our operator channel partners offer new innovative services to their customer and manage the resources that they are exposing to the cloud. We approach this in three steps: 1, deliver cloud services in partnership with operators; 2, directly offer and manage our own cloud services leveraging industry best practices to fully enable hybrid cloud service interoperability with Microsoft Channel Partners; 3, use our experience to help our operator partners manage their cloud services and infrastructures as well.

Cloud services have to be viable at every step of the value chain if they are going to be consumed easily by the end user. This requires standards to be put in place so that customer care, provisioning/configuration, service assurance and charging/billing/settlement all work seamlessly end-to-end. With so many partners involved throughout the ecosystem of cloud services, the role of the TM Forum is vital in ensuring that these standards are defined and evolve as the cloud becomes more predominant.

One example of this is Microsoft’s work on a TMF Catalyst Project with SAPO, the web services division of Portugal Telecom, which is fuelling growth of new services revenues by enabling third party innovation. In short, SAPO developed a broker service for Service Providers, based on Microsoft technology, deployable on Windows Private Cloud or Windows Azure, to create new content, mash-ups and interactive applications that work across mobile, TV or the web. Telcordia has exposed Real-Time Charging and OSS services via the SAPO SDB that are used in mobile device applications. The project is a blueprint for the industry in opening up the development of new services to third parties and thereby opening up new revenue opportunities. More information on the project can be found here and via a Microsoft blog here.

BSS/OSS is also an area where Microsoft is focused on partnering with the TM Forum and a breadth of industry leading ISVs and SIs in order to deliver solutions that support service provider transformation.

Developments being highlighted at this year’s show include:

As a supporter of the TM Forum’s role in developing industry best practices and standards, Microsoft has been leveraging the TM Forum’s Frameworx for internal operational IT processes and systems. Microsoft is currently going through the process of TM Forum Frameworx conformance certification of the Microsoft “Business Analytics Solution Accelerator for Telcos”. When completed, this solution will enable service providers to speed new customer-focused business intelligence capabilities to market.

Says the TM Forum’s George Greenlee, Senior VP Product Management, “Microsoft is an organization with many enabling technologies and touchpoints across the global telecoms ecosystem, and its focus on Frameworx conformance is therefore important and hugely welcome. As TM Forum’s flagship suite of standards, Frameworx enables CSPs to deliver innovative new services more rapidly and drive new revenue streams in the face of the rapidly changing value chains and technologies that characterize our market landscape.”

To assist service providers with their business transformation, Convergysis introducing a comprehensive BSS solution that improves billing processes, customer service, and time-to-market for new revenue-generating services. Convergys CRM, powered by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, will help your business to market more effectively, improve productivity, and gain actionable insights to enhance the customer experience and your customer relationship marketing campaigns.

As you can see, Microsoft is actively engaged with key industry players in creating a ‘Service Provider Cloud’ and focused on optimizing a broad range of cloud services for the operator channel. The TM Forum is playing a critical role in defining how we deliver cloud services, manage our own cloud services and help our service provider partners to manage their cloud services. From defining standards through to service innovation and deploying cloud services, Microsoft believes that the key to success is through a partnership model.

Microsoft is on booth 46 at TMF from 23-26 May 2011.

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