Major Players From Telecom, Cable & Media Send Clear Message to Market

CIOs, CTOs and other senior executives from many of the world’s largest telecom, cable and media companies, held a summit meeting at the TeleManagement World conference here and agreed to work together to accelerate the availability of key management standards.

The goal of the group is to ensure suppliers are clear on what they need – and when – so as to ensure there is a ready supply of ‘off the shelf’ management software that is easier to integrate and faster to deploy.

Executives from the following companies participated in the Summit:

* AT&T

* BT

* China Mobile

* France Telecom/Orange

* NTT

* Reliance Communications

* Telecom Italia

* Telekom Austria

* TeliaSonera

* Telstra

* Time Warner Cable

* UPC Broadband

* Virgin Group

* Vodafone

“The advent of triple and quad-play offerings plus new entertainment and information services are creating complex value chains which are ever changing,” explained Keith Willetts, Chairman and CEO of the TM Forum. “To drive world-class customer service at low cost the touch points between different companies have to be standardized and automated. If they are not, new services will be too costly to operate and take too long to get to market.”

“In today’s market, we simply don’t have the time or resources to deploy software that does not integrate quickly and easily,” said Phil Dance, CIO at BT. “We’re talking about areas where there is no competitive advantage to doing it differently. The standards exist and the TM Forum Prosspero program ensures those standards are easy to adopt. Now is the time for the Service Providers to send a clear signal that standards based management systems are in everyone’s best interest and an unequivocal requirement that will drive our future behaviour.”

The cost of integrating systems serves as a hidden tax – at least 5x the value of the software costs. If service providers have to hand-craft each interface to every system, not only is it wasteful, it hinders their ability to focus resources on things that are more valuable to their customers.

The Prosspero Initiative builds on existing standards for service provider business processes and systems, but moves beyond the basic standards definition by focusing on making implementation as easy as possible. It offers clear implementation guides, downloadable reference software implementations, test tools, training and even an online help community for developers.

In using Prosspero as a vehicle to drive rapid adoption of interface standards, the group will also investigate the creation of an industry reference lab where the inter-working of application software can be tested in a real network environment. “The existence of a industry reference lab will help remove some of the ambiguity surrounding whether interfaces really work, and will also act as a ‘sandbox’ for service providers and vendors to test out new concepts,” explained Mark Francis, VP of Enterprise Architecture, AT&T.

The group’s next steps are to prioritize which interface standards are most critically needed by the industry and to explore how to work in partnership with the supply side of the industry to move the reference lab from concept to reality.