TM Forum and MEF align APIs to drive faster industry growth

Digital Transformation World Series, London, UK — TM Forum and MEF today announced the alignment of their API standards in order to automate B2B services and provide end-users with a similar buying experience to cloud providers. Backed by demand from global communications service providers (CSPs) including Orange and Vodafone, the alignment of the APIs will help CSPs speed service delivery and improve ROI.

TM Forum’s collaborative work with MEF reflects TM Forum’s broad commitment to making Open APIs a universal digital standard, aligning with other industry organizations to ensure common approaches that will benefit the entire telecoms ecosystem and beyond.

Today, CSPs spend about $90 billion each year on IT, according to TM Forum’s research (“Time to Kill the RFP?”). On top of that, the process of selecting and procuring software alone costs the industry approximately $1 billion per year. To help reduce costs and improve time-to-market, forward-thinking CSPs today require standardized Open APIs as part of their RFPs.

Laurent Leboucher, Vice President, Customer Relation Solutions and Architecture, Orange, said, “We are changing the way we procure software solutions, and APIs are a key part of that procurement process. If you plug a solution into our software stack, TM Forum Open APIs are a must-have. With MEF and TM Forum now aligned, it’s a win-win for us and vendors alike.”

Lester Thomas, Chief Systems Architect, Vodafone, echoed this comment. “When it comes to SD-WAN and Ethernet products, they must be MEF and TM Forum compatible,” he said. “By having the two organizations working together to ease the process, we are able to speed our procurement, transform our IT and roll out services faster and more cost-effectively.”

**Aligning the Open APIs ** TM Forum’s 50+ REST-based Open APIs have been collaboratively developed to be used in a range of scenarios, internally enabling service providers to transform their IT and operational agility and customer centricity, while externally delivering a practical approach to seamless end-to-end management of complex, multi-party digital services.

TM Forum and MEF have agreed on measures that enable MEF LSO Sonata inter-provider APIs to conform to TM Forum Open API standards. These collaborative APIs automate business-to-business transactions between service providers for address validation, site queries, product offering qualification, product inventory, quoting, ordering, trouble ticketing, etc.

Current MEF Sonata LSO APIs enable automation of MEF 3.0 Carrier Ethernet services, but the collaborative work can be expanded to enable orchestration of MEF 3.0 SD-WAN and SASE overlay services from the network edge to the subscriber site in combination with automating the underlying connectivity services, such as Optical Transport, IP broadband, IP MPLS, Dedicated Internet Access (DIA), and 5G.

“CSPs are clear that B2B services will be critical to the success of 5G. This requires CSPs to offer enterprises access to complex solutions to business challenges. CSPs cannot do this on their own, so building out ecosystems of partners to meet the myriad needs of enterprises is essential,” said George Glass, Chief Technology Officer, TM Forum. “Open APIs are an important part of integrating partner capabilities and enabling CSPs to establish, operate and monetize platform-based business models. Both MEF and TM Forum recognized that bringing our APIs into alignment was for the good of the industry.”

“API alignment between MEF and TM Forum paves the way for members of both industry organizations to federate with confidence, and will accelerate service delivery across multiple providers,” said Pascal Menezes, Chief Technology Officer, MEF. “Automation of inter-provider services – with currently available and planned LSO APIs – ultimately opens up opportunities to offer enterprise customers on-demand, dynamic connectivity with coveted global reach.”

Vendors are also onboard with the alignment. Ignacio Más, Senior Expert and Head of Technology Strategy, Ericsson, said, “Agreeing to consistency in these important API areas will allow us to avoid duplication in the R&D process, and accelerate the pace of API adoption and delivery of business benefits for our customers.”

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