TM Forum collaboration projects deliver pragmatic solutions for open APIs, the Internet of Everything and network virtualization

Via TM Forum Press & News

Dec 19, 2016

Leading communications service providers and vendors from around the world collaborate to drive innovation and accelerate digital business transformation

MORRISTOWN, NJ—December 19 , 2016— TM Forum, the global industry association for digital business, today announced the release of a number of key new member assets, including a blueprint for a hybrid network management platform, 13 new Open APIs enabling seamless interoperability, innovative Internet of Everything (IoE) solutions and more. The release of these features marks the completion of TM Forum’s latest cycle of member-driven collaboration projects, and are comprised within the latest update of its industry-leading Frameworx standards and best practices for digital business operations to version 16.5.

“All TM Forum members can now leverage new toolkits, best practices, maturity models, guides and technical reports to help them tackle the most pressing challenges their businesses are facing,” said Nik Willetts, deputy CEO, TM Forum. “Whether you’re looking to transform your networks to achieve business and IT agility, drive true customer centricity, or drive growth through new platform business models, TM Forum members are working together to deliver pragmatic, real-world solutions.”

Open API Program

TM Forum’s Open API collaborative team has delivered their largest suite of deliverables to date. Building on the release of the new API crowd sourcing template in June 2016, a successful Action Week event in Vancouver, and phase two of the [Open API Manifesto]( Forum Open API Manifesto.pdf), which now includes 19 of the world’s largest service providers and technology ecosystem partners, the team has delivered an additional 13 API specifications, 3 conformance profiles, test scripts and an Open API governance guidebook.

This suite significantly extends the automated capabilities in the areas of product, service and resource management, such as ordering, inventory, catalog and test management. New APIs have also been delivered in the areas of prepay balance management, loyalty management and change management, bringing the total number of available Open APIs to 31.

Given the overarching value relating to interoperability, and driven by significant demand in the industry for the ability to self-evaluate the alignment of a company’s own implementation with standard API specifications, TM Forum members in this project have released the first conformance profiles and test scripts. These are for the Product Catalog API, Trouble Ticket API and Entity Provisioning API. Along with this, the team has developed a new API governance guidebook specifically designed to ensure consistency in this fast-growing project.

Agile Business & IT Program

TM Forum members working in the ZOOM project (Zero-touch Orchestration, Operations and Management) have completed work on the first release of a blueprint for a Hybrid Network Management platform, providing a guide to creating a management platform that meets the needs of today’s business dynamics. It also forms the foundation for a major piece of work in 2017, which will bring together multiple open source groups to demonstrate how they can be used to implement such a platform.

Another unique development is the members’ work on procuring and onboarding virtual network functions. The shift to virtualization is fundamentally changing the relationship between network operators and equipment providers, and the move to a more agile business environment featuring continuous innovation and integration requires a major transformation in the processes behind onboarding new functionality. Several of the world’s leading service providers including AT&T, China Mobile, Orange and Verizon have collaborated with technology ecosystem partners including Amdocs, Cloud Best Practices Network, EnterpriseWeb, Huawei, IBM and Oracle to provide a model-driven approach to onboarding in the award winning Catalyst proof-of-concept project: Enabling the Digital Services Marketplace with Onboarding Automation .

Focusing on the operational aspects of tomorrow’s digital businesses, TM Forum also continued its collaborative work on introducing DevOps methodologies into traditional network operations, and published a study on the impacts of working across multiple partners in such an environment. Looking forward to 2017, this work will be pulled together into a practical guide to deploying DevOps methodologies.

At the same time, TM Forum has ensured that its core frameworks, including the Business Process Framework (eTOM), Information Framework (SID), and Application Framework (TAM) models and best practices, have continued to remain at the forefront of digital business transformation. This includes a refresh of the established training courses to ensure they remain fully up-to-date with the latest uses of Frameworx for digital transformation initiatives.

The Internet of Everything (IoE) Program

TM Forum’s recently published eBook “Navigating the IoE Roadmap of Challenges: Insights and opinions for digital businesses” provides a reference listing of the top 20 business, technology and market challenges facing all companies in the digital economy. From this comprehensive and pragmatic list, TM Forum’s IoE Program is prioritizing work on Trust and Monetization, two key factors in the management of complex IoE projects with an increasingly multifaceted risk to reward ratio.

The Catalyst project, Smart life: My home, my city, my planet , recently demonstrated the foundation for an agile IoE ecosystem at TM Forum’s Innovation InFocus conference. Major network operators Orange and NTT championed the proof-of-concept project with participants including Amdocs, BearingPoint / Infonova, BaseN, ESRI and NTS Retail to demonstrate how to deliver a broad range of smart digital services (such as temperature sensors in cars and buildings, personal wearable devices, air monitoring units and more) and how different vertical domains can be interconnected into a seamless service bundle that will have direct impact on our carbon footprint.

Privacy and data protection are imperative to anyone collecting, processing or storing data that relates to individuals. The issue is all the more relevant given the exponential increase in the volume of data generated across digital ecosystems, combined with an increased demand for privacy both from individuals (for whom it impacts their trust in an organization or service) and from governments (frequently underpinned by legislation and penalties such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation). For that reason, the Digital Services Reference Architecture (DSRA) has been enhanced with a new Privacy management service definition which, for the first time, provides privacy management support across the DSRA and introduces the Privacy Management API.

The widely successful TR211 Online B2B2X Partnering Step-by-Step Guide and TR424 B2B2X Business Scenario Template have been extended with invaluable new sections on monetization and the platform economy so that they integrate key platform concepts with the business, contractual, financial and operational models defined in these tools. Applying TM Forum’s best practices in these guides enhances the ability of producers and consumers in the platform economy to add value to their interactions.

Customer Centricity & Analytics Program

The pressure on CIOs to leverage analytics for business innovation has never been higher. As service providers research and prioritize their analytics investments, the newly published TM Forum Big Data Analytics Guidebook includes a new automated toolkit for data analytics maturity to provide a starting point for assessing an organization’s current state and identifying opportunities for closing critical analytics gaps.

Service providers have been capturing vast quantities of transactional data from their traditional operational support systems (OSS). These systems have been made more robust and scalable through the application of TM Forum’s Information Framework (SID). Unique big data requirements and the need for rapid service provider business insight has driven the need for an enhanced big data dictionary. Service providers have led the development of the latest enhancement of the Analytics Big Data Repository (ABDR) which addresses critical domains such as the customer and billing.

The Catalyst project that won Best in Show at the recent TM Forum Live! Asia conference was Cognitive Digital Agent . This proof-of concept project, championed by Globe Telecom and supported by industry participants Amdocs, Huawei and Infosys, demonstrated how to create the next generation of customer care services through machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies.

Improving customer experience is a top business priority for companies pursuing digital transformation according to a study by Accenture. However, measuring customer experience is complicated and growing in complexity for service providers with multiple sales channels, automated support systems and the virtualization of networks. The GB995 Guidebook on 360 Degree view of the Customer includes a new method for outside-in scoring of customer experience. This approach to scoring helps service providers move beyond the traditional Net Promoter Score (NPS) in measuring customer sentiment.

“With the digital landscape constantly evolving, we want to ensure that our members can move with agility, tapping into best practices and industry standards that reflect where digital business stands today and where it’s going next,” continues Willetts. “Our singular focus at TM Forum is on helping our members to transform successfully to thrive in the digital world, enabling the journey from Communications Service Provider to Digital Service Provider and the ‘software-defined telco.’ This latest round of member-driven collaborative innovation is a giant step forward for our members and the industry as whole.”

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