It is clear that a major transformation is required in the IT systems supporting the operations of today’s Service Providers to ensure their continued success. New capabilities that existing systems simply cannot deliver are needed just to support increased agility in their existing business models, and the desire to explore new ecosystem business models places further requirements. Some of core capabilities required include; management of hybrid resources; agile and rapid onboarding of new technology and automation.
The OSS/BSS of the future will need more than the right capabilities. It must be designed and implemented in the right way to ensure it can meet operators’ business challenges going forward. A number of core design principles will be important:
Composability – the solution will need to be very rapidly adapted to a vast range of business scenarios and use cases. To achieve this, it must be capable of being dynamically configured. Key will be strict use of standard application program interfaces (APIs) to provide clear boundaries and integration points internally to the system.
Consistent information modelling – along with the use of open APIs this is fundamental to creating a platform that can be dynamically configured.
Based on microservices – many would describe microservices as an implementation strategy, but it is very clear that microservices architectures are a powerful way to deliver the flexibility, reusability and composability that will be required.
Driven by data analytics – along with automation a consistent approach to driving all aspects of the OSS/BSS from data generated by consumers and their services needs to be designed in from the outset. The service levels and flexibility required to compete cannot be achieved with offline manual analysis and adjustment.
The Future OSS architecture is designed to provide a common digital platform for the management of hybrid networks and services, including the following domains:
Cloud/PaaS is the cloudified-based platform of the Future OSS. The Cloud/PaaS domain performs virtualisation management of storage, computing, and networking that are necessary to achieve cloudification of the Future OSS. It supports the self-management and resilience needed for a dynamic and real-time OSS by providing a platform that is distributed and can flexibly scale and heal problems.
Design Systems enables DevOps, DesignOps and model-driven design. Design Systems provides an overall idea/portfolio management and on-boarding environment. This is primarily focused on the ”front-end” creation, assembly and management of new or varied services and their dependent artefacts.
Support Systems bridges the Future OSS Design-Time and Run-Time via Resource Inventory, Catalogue (all information including policy, used for designing and automating services and resources), Policy Management, and API Management. Support Systems act as a set of common capabilities, providing the back-end management and full consistency of the design processes as well as the run-time processes (Fulfillment, Assurance and Orchestration).
Orchestration automates and accelerates all actions necessary (both cloud and legacy) to provide end-to-end service management for cost effective hybrid fulfillment and assurance. Data Collection and Analytics modules within Orchestration extend this support to allow intelligent closed loop operation. Orchestration coordinates and automates the execution of processes that complete various tasks, including configuration, monitoring, fulfillment, and assurance. However it goes beyond some generally used definitions of orchestration to include the implementation of OODA-based control loops, driven by context-based analysis of events.
Fulfillment provides the link with existing OSS/BSS (Business Support System) implementations to transform business requests into solutions. Fulfillment handles the interactions with external order processes and management of those orders. Fulfillment is comprised of: Pre-Ordering – manages order feasibility and reservations. Order Management – manages order lifecycle and tracking. This may include nonautomated actions (such as a work order for CPE installation).
Assurance ensures service quality via dynamic operations and automation of manual, time consuming tasks. Assurance provides the management of the longer-cycle and user-facing Assurance operations. Assurance is comprised of: Visualization – provides dynamic views of status, configuration and ongoing analysis. Operations – manages coordinated and collaborative Fault, Incident and Problem. Management through dynamic applications, making the link with DevOps and DesignOps.