Knitting together SDN and NFV with legacy operational support systems (OSS) has been a point of pain for most communications service providers.
Over the years, the method of operation for most communications service providers (CSPs) has been to add in another layer of OSS whenever a new service or application was launched or upgraded. Layer upon layer of legacy OSS and backoffice support systems (BSS) are throwing a wrench into CSPs virtualization efforts on their hybrid networks, and there needs to be better integration.
While legacy OSS/BSS are falling short of the virtualization mark, vendors, integrators and CSPs are working on new solutions. A recent Telco Transformation poll asked "What is the biggest driver for next-gen OSS?" The overwhelming winner in the poll, with 43% of the 40 votes, was "Real-time network and service management with flexible software." (See AT&T's Ford Talks OSS/BSS Challenges in MANO and BCE: Legacy OSS/BSS Is Good for Building Reefs.)
What Is the Biggest Driver for Next-Gen OSS?
"Increasing revenue by faster service and application rollouts" came in second at 25% while "Improving customer management" was third with 15% of the votes. The bottom-dwellers of the poll were "Reducing capex/opex" (12%) and "Introducing standardized open interfaces (5%).
While the current OSS/BSS vendor market is somewhat fragmented, according to a recent report by Transparency Market Research (TMR), the future is bullish. The global OSS/BSS system and platform market will grow from $29.11 billion last year to almost $71 billion by 2024, according to TMR.
North America had the largest level of OSS/BSS implementations last year by pulling in nearly 33% of the global market share, according to TMR. The biggest OSS/BSS drivers in North America in 2015 were primarily OSS/BSS standbys such as service assurance, revenue management, and customer management. The growing presence of telecom providers and mobile network operators in North America was also a key contributor to last year's growth in North America, according to the report.
The report also stated that the top-five OSS/BSS vendors held approximately 40% of the market last year due to low entry barriers and intense competition. The legacy OSS/BSS platforms have a number of challenges including longer process cycles, increased security concerns, and low data accuracy, according to the report.
While OSS/BSS vendors are reportedly hard at work on next-gen platforms that will do a better job of meshing with virtualized hybrid networks, there's a lack of standards and polices, according to TMR.
The TM Forum is seeking to overcome legacy OSS/BSS issues with its TM Forum Frameworx, which is working towards aligning CSPs, system integrators and equipment providers via a common set of standards and best practices.
— Mike Robuck, Editor, Telco Transformation