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Service providers surveyed recently by European Communications on behalf of Netcracker report seamless hybrid orchestration, unified service design, real-time network discovery and analytics-driven planning as the top four OSS priorities in the move to SDN and NFV.
While this finding is telling on its own, its alignment with survey responses regarding BSS priorities is especially notable. The correlation of certain key characteristics reveals important points about current thinking within the service provider community. These common characteristics include:
Roughly 90 percent of those surveyed say seamless orchestration is very important or critical to SDN and NFV deployment. In the BSS domain, seamlessness is a priority for 83 percent of service providers, particularly relating to partner management and settlement functions as an integrated component of end-to-end, convergent BSS.
Approximately 60 percent of respondents say a centralized catalog is an OSS priority, while 70 percent prioritize centralized catalog for BSS as key to accelerating time to market.
Policy-driven service fulfillment is an OSS priority for 67 percent of service provider, while 65 percent prioritize policy-driven BSS as a means to enable differentiated charging.
Big data functionality to enable instant network planning and capacity management is an OSS priority for 67 percent of service providers. Sixty percent report that analytics integrated into BSS is needed to deliver personalized offers and services.
Real-time capabilities are central to enabling on-demand, dynamic virtualization capabilities. In the OSS domain, 76 percent of service providers note that real-time capabilities are a priority for automating network topology discovery and reconciliation. Meanwhile, 77 percent of service providers report real-time transaction management is a priority for BSS.
Though OSS and BSS are often managed by distinct groups within service providers' organizations, the growing alignment in their priorities reflects an evolving, end-to-end view of organizational functions and integrated BSS-OSS capabilities.
As these less disparate sides of the house collaborate better, it increases the chances of developing effective business cases that executive leaders will embrace and approve. It increases the chance of success in hybrid and virtualized environments, which in turn will help service providers become more competitive in the digital service marketplace.
It is arguable that virtualization may catalyze the increasing convergence of BSS and OSS. The sometimes heated debate over whether this convergence should occur often focused on which group should own policy management. Traditionally, network organizations claimed ownership of policy because it is crucial to network functions. Billing organizations, on the other hand, claimed ownership because policy management enabled billing groups to fulfill demands coming from Marketing groups and the marketplace itself. As service providers transform into software-driven organizations, often with virtualization as the vanguard, the traditional distinctions between BSS and OSS become less relevant, particularly from a customer-centric point of view.
As BSS and OSS come together, or at the very least align around common characteristics like real-time capabilities, policy-driven functions, centralized catalogues and big data integration, the result should be to enable service providers to embrace agile methodologies, accelerate time-to-market for new services, improve end-to-end customer experience and compete more effectively as digital service providers.
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