December 21, 2017

How to Design Services for a Digital Marketplace

The first step to building a digital marketplace is onboarding and designing the services that will be offered.

New technology, increased mobility and faster connectivity have paved the way for more instantaneous digital experiences. For service providers to meet these expectations, they must offer a digital marketplace that allows customers to browse, purchase and adjust service orders with the click of a button. The first phase in launching this type of marketplace involves onboarding virtual network functions (VNFs), defining services then creating and testing those offerings.

Before a service can be defined, providers have to onboard internal or partner VNFs. Part of the onboarding process consists of using VNF descriptors to specify what is needed for the VNFs to function in any given environment throughout its lifecycle. But, in most cases, VNFs themselves are not the services that will be offered through the marketplace. So once the VNFs are onboarded, providers must use the VNFs and their descriptors to define the services that will be delivered, as well as the KPIs associated with those offerings.

Now that the services are defined, they can be designed and modeled using Agile and DevOps techniques to accelerate the process. Establishing network service descriptors (NSDs) will provide all of the information needed to run comprehensive tests in a lab and to ensure that the services can function in various networks. Lifecycle checks should be conducted regularly, and NSDs should be updated based on the feedback from the checks.

Due to the complexity of digital services, which can be comprised of both internal and partner components, license management will play an important role. Because the virtual world consists of environments that regularly scale, license management must be dynamic and use automation to ensure that licenses don’t expire. 

To learn about what else goes into building a digital marketplace of commercially ready services, read our e-book

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