“I love when things are transparent, free and clear of all inhibition and judgement.”
Free fields are often your get out of jail free cards when modelling data in an OSS. They allow you to create the linking keys between domains that would not otherwise exist, where relationships could otherwise not exist.
For example, say you have multiple different vendor sub-networks within your network. Each of the vendors have their own EMS (Element Management System) and each is only able to trace a circuit through their part of the network. Each vendor uses their own naming convention so there is no consistent circuit name end-to-end through the different sub-networks.
But by taking the time to load a consistent circuit ID in the free fields of each vendor’s data model, it is possible to create an end-to-end relationship between all of the different vendors’s data sets.
This is one of many examples for why free fields are so important for a data modeller.
If the vendor’s data set is based on an object-oriented model, you can add your own free-fields to store the linking keys you need.
When performing vendor product evaluations, ensure that you have multiple free fields if possible within your EMS, NMS, OSS, etc. They may provide the key to establishing highly valuable data relationships in the future.