Have you noticed the different races being run in OSS?

Yesterday’s blog discussed innovation at the speed of data being even faster than innovation at the speed of software. But not all aspects of OSS need to evolve at the sames speeds.

In the Olympics, sprinters need fast-twitch muscles and training to hone for speed, whilst marathon runners need slow-twitch muscles and appropriate training for endurance. The same appears to be true in OSS, with the two business model extremes – OTT / DSP (Over the Top or DSP) versus REIT / TaaU (Telco as a Utility) and anywhere in between (or a combination of the two extremes – the decathlete OSS??).

The OTT / DSP model requires transient networks and services, with virtualised infrastructure being spun up and torn down to cope with demand. They’re provisioned for burst capacity and a customer expectation of speedy outcomes. In this model there’s arguably just as much happening within the data centre* as there is out in the field, if not more. This model requires the sprinter OSS and a corresponding mindset of innovation (fast-twitch innovation).

Conversely, the REIT / TaaU model doesn’t change as much, although there is always maintenance and build-out going on. Customers know the physical nature of this network build (ie planning, approvals, truck-rolls, etc) is more methodical and time-consuming. At this juncture in history, not much is changing in the physical network, as we’re still using optical fibres, copper, radio and coax (not taking into account changes in the active equipment that plugs into these networks like G.Fast or topology innovations like FTTPdp). There are improvements to be made in the user interfaces of the OSS that support this type of business model to support designers, the field workforce, a contractor-based workforce, etc but generally the marathoner OSS needs more of an efficiency improvement mindset (slow-twitch innovation). This is a model that’s built around physical assets / inventory.

* as an aside, you may have been noticing that the traditional CSPs have been increasingly outsourcing their data centre capacity requirements, which appears to be a clever ploy on so many levels. Since the assets being used are often not directly managed, the concept of owning and managing the assets / inventory becomes more abstracted, meaning the OTT / DSP model of OSS becomes less dependent on inventory and more reliant on its ability to orchestrate services through any number of cloud providers.

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