ITSM, DCIM and OSS

I like your comparison between DCIM (Data Centre Infrastructure Management) and OSS. Do you see ITSM tools as a 3rd market or do you combine this with DCIM? I believe that traditional OSS will get challenged by ITSM as the telco service portfolio at least for enterprise customers will be more and more dominated by IT services.”
Great question(s) from a subscriber named Nico Wauters of NetworkMining.

Interestingly, I see this question being as much about future business models as I do about technical considerations. More and more big industries (ie banking, mining, manufacturing, etc) are becoming heavily dependent on their Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Since the ICT is not exactly core business (ie it’s not banking or mining or manufacturing or …) for many of these organisations, the outsourcing of ICT is a potential key revenue source for CSPs to replace their traditional (legacy) revenue streams. Similarly, Data Centre services might still be ramping up now, but vanilla compute and storage are likely to continue to see diminishing profitability so more profitable revenue streams must be sought.

CSPs and DC providers have the potential to offer managed services deeper into the major corporates than they ever have before, extending beyond their traditional speeds and feeds (ie data pipes, telephony services, etc). Whilst OTT players may be taking revenue share from the CSPs, they don’t tend to have models that fit the custom needs of large enterprise. This is where CSPs and DCs should have the scale in resources, processes, etc to deliver managed IT services. Since many enterprise customers use the language of ITIL / ITSM, it means CSPs and DCs must speak it too (many already do of course).

But the big question is whether the CSPs and DCs have the systems that can easily map to ITIL / ITSM. The OSS of many large CSPs are simply too cumbersome to quickly evolve to take in ITSM terminologies, models, etc. TM Forum has released an application note (GB921L) to help its members map their eTOM processes to ITIL processes. Generally speaking, since DCIM’s are newer and more aligned to IT service offerings, they’re more likely to already dove-tail into their customers’ ITIL approaches.

Either way, if the CSP or DC core systems are unable to adapt to service the needs of ITSM customers, then I’d recommend leveraging the aircraft-carrier analogy.

In other words, use a separate set of tools that allow the CSP / DC to deliver the specific ITSM needs of the enterprise and integrate with core OSS / DCIM tools via APIs, whereby the core systems remain relatively unchanged due to their inherent complexity and the ITSM tools are more accommodating.

Perhaps this highly simplistic Venn Diagram shows what Nico alluded to and is similar to what is implied in the aircraft-carrier analogy:
OSS, DCIM, ITSM Venn Diagram

Interestingly enough, there are actually quite a few areas of overlap in terms of functionality between the three models, not just because the Venn Diagram indicates it. APIs are the obviously the key to allowing the models to integrate, not just overlap.

BSS could be added as a fourth circle in the Venn Diagram too.

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