OSS re-write – Benefits and Insights

This is the fifth in the Complete OSS re-write series of posts and relates to What are the tangible benefits or insights. This series is designed to pose ideas on how the OSS industry could take a Control-Alt-Delete approach to all aspects of delivering operational support, which coincides with the inflection point underway in our industry via technologies such as network virtualisation (eg SDN/NFV) and sensor networks (eg Internet of Things). This series also draws inspiration from the re-write approaches that are disrupting industries such as taxis, music, hotels and many others.

In a free e-book released recently called, “Valuable OSS – Delivering a Return on Your Investment in Operational Support Systems,” it was stated that:

  • Business cases tend to be built around cost-out (eg automation and reduced head-count) models
  • OSS are a simply a cost of doing business
  • OSS primarily give intangible results, so benefit of measuring outweighs the cost, so measurements are not done
  • Individual OSS projects are often “small” spend so not deemed to warrant the effort of ROI calculation (see previous point). For example, $20M on a single vendor in a best-of-breed OSS approach doesn’t warrant the effort to measure, even if the collective OSS has incurred $500M

It also highlighted,

…in a capital intensive industry like telecom, the key metric is return on capital, especially when that industry turns ex-growth. Revenue, EBITDA and cash are useful interim steps along the way, but the ultimate end-point is ROI. It’s not a clever conclusion, but it’s not the consensus conclusion either.
Unfortunately, such basic principles have gotten buried in daily practices that shift focuses elsewhere. ROI is rarely more than a side note in most balanced scorecards and it shows: ROI performance in the telecom industry is not good
,” which originated from, “Capex is king: A new playbook for telecoms execs.”

Then we consider that network virtualisation (eg NFV / SDN) and IoT (Internet of Things), introduces a data and touch-point explosion that works for OSS (increased data to gain insights from) and against OSS (more data to collect and manage).

Lastly, “Marketing is now a fundamental driver of IT purchasing, and that trend shows no signs of stopping –or even slowing down –any time soon. In fact, Gartner analyst Laura McLellan recently predicted that by 2017, CMOs will spend more on IT than their counterpart CIOs.” according to Lisa Arthur on Forbes.

These four factor-groups are contriving against investments in OSS, but conversely also represent the opportunity for OSS to become increasingly relevant into the exciting future of electronic communications.

The two re-write strategies proposed in today’s article are:

  1. The need for OSS teams to develop a mindset of building tools that are relevant far beyond the operations teams that we’ve traditionally serviced, becoming Organisational Support Systems rather than Operational Support Systems
  2. The “arms race of functionality” described in yesterday’s article is a pointer towards the current approach of vendors designing “fixed insights” into their tools to service customer requirements that have arisen in the past. The proposed new approach is for OSS to become “insight engines” that allow customers to build functionality / insights as required. The concept is a cross between data warehouse, big data analytics, script builder, GUI / forms builder and workflow engine. Customers can more easily evolve to changing needs (and with changing data sources becoming available) without requiring their vendor to implement so many product changes
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