A new style of OSS GUI

In yesterday’s blog, we discussed how the OSS of the future will not just be Operational support systems, instead being Whole of Business support systems (WOBSS?? :)).

Anyway, we also discussed that to be relevant to the whole of business, our tools will need to provide:

  • A context that is relevant to the operator (who might use the terminology of sales, contact centre, accounting, etc) because they need insights in their context, not the context of network operations
  • Combining data sets that bridge the gap from network operations to being relevant to what the person needs insights on (eg ability to provide service to a given address, time/cause/duration of customer outages, transaction records, usage patterns in certain areas, etc)
  • A simple and intuitive user interface that uses human language rather than query language or a knowledge of database schema or the intricacies of specific data sets within the schema

What are some of the simplest (yet most powerful) interfaces you can think of? Google’s search, Apple’s iPod?

Compare this sample of a current style of OSS interface, where everything is crammed in to every square inch of screen-space, where there are complex business processes and conditionals behind the scenes to get out what you want:
Current-style OSS interface

With this:
Google's user interface

Now if we take some cues from the Google Search UI and combine it with the powerful search capabilities that are becoming more readily available to OSS implementers, we may end up with a search / predictive / precognitive interface that looks something like this:
OSS interface of the future

Of course there will be specialist operations tools like network maps with alarm overlays, performance graphs, task lists, etc. Then the general search bar can either answer questions directly (eg provide a specific graph) or act as a leaping-off point into the many other applications.


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