From pipeline to platform

Amazon established an architecture to leverage its assets for implementing a wide range of business models in a repeatable way for the retail industry. In most cases, Amazon is exposing product offerings it doesn’t actually own. It carries some inventory for third parties, but its main tasks now are vetting retail partners, ensuring product quality, giving partners access to the marketplace, and arranging payment and delivery of purchases. The company’s business model is to provide an ever-growing number of products through a broad, simple solution that’s fast, efficient and highly effective.
A similar level of speed and efficiency is possible when the same approach is applied to an operator’s architecture. Easy access, exposure of product information, a managed ecosystem of partners, a simple solution that hides background complexity – many of the same things that make it so easy to shop with Amazon – can transform the way our products are created, modified, assembled, offered, personalized and delivered. In other words, operators need architectures that support platform business models analogous to the Amazon architecture to onboard offers from many, connecting suppliers to consumers and monetizing the end solution with settlement of payments to those involved. Many platforms are possible because of technology, but they’re successful because of trust among ecosystem partners, curator and consumers
From TM Forum’s “Digital Platform Reference Architecture Concepts and Principles” (IG1157 Release 17.0.0)

A recent post entitled, “I want a business outcome, not a deployment challenge,” discussed cloud deployment, hosted service offerings and trust – three important considerations to the Amazon-style platform play for future CSP business models.

Neither the architecture or the trust currently tends to exist to allow most telcos to follow a model where, “its main tasks now are vetting retail partners, ensuring product quality, giving partners access to the marketplace, and arranging [e-]payment and [e-]delivery of purchases.” Some telcos are already going down the path of complete transformation to services-driven platforms (ie SOA). This is as much for offering (web) services to internal silos as it is to external customers.

The real platform play will only happen when the “internal” services are also opened up to third-parties to provide, not just consume.

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