OSS Business Processes

Searching and learning is where the miracle process all begins.”
Jim Rohn

If you are employed by an existing service provider, you will undoubtedly already have a clearly defined set of business processes. This page provides insights into the impact of the new OSS on business processes and how to refine them to suit your new OSS.

The OSS will introduce process change. There is no changing that.
Tasks that used to be done with spreadsheet, manual activities, information gathered from NMS, calculations taken from slide-rules, etc will now be assumed by the OSS. The OctopOSS may even have process mapping functionality built-in. So you have to allocate the time and resources to process re-mapping.

To re-map the process, you’ll have to understand the way work can be done using the new OSS tools. This is another reason for building a sand-pit and playing in it.

Keeping the processes simple

The Pareto Principle indicates that 80% of outcomes will be delivered by 20% of effort. It is recommended to keep the 80:20 rule in mind when developing key business processes that cover a majority of activities (eg processing customer orders). This allows a level of standardisation and simplification. This also means that the non-standard situations will be managed on an as-needed basis by a sub-set of staff who are dedicated to resolving unusual cases. I have seen OSS business processes that have been “enhanced” to incorporate so many unusual or boundary cases that the simple actions get unnecessarily bogged down.

A CSP I know has a convoluted provisioning process and a precise set of KPIs assigned to the various parts of its provisioning factory. Unfortunately it can’t get orders delivered in a reasonable timeframe, costing the CSP dearly. See here for more details.

New process mapping

If you don’t already have process maps or your OSS renders the old ones obsolete, TM Forum’s eTOM (enhanced Telecom Operations Map) is a great place to start your process mapping. It has become so widely used by a broader audience than just Telcos that eTOM has become known as the Business Process Framework.

There is a wealth of existing literature on eTOM, including TMF’s GB921 suite of products, including:

  • Getting Started (Framework Release, Guidelines)
  • Using eTOM and ITIL Together
  • Implementing Process Flows
  • Process Definition Standards and Decompositions

Process “Decompositions” work in much the same way as the WBS described in Planning a Project with WBS, allowing a user to drill down to deeper layers of process detail. The first layer of eTOM are shown in the diagram below.

eTOM Level 0 Map
This image originated on Wikipedia.
eTOM is also supported by off-the-shelf products to build a catalog of processes.

In recent years, customer experience has been identified by CSPs as one of their key points of differentiation and have modified their process thinking to be more customer-centric. eTOM is comprised of functional processes, which help to deliver upon the customer’s experience, but doesn’t provide end-to-end flows from a customer perspective. TMF has introduced GB-921-E to provide an end-to-end process flow overlay to cover the following customer-centric flows:

  • Request-to-Answer
  • Order-to-Payment
  • Usage-to-Payment
  • Request-to-Change
  • Termination-to-Confirmation
  • Problem-to-Solution
  • Complaint-to-Solution
  • Production Order-to-Acceptance
  • Trouble Ticket-to-Solution
  • Usage-to-Usage Data
  • Capacity Management
  • Service Lifecycle Management
  • Resource Lifecycle Management

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