OSS – the afterthought

Thomas Edison devoted ten years and all of his money to developing the nickel alkaline storage battery at a time when he was almost penniless. Through that period of time, his record and film production company was supporting the storage battery effort. Then one night the terrifying cry of ‘Fire’ echoed through the film plant. Spontaneous combustion had ignited some chemicals. Within moments all of the packaging compounds, celluloid for records, film, and other flammable goods had gone up in flames. Fire companies from eight towns arrived, but the heat was so intense and the water pressure so low that the fire hoses had no effect. Edison was sixty-seven years old – no age to begin anew. His daughter was frantic, wondering if he was safe, if his spirit was broken, how he would handle such a crisis at his age. She saw him running toward her. He spoke first. He said, ‘Where’s your mother Go get her. Tell her to get her friends. They’ll never see another fire like this as long as they live.’ At five-thirty the next morning, with the fire barely under control, he called his employees together and announced, ‘We’re rebuilding.’ One man was told to lease all the machine shops in the area, another to obtain a wrecking crane from the Erie Railroad Company. Then, almost as an afterthought, Edison added, ‘Oh, by the way. Anybody know where we can get some money’ Virtually everything we now recognize as a Thomas Edison contribution to our lives came after that great disaster.”
Jeffrey R. Holland

Have you noticed that it’s new technologies such as cloud delivery, network virtualization, network security, Big Data, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics, resource models, orchestration and automation, wireless sensor networks, IoT/ M2M, Self-organizing Networks (SON), etc, etc that get all of the limelight in the ICT world? They are the brave new world that will help take Telco into the next generation of profitability.

I’m excited by the changes they’re going to have on our lives, our businesses and the ICT projects that we’ll get to work on in the future.

What I’m more excited about is the fact that they’re going to force the OSS world to innovate to keep up. OSS needs these new technologies to ignite better ways of doing things. Take the first item on the list. Cloud delivery. It changes OSS delivery options too. Network Virtualisation. It will necessitate massive shifts in thinking in the OSS world.

Whilst most people are being drawn along by the buzz of these technologies, OSS is an afterthought. Few people are realising that the only way these technologies will get past the hype stage is if the OSS world can identify ways to operationalize them, to manage, maintain and provision them.

OSS technologists, hitch yourself to the hype wagons and try to hold on for the ride because they’re going to need us in order to deliver on their promises. We’re the supply chain to their forward scouting.

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