Serving an Apprenticeship

The apprenticeship of difficulty is one which the greatest of men have had to serve.”
Samuel Smiles

One of the mistakes most CSPs make when implementing a new OctopOSS is underestimating the time it takes for their operators to come up to speed with their new tools, particularly if they’ve never had an OSS before.

Some very clever, experienced telecommunications operatives take as much as twelve months before they begin to be productive using their OSS. In some cases, they never really grasp the concepts because they don’t have the background understanding of Information Technologies (IT).

Even with a background in IT and network engineering, it was a slow process for me initially. It was through extensive experimentation with real CSP data in an off-line OSS environment that helped me to really understand where all the pieces fit.

If you want your shiny new OSS to be more than an expensive garden ornament in two years time, you need to invest significant time and effort into OSS apprenticeships for your staff and give them sand-pits to play in. Knowledge transfer from the vendor/integrator needs to consist of hands-on involvement during implementation phases (especially data migration) not just a quick user training course at the end of the project. If an apprenticeship isn’t undertaken, operators can tend to revert to using their previous tools and the change management impetus for your OctopOSS is lost.

Due to the increased complexity of building an OSS compared with using an OSS built by someone else, fresh new starters with OSS vendors also tend to take at least 6 months to understand what an OSS is all about. As a result, OSS vendors simply can’t afford to have high churn rates. They also need to provide extensive cross-domain training to develop the linchpins of their organisations.

Even for those with extensive OSS industry experience, it generally takes some time to become productive within a new OSS environment (eg OSS products, network topologies / devices, services, politics, etc, etc).

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