Where should OSS be managed

Once you start asking questions, innocence is gone.”
Mary Astor.

Another cracker of a question from the same subscriber from the Philippines – “should OSS be managed under IT or Networks?”

This is an age-old question that has caused many fights over the years. It’s a really tough question to answer because it’s dependent on many factors. These include personnel, personalities, politics, business objectives, OSS technology sets, skillsets and so on. It’s sure to stoke the fires of discussion within many CSP staffers too.

Before diving in, I know of one organisation that alternates between IT and networks every couple of years so as to keep them on their toes and ensuring that there remains a diversity of ideas stemming from the OSS operatives.

There are aspects of an end-to-end solution that logically fit within the IT department, including servers, storage, operating systems / SOE, virtualisation, user devices (PCs, tablets, phones). Grey areas include LAN, firewalls, load balancers, security, etc.

The cross-over of IT and Telco technologies (eg ITIL with eTOM, IP with transmission, etc) is becoming increasingly important as the IT departments of enterprise customers become reliant on the wide area networks of the telcos. This means the IT services mindset is probably more closely aligned with the IT department. Next generations of innovation in the Telco and OSS industries (eg virtualisation) are tending to emanate from the IT industry too.

Having said all that, it is generally the network department that intuitively understands the operational applications for running their networks. They work with the network and related naming conventions so they tend to better understand the data that the OSS is modelling. Ditto for network management processes.

So in a generalised organisation, my answer would by a hybrid solution. IT would own and manage servers, storage, clients, etc; owning the stack up to operating system or virtualisation layer. Networks would own and manage the OSS apps themselves.

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