Heavy Reading

OSS Transformation: Opportunities & Challenges

The operations support system (OSS) sector is entering a critical phase of its development, as network operators change, overhaul, and even replace their OSS infrastructures to cope with the stringent requirements of next-generation networks (NGNs) and the range of services these new networks will support. The OSS sector is now a locus of growing tension between network-oriented OSS applications and IT-oriented service delivery platforms (SDPs), especially as IT processes come to play an ever larger role in carrier networks, increasingly blurring the boundaries between IT and network operations.

As noted in previous Heavy Reading reports, the deployment of multiservice IP NGNs is breaking down the distinction down between SDPs, which focus on the provisioning of content-based services, and the OSS applications responsible for regulating network-based voice and data services. In time, this distinction will disappear altogether. With this opportunity in mind, IT vendors that have broken new ground with SDPs are moving in on OSS, bringing new perspectives, and possibly new price points, to the market. Incumbent network equipment vendors, which still maintain a powerful and influential grip over the OSS sector, have been divided in their response, with their equipment divisions exploring ways to embed OSS functions in the network, even as their product and SDP divisions advance along the same lines as their IT vendor rivals.

IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) also has to be factored into the OSS/SDP environment, with IMS elements such as the Home Subscriber Server (HSS) and policy control now tied into fulfillment, assurance, and billing processes. The creation of new services also must be intimately connected with next-generation OSS (NGOSS) to ensure that operators design services that they can provision, assure, and bill for quickly and easily.

OSS Transformation: Opportunities & Challenges provides a detailed assessment of the market and technology forces that are reshaping the OSS sector. The report evaluates the key factors that are driving network operators to transform their OSS infrastructure, including how technologies and processes from the IT realm will influence that transformation. It compares the changing roles of conventional OSS application providers, major equipment manufacturers, and systems integrators to provide key insight into how the move to NGNs will affect those suppliers' relationships with network operators.


The report includes a detailed competitive analysis of the suppliers that are emerging as leaders in delivering the kinds of NGOSS solutions that network operators are seeking today. Profiled suppliers include leading IT systems integrators and network equipment vendors; the emerging class of OSS product suite vendors; and selected vendors of best-of-breed point tools.

For a list of vendors profiled and evaluated in this report, click here.

IT systems integrators are gaining ground in the OSS sector as transformation projects take shape. Evidence is building that the "IT way" is prevailing in carrier organizations and that increasingly the IT department is being given the leadership role in OSS initiatives. This report analyzes the OSS market prospects for IT systems integrators that have track records across multiple industry sectors in creating extensive data models that they can reuse from customer to customer and in generalizing customer processes.

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As the telecom market has become increasingly competitive, operators have been under pressure for some time to cut operational costs and maximize operational efficiency by:

Dismantling "stovepipe" OSSs dedicated to a single service, replacing them with horizontal OSSs that handle multiple services.
Automating as many OSS processes and tasks as possible, allowing operators to cope with larger volumes and faster process execution at lower cost.
Rationalizing and integrating OSS as a prerequisite for process automation.
Developing a unified OSS information model across the organization that gives managers a coherent, consistent, and accurate view of operational data, driving greater efficiency, higher levels of customer satisfaction and lower costs.

However, as telcos transform themselves into 21st century service providers - converging their networks, introducing a new network control plane in IMS, and expanding the types and number of services they will provide over their reengineered network infrastructure they are finding that their "legacy" programs for OSS rationalization, integration, and automation are only part of their systems transformation story.

Telcos are having to rethink the role of OSS in the light of highly disruptive changes to their operational landscape. These changes have arisen as a result of: services becoming separated from the network in the NGN; the "mash-up" in service provision, where telcos are broadening the range of services they sell, in response to non-telcos selling communications services; the "Web factor" leading to new customer expectations for on-demand, self-service capabilities; and a new level of competitiveness, largely from the Internet companies, which demands that telcos optimize their levels of business efficiency and become far more responsive to their markets.

Report Scope and Structure

OSS Transformation: Opportunities & Challenges is structured as follows:

Section I is an introduction to the report, with complete report key findings.

Section II analyzes the trends that are leading operators to consider transforming, rebuilding, or replacing their OSS infrastructures. It discusses why these trends are disruptive, their implications for OSS, and how standardization initiatives are affecting both what operators want and the development of NGOSS. It also analyzes the increasingly important role played by data, process, and policy modeling in NGOSS architectures.

Section III looks at two battles currently being waged in the OSS vendor market: the emerging face-off between vendors building integrated OSS product suites and OSS point tools vendors; and the fight between IT systems integrators and network equipment vendors for the hearts and wallets of operators about to embark on OSS transformation. This section also summarizes the issues OSS vendors should consider if they are to succeed in an increasingly stormy market.

Section IV profiles 22 vendors engaged in the OSS market. These include leading IT systems integrators and network equipment vendors; the emerging class of OSS product suite vendors; and selected vendors of best-of-breed point tools. The latter have been chosen either because they were identified as market leaders in Heavy Reading's 2006 OSS Market Perception Study or because they illustrate the trends in OSS product development highlighted in Section II.

OSS Transformation: Opportunities & Challenges is essential reading for a wide range of industry participants, including the following:

"Point-solution" OSS suppliers: How will the ongoing OSS transformation affect your current client relationships, and how will they affect your future prospects? How does your product portfolio align with network operator OSS transformation initiatives? Which third-party integrators represent the most attractive partnership opportunities for your organization?
Equipment manufacturers with OSS portfolios: How does your company's OSS transformation strategy match up with network operator expectations? What are your key strengths as perceived by your customers and prospects? What are the potential weaknesses in your OSS strategy that need to be addressed? How significant a challenge do IT-centric systems integrators present in the emerging NGOSS market?
Investors: Which companies are emerging as the early leaders in the OSS transformation movement? Which point-solution OSS providers are most likely to succeed in this changing market? Which independent companies are leading merger or acquisition targets? What's the likely timing for growth in the NGOSS sector?

OSS Transformation: Opportunities & Challenges is published in PDF format.

PRICE: $3,995
Analyst at Large, Heavy Reading
Chappell is widely recognized as a leading authority on the emerging service delivery platform technology sector. She also produces Light Reading's Services Software Insider...
Click here for full list of vendors
60 pages of product and strategy analysis, covering 22 next-generation OSS suppliers, including providers of OSS point solutions and product suites, leading telecom equipment manufacturers, and top systems integrators
Detailed analysis of each vendor's OSS transformation strategy and vision, product portfolio, marketing goals, and future direction
In-depth information on development of industry standards for NGOSS and related technologies, including service delivery platform (SDP) and IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)
PRICE: $3,995
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