By Sanjeev Sharma on Jan 27, 2012
The distinction between network operator Communications Service Providers (CSPs) and virtual CSPs e.g. MVNOs is decreasing by the day driven by industry deregulation and proliferation of IP based networks that have lowered barriers to entry. This hyper-competition is creating continuous pressure on CSPs to shorten time-to-market cycles for PLM and FAB (fulfillment, assurance and billing) processes to differentiate.
The pursuit of this goal though, is hampered by the complex organizational structure with silos aligned to customer segments. service types or service bundles. Consequently, line-of-business priorities take precedence over end-to-end business goals resulting in
- Frequent IT refresh cycles with “fire-fighting” IT investment approach
- Further fragmentation of the OSS/BSS with heterogeneous non-interoperable multi-vendor IT systems
So, why do such IT oriented or driven business transformation efforts repeatedly under-perform resulting in time and budget over-runs? Assuming the issue is not about the capability of the IT systems or the people implementing them. That leaves us with only one other lever and that is processes. Non-compliance to standards based ITSM frameworks to drive IT investments poorly aligned with end-to-end business priorities results in
- Ad-hoc or silo driven IT procurement limiting ability to realize vendor section and contract negotiation benefits of firm-wide procurement
- Integration complexity of attaining end-to-end process view across non-standards based processes proliferating across multiple systems
A popular approach to achieving operational efficiency in running a service provider business in the communications industry is to strive for conformance with tmforum's Business Process Framework (eTOM).
The benefit of doing so are as follows:
- Improved Time-to-Market with business-IT alignment driven by a comprehensive catalog of CSP business processes i.e. eTOM, thus lowering integration risk by procuring IT systems pre-validated with industry standards and optimizing service provider operations by embracing industry best-practices in processes
- Lower Procurement Costs in terms of applying a consistent methodology to guide IT purchase decisions in vendor selection across RFI/RFPs and negotiate IT contracts with an enterprise view and avoiding IT misspend on non-essential or low priority systems, and IT overspend on redundant systems
While parity with industry standards such as eTOM by itself does not create a differentiation in the end-user service offering it does however enables improved utilization of IT budgets and narrows the strategy-execution gap that plagues business transformation programs. Business Process Management helps CSPs embrace eTOM to drive operational efficiency by enforcing a process-aligned methodology to IT procurement and service delivery.