The Software-Driven Operator, Process-Driven Service Provider 10 years on

Process-Driven CSPI authored a slideset about 10 years ago that I titled “Software-Driven Operator and Process-Driven Service Provider”. In it I argued that the telco market had the potential to split into Operators and Service Providers. I felt that the Operator would become more and more of a software factory whilst the Service Provider was likely to become more Customer Process centric.

The slides were very raw and I feel too embarassed to publish them but the messages are interesting 10 years on.

For telco operators the concept of “software-driven” has now become a looming reality as SDN and NFV is on everyone’s lips. I have to admit that I never dreamed of virtualisation then, I was mainly thinking about my own experience with software-defined radio (SDR) and intelligent networks (IN) software and the potential that we had to make the network programmable. Funnily enough I am still not as impressed with virtualisation as a concept as I am with the overall concept of a fully software programmable network.

Where I was very far off the mark was in my Process-Driven thinking.

My construct was based on combining the eTOM model with my own work as a software designer and modeller to conclude that a standardised process could be fully automated. What it assumed was that the fundamental products that a telco would sell could remain fairly standardised.

My other mistake was to assume that the features of the telco network, especially the programmable network, could be abstracted away from the products and services sold to customers. I now realise this to be immature thinking.

A more modern approach might be to offer products and services based on network features which themselves are API’s into the programmable network. Hmmm, there is a GSMA program in there somewhere …

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