IMS forces OSS to evolve by nyut545e2

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									Americas Network - IMS forces OSS to evolve                                                        Page 1 of 2




   IMS forces OSS to evolve


   Jan 19, 2007


   IMS promises the delivery of exciting and innovative services, faster and more easily than ever
   before. Enthusiastic supporters of IMS like to believe that it will bring about the death of OSS as we
   know it. They point out that IMS is all about standardization, and with it, the mechanisms to move
   toward the long promised vision of the plug-and-play service offering. In other words, standards will
   simplify all the things which OSS used to do.

   However, the more pragmatic supporters of IMS will note that it is all about engagement of the
   customer with sophisticated product bundles and charging models that can be rapidly repackaged to
   pre-empt changes in market requirements and competitive pressures. This can potentially be a
   powerful tool in the search of the elusive killer app. Such a focus on innovation and differentiation,
   however, places new pressures on the OSS.

   If you follow the standard approach, then it is possible to achieve many of the benefits inherent in
   IMS. With simplified provisioning through standardized profiling, using home subscriber servers and
   subscription management, as well as alignment with defined online and offline charging practices,
   IMS has the potential to really simplify the OSS processes.

   Simplify, not eliminate

   However, this view of IMS is challenged from a number of directions, not least of all from IMS
   equipment and application vendors seeking to differentiate outside the framework of standards, and
   service providers moving ahead of the standards as they seek to meet customer demands for new
   services. Larger telecoms operators are creating their own extensions to the standards and
   enforcing these through their own buying power, ensuring sophisticated services requiring
   provisioning and charging interfaces outside of the IMS core and into the multi-vendor and multi-
   technology network.

   There is also the challenge of new business models , such as the incorporation of third-party
   applications leading to a heavily multi-vendor and non-standardized environment. Quality of Service
   (QoS) in IMS requires an increased level of network and infrastructure knowledge to provision
   services, and as a result provides a new dimension for charging and rating.

   The standard view of IMS is caught up in the short-term issues of deploying IMS cost effectively and
   using existing infrastructure to do so. Making a long-term success of IMS is all about customer
   engagement - using agility and responsiveness to acquire and then defend market share. Sooner or
   later, operators will have to start thinking of the IMS standard as a framework which can be built on
   to achieve innovation.

   The role of the OSS must be considered in light of this long-term view:

   Network and infrastructure planning. These traditional activities will be more important than ever as
   IMS increases capacity requirements and introduces QoS into services that must be provisioned,
   maintained and charged.

   Provisioning. While subscriber provisioning will take place in the IMS core, sophisticated services will
   still require provisioning outside of the IMS standards domain. The existing challenges of vendor and
   technology independence will be coupled with the challenges of responsiveness and agility.




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Americas Network - IMS forces OSS to evolve                                                         Page 2 of 2




   Assurance - designing the service, session and transport layers to support the required QoS.

   The traditional engineering challenges of minimizing mean time between failures and to repair will be
   more applicable in IMS, where operators can differentiate on promised QoS and charge on the basis
   of the actual delivered QoS to the end-user.

   Charging. Innovations in charging policies will drive complexity rather than simplification, requiring
   numerous integration points for mediation systems - both in the network and infrastructure and within
   the OSS, such as service quality management and CRM tools for QoS information.

   The rich source of charging data will lead the demand for real-time correlation of multiple charging
   records, meaning the customer must have total faith in the bills they receive.

   Evolution - the pace of change is accelerating. OSS tools must be able to react to this new pace by
   facilitating the introduction of new services, in days and hours rather than months and weeks, and
   absorbing new technologies while exposing the benefits into the end customer product offerings.

   Over the next few years, as IMS matures, operators will be looking for OSS that helps them achieve
   the short-term standards-based benefits of IMS, but also allows them to exploit the longer-term
   opportunities - designing, delivering and charging for sophisticated and innovative products that
   allow them to differentiate, achieve and then defend market share.

   So, does IMS spell the end for OSS, or is it the beginning?

   In fact, IMS may liberate OSS, allowing it to take a more integral role in the delivery of services while
   the infrastructure, be it IMS, 3G or even broadband, provides the "pipes." Rather than an end or a
   beginning, it is the evolution of OSS; from an engineering tool and a necessity for the telecoms
   business, to a component of the business that can add value in its own right. But this is a vision that
   OSS vendors need to make a reality.

   John Wells, is product portfolio director at Comptel (john.wells@comptel.com)




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