While the ecosystem platform model has recently become the hot topic of the IT and Cloud sector, it’s actually been well understood and developed by the Telco industry for some years now, most notably by the TMF – Telemanagement Forum.
The TMF operates a membership forum with a number of accelerator programs that enables the industry to collaborate to co-develop shared assets that generate a rising tide that floats all boats, where each individual telco can then utilize them to advance their own business.
These are organized around the headline themes of the digital transformation shaping the entire tech sector, with a core capability of enabling the development of a Digital Ecosystem model for the telecomms industry.
Their pioneering approach for achieving this offers a blueprint for other industries to replicate to achieve the same large-scale sector transformation.
Open Digital Architecture
The program central to this capability is their ‘ODA’ – Open Digital Architecture.
ODA replaces traditional operations and business support systems (OSS/BSS) with a new approach to building software for the telecoms industry, opening a market for standardized, cloud-native software components, and enabling communication service providers and suppliers to invest in IT for new and differentiated services instead of maintenance and integration.
TMForum’s CEO Nik Willetts explains that the Open Digital Framework will create “a living framework – not paperwork, not standards, but a living framework for collaboration between companies, and it’s already being built today.
In the feature video Lester Thomas, Head of New Technologies and Innovation, explains Vodafone’s role as a founder of TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture initiative and how it is linked to Vodafone’s own digital transformation strategy. Vodafone is embracing a Cloud Native architecture to transform from a Telco to a Techco and build a 5G and IoT digital ecosystem platform.
George Glass, CTO of TM Forum introduces the Open Digital Architecture and explains what resources are available on tmforum.org to help use it:
Zero Touch Partnering
The ultimate objective is “Zero Touch Partnering” – Enabling telcos to transform into platform businesses, where they can quickly and easily on-board products from new suppliers, create innovative market offerings that bundle together both in-house and supplier products and, at run time, initiate product orders to their suppliers using standard APIs.
In this video Joann O’Brien, Vice President, Digital Ecosystems, TM Forum, discusses the progress that developers from telcos and vendors made in creating Open API environments for zero-touch partnering in an Open API Spec Jam, hosted at Vodafone’s headquarters in December, and looks ahead to what she expects for digital ecosystem development in 2023.
Modeling Digital Ecosystems
The fundamental challenge presented by the Platform Ecosystem model is the complexity of the ecosystem itself. Multiple collaborating partners operating multiple bi-directional integrations and data flows presents a steep challenge for comprehending and planning, and so designing such a universe can prove overwhelming.
To address this challenge the TMF offers CurateFx, a SaaS planning application from Tr3dent for taming and managing this complexity. This is built to strategically manage the life-cycle of complex business models and ecosystems that deliver new and innovative digital services.
This enables users to simply create new projects through the built-in methodologies, best practices and visual guides that can help template your design. The TMF’s Frameworx and Open APIs are integrated into the tool, so you can clearly define the roles of ecosystem stakeholders and map the relationships, defining key points of integration and dependencies between partners, systems and infrastructure.