Big telco moves towards big techco: collaborating on plug-and-play software

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Operator groups including Axiata, Globecom, Orange and Vodafone launch accelerator to introduce interoperable, cloud-native software into networks faster.

In effect, this TM Forum project is building a testing facility for telco software components to round out its Open Digital Architecture (ODA) and complement its work on open APIs.

The ODA was a considerable time in incubation and had a couple of false starts, but has now gained substantial support across the industry ecosystem, including network operator groups Axiata, Globecom, Orange and Vodafone.

Other participants in the ODA Component Accelerator project are Accenture, Global Wavenet, Oracle, SigScale, Sysbiz and Whale Cloud.

The platform they build will be used by TM Forum’s members to validate ODA-compliant software components, but the ultimate aim is to speed up the transition to cloud-native architecture and revenues from new services it will support.

Long-held vision

The vision is to produce and test interoperable software building blocks on which operators can run their businesses, so the industry invests in IT for new and differentiated services instead of being bogged down in old, customised legacy code and interfaces.

Orange’s Chair and CEO, and GSMA Board’s Chair, Stéphane Richard (pictured), said in a recent keynote at the Forum’s Digital Transformation World Series 2020 that running and maintaining legacy systems “will consume more than 40% of operators’ current IT budgets” by 2025.

Proof of concept

The test platform’s iteration was in a Forum proof-of-concept Catalyst project, BOS – an implementation of ODA core commerce management. In the space of a few months, the team implemented a business operating system that now will form the basis of the test platform for the software.

“The ODA Component Accelerator is a first step toward a reference implementation platform for TM Forum,” said Laurent Leboucher, Vice President Digital IT, Customer Relations and Global Architecture, Orange. “At Orange, we are very committed to this initiative as it paves the way toward true software building blocks. It will help to reduce the integration burden, to improve time to market, and simplify procurement.”

“The ODA Component Accelerator provides a much-needed neutral sandbox environment where CSPs [communication service providers] and solutions suppliers alike can come together and work to build the market for software components needed to manage and operate our future IT and network systems,” said Carlos Valero, Global Director of IT Strategy and Architecture, Vodafone.

“In addition to helping CSPs understand the best approach to building out their cloud native IT, the ODA Component Accelerator will also help shape current and future R&D.”