How ODA is rapidly striding to become the benchmark architecture for CSPs

Marina Alonso
Marina Alonso
Inside Sales
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At the beginning of the year 2021, Satec signed the TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture manifesto to align with leading global system integrators. Ever since, Satec, the mother company of Alvatross, has officially announced its commitment to the ODA principles established by TM Forum. And what is the reason to do so? Satec is at a crossroads for its business.

With the foundation of alvatross, our company decided to move to a more productized business, not only for telecom clients but also for the rest of the business verticals. For this productization effort, Satec needed a reference architecture, and the timing with the emergence of ODA was ideal. Beyond the technical aspects of ODA, its potential to enable business in a different way, reduce costs and friction in the selling process, is of significant appeal. Therefore, ODA lies at the heart of Satec’s technical and commercial transformation nowadays.

According to the definition of TM Forum of Open Digital Architecture (ODA), we can describe this technology as a modular, open, cloud-based digital architecture that can be orchestrated through AI. ODA seeks to replace monolithic legacy OSS and BSS systems to become model, data, and policy-driven for automation, offering more agile and simpler IT solutions to CSPs. Telcos are now able to invest in IT for new services rather than maintaining and integrating their previous custom legacy code and interfaces.

 

How do ODA components work?

There is no complete definition of what an ODA component is just yet. Although, roughly speaking, we could discuss that ODA-compliant components consist of software blocks that can be easily used and adapted to drive CSP’s business activities more efficiently. The definition of ODA components is written in a standard language to make it simple and adaptable. And its architecture relies on interoperable software components to deliver business services through Open APIs.

These ODA components expose and consume services exclusively through Open APIs. All of them will be identical and standardised in all ODA components, however, their core functions will vary depending on the specifications of each component.

This approach aims to simplify the telcos’ marketplace. For every ODA module, we can identify and describe specific functionality and dependencies.

Consequently, once configured and deployed, any ODA component can display its functionalities and discover other components to start interoperating with independently.

 

What is the goal of ODA?

ODA’s main goal is to address two main issues: business agility, and the operational impacts of agility. The concept of business agility means to be able to introduce services rapidly, supporting ecosystem partnerships, and adopting new technologies quicker and with lower operational costs. Operationally speaking, Alvatross aligns with TM Forum’s intentions to extend automation from the traditional operational processes, essentially supporting customer orders or requirements, to also include lifecycle processes (commercial, technical, or operational), and enterprise processes such as security, revenue assurance, or revenue risk management.

ODA’s new focus of attention is to transform OSS/BSS to become a model, data, and policy-driven by automation, continuous business, and service improvements. This fact translates into profitability and time-efficiency for the service provider. CSPs can potentially transition their life cycles, moving from lengthy and costly operations that take months or years to a matter of weeks or days. The goal of TM Forum is to get the concept cash cycle time reduced from the typically 18 months to a matter of only 18 days.

ODA components have the potential to become the perfect partner for telcos if they want to optimise their costs in 5G implementation. CSPs need to be managing both sides of the equation when talking about cost optimization: the cost side and the revenue side. One thing that is clear from 5G is that there are opportunities to optimise the CAPEX costs by shared use of assets for both fixed and mobile, supporting multiple types of services. Similarly, OPEX costs can also be optimised if the carrier can automate those same operations. This is something that translates into a positive customer experience for telecom carriers.  

 

Why is it important for CSPs to move operations to the public cloud?

The answer is simple. And whether you like it or not, the IT systems that any CSP interacts with nowadays are mostly in the cloud. Therefore, it is essential for telcos to keep up with the trends and those ever-changing requirements and innovations in the IT field if they want to be competitive and not waste time on time-consuming manual processes.

CSPs face too much knowledge down the resource level, long time-to-market, and exiting issues. Our solution is to operate through network domains to expose and manage the E2E lifecycle of services through our TM Forum Open APIs. On the other hand, operators should consider the public cloud when it makes the most sense. A particular example is where traffic or demand may be unpredictable, requiring monitoring to ensure business success.

When transforming their overall customer experience, telecom service providers used to overlook the inherent dependencies in the back-office of their systems. Something with significant implications for their business, and which ODA might offer a simple solution for: updating CSPs. But how is this updating process possible? The way ODA operates is by addressing end-to-end processes, embracing open, standard-based solutions supported by intelligently orchestrated models that, in turn, support full automation, availability, and quick response times.

Investing in automation delivers in different dimensions. It delivers against both existing and future services, and it deals with the evolution of the legacy capabilities of companies. Typically, in the past, telecoms used to lead their operations through monolithic system’s architecture projects based on waterfall, very deep technical integration, and technical expertise. The new models and trends look towards business innovation support in modular API-enabled architectures, to promote agility with stable back-ends.

Moreover, ODA helps CSPs find solutions for their key business challenges. By using these components, telecommunications operators may find a way to monetise their 5G services. Telcos have invested and are investing billions on 4G and 5G deployment. By not using this kind of open architecture, your company will be potentially wasting money on something that is difficult to manage, a powerful machine that every time it needs to scale, it will also need to be restarted. Hence, the use and deployment of this kind of open architecture is the pillar to help telcos in their race to become faster and more agile in their system management, their commercial systems, and their networks.

In short, implementing ODA through TM Forum Open APIs is a positive solution to the problems CSPs face nowadays. It is a way to save time, increase profits, and simplify time-consuming tasks through automation. Besides not being the only vision for the future of OSS and BSS, ODA represents a good option of an open architecture that only implies an evolution, not a revolution of the current systems that telcos use.

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