Daria Bratakova smiling at the camera
ODA Talks

In conversation with Daria Batrakova on Telecom Standards and Innovation

With almost twenty years of experience in network operations, OSS integration and solution advisory roles within the telecommunications sector, Daria Batrakova serves as the Director of Business Line Telecom Solutions at FNT Software. She plays a crucial role in shaping FNT’s strategic for telecom solutions.
Throughout this interview, Daria shares valuable insights into the evolving competitive landscape of fiber network operators. Furthermore, she provides essential recommendations for businesses aiming to prosper in this dynamic industry, highlighting the significance of collaboration, automation, and adherence to industry standards like TMF ODA for achieving success.

How do you see the competitive landscape of fiber network operators evolving, especially with the entry of new operators?

Incumbent fiber network operators are involved with massive investments in network infrastructure construction. Using shared physical mediums, they must adhere to local laws, which stimulate healthy market competition by allowing other licensed operators (OLOs) to use the same facilities. That’s why for “green field” deployments providers even form strategic partnerships to jointly build the network and share resources.

There is also a distinct trend of responsibility split into NetCos – who build infrastructure – and ServCos – who deliver end customer services. In both cases, there are processes in place, that facilitate network documentation exchange and ordering between the providers. Such processes can be and must be automated. TM Forum offers a standardized architecture, that facilitates such automation – ODA with its Open APIs.

FNT, just like alvatross, follows TM Forum standards and the ODA as well. Why do you support these standards and frameworks?

As an active TM Forum member since 2012, FNT follows TMForum’s journey with great interest. The now somewhat classical “Frameworx” suite was a good start to get all CSPs and BSS/OSS vendors to speak the same language and follow similar design patterns. But the real breakthrough, in my opinion, was the launch of the Open API project and the subsequent introduction of ODA. FNT solutions are set on being open and interoperable with other BSS/OSS components using their own FNT REST API, so following the philosophy of TMF Open APIs was just right. TMF Open APIs allow different software components to cooperate without drastically changing their internal data structure – that’s why FNT finally decided to act and got its first TMForum certification in November 2023 – TMF639 Resource Inventory Management. Many other APIs are sought-after by our customers, so more TMF certifications will follow.

And why do you believe following standards is crucial also in this market?

TMF ODA clearly defines all functions, processes and data models for specific components, and packages them respectively. There are obvious benefits to such standardized approach, such as drastically lower integration efforts during BSS/OSS transformation projects. One particular feature of ODA, that I would like to highlight is that it’s providing guidance to separation of concern between BSS/OSS systems. Using ODA during the ideation phase of transformation projects can promote better scoping of the projects and accelerate internal decision making. Due to its “containerized” nature, ODA helps creating loose-coupled system architectures as well.

Could you elaborate on the joint solution offered by FNT and alvatross. How do you think this solution could benefit the market and how does it set itself apart from other solutions?

The joint solution offered by FNT and alvatross is a “one stop shop” for Telcos, who are looking for modern service order management and orchestration suite coupled with “best of breed ”telecom inventory. Being a true TMF champion, alvatross offers a set of ODA-compliant components for the complete service lifecycle. Telco inventory based on FNT Command Platform is a unique product on the market – the only resource management solution, that covers classical Telco and Cable Management, Enterprise IT and Data Center Management domains in one integrated system. That’s why by using the joint solution, Telcos have all tools ready to deliver and manage hybrid services across modern fiber access networks, core and cloud.

Looking ahead, what do you believe are the key challenges and opportunities for companies operating in the fiber network market?

It is clear, that fiber access network market is booming. Providers are rushing to secure governmental funding. The stakes are high: in Germany alone 17 Billion Euros were made available to stimulate fiber network rollouts (bmdv.bund.de).

Big, medium and small Telecom hardware vendors are trying to close strategic partnerships with providers. Network is the crucial asset – and one of the challenges, that providers face is finding reliable engineering and OSS tools to facilitate smooth rollout, service delivery and network operation. Such systems must support all existing broadband technologies, but also be futureproof in the face of rising network virtualization – such as the FNT Command Platform.

What recommendations would you provide to business aiming to thrive in this dynamic and growing industry?

Building and operating fiber networks is a team sport, which means that one player will not succeed alone. As mentioned above, an aspiring fiber network operator should work together with the competition, and such collaboration must be as highly automated as possible. Adopting common architecture and adherence to standards, such as TMF ODA, is the key to thriving.

A warm thank you to Daria Batrakova for her insightful contribution to our ODA Talks series. We are truly grateful for her time and thoughtful insights, providing our audience with a nuanced perspective on the intricate dynamics of the telecommunications sector. Her emphasis on collaboration, automation, and industry standards adds a valuable layer to our exploration of innovation in telecom.

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