Wedge Greene

TeleRenaissance  |  PolyArchitect | Syscosm | Autonomics

How Wedge Approaches Existing OSS/BSS 

Industry insiders describe Wedge as the "go to guy for OSS reinvention" and "a technical genius always inventing the next step for companies and products." Wedge routinely does this as an executive consultant and did it as a telco's chief systems architect. Today this means applying autonomic principles to the support of NFV/SDN, SDDC, Cloud, InterCloud, IoT, Unified Communications, and comprehensive security. In Defence it means making these work in DIL conditions.

However, the penetration of new approaches and new technology into today’s telecom is stepwise and slow. Some of the most important activity of a consulting chief architect is building the broad strategic view with a pattern for technical realization of that strategy. Much of the work is addressing the adaptation of existing legacy systems (often doing a fine job at what they were designed for) to changing market conditions, new product offerings, and updated network and systems platforms. This activity is not so romantic and does not get the press of bold new concepts. But it is important for business continuity. Quite often the right business decision is to update what exists, integrate in new functionality, and port to a virtual platform. Most of the day to day activity of a chief architect at a service provider is doing just this work.

NGOSS was originally designed as an integration platform and most of the success stories of NGOSS involve integration approaches as the principle return on value. When NGOSS was conceived, there were some 200 separate OSS/BSS systems doing overlapping jobs at MCI. When WorldCom and MCI merged the number jumped to over 600 systems. No matter who you are, it is not feasible to effectively run a business with this degree of fractionalization in IT support structures. So some systems must be consolidated and others replaced. But as often as not there is gold in there with the straw and this must be discovered through audits and interviews of the existing support staff. When gold is found, it might pay to expand its scope and enhance its role to become a service used by other systems. NGOSS has evolved with the times and is now the TMF's Frameworx. It is still among the best architecture that can facilitate this service component structure.

Often the best way to build new functionality is to “buy” an existing OSS/BSS product. But increasingly today, open source frameworks provide the best platforms for building fresh applications.

The future does belong to SDN/NFV/SDDC, cloud computing and autonomic network management or yet some other advanced approach. But it typically takes 10 years to bring a concept into common penetration and another 10 years before it is the predominate technology. In the mean time service providers must adapt to stringent new market conditions. “Re-use, adapt, buy” is often the correct choice and having “a good feeling for corporate politics” is how this gets acomplished. Analysis, decision, implementation... should be done with the support of an architect “with one foot in the past and another in the future”. One does not keep a product because it has always been there, but because it still has value and can be economically hooked into today’s enterprise service architectures.

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