The OSS/BSS market will be a $70.97 billion industry by 2024, according to Transparency Market Research.
The Internet of Things, DevOps and software-defined networking (SDN) are pushing demand for this technology, but not all OSS/BSS solutions are prepared to handle the workloads these movements introduce.
For example, Transparency Market Research found legacy OSS/BSS platforms suffer from low data accuracy, longer process cycles and rising security problems. How must next-generation OSS/BSS systems function to accommodate SDN and associated technologies?
"The IoT market will be worth $4.3 trillion 7 years from now."
Why SDN is becoming the norm
There are two major trends that are increasing demand for SDN services: The IoT and DevOps.
Machina Research discovered that the IoT market will be worth $4.3 trillion seven years from now. In order to realize the IoT's full benefits, organizations must enable their networks to accommodate distributed workloads, machine-to-machine communications and seamless data sharing.
From the perspective of a single enterprise, enabling such operations involves connecting thousands of devices to the cloud, as these environments have the compute capacity needed to:
- Analyze terabytes of data in real time.
- Support applications that control how devices function.
- Manage device security protocols.
IT doesn't want to leave the IoT to its own devices (no pun intended). Quite the contrary, they demand granular control over how connected objects send data over corporate networks to the cloud. This could involve automatically scaling bandwidth to accommodate IoT-based traffic or re-routing packets to AWS after the primary production environment experiences a problem.
Ultimately, what we're talking about here is a desire for greater control over the infrastructure. DevOps exemplifies this priority. Most companies run a majority of their workloads in the cloud, according to a survey from RightScale. Therefore, developers working on hosted applications need to ensure their software possess the network capacity required to support end-users.
SDN delivers granular administration. Given the trends detailed above, it's not surprising enterprises are seeking telcos that deliver SDN services. But what does it take, with respect to OSS/BSS, to provide SDN?
What OSS/BSS features are necessary for supporting SDN?
At its core, a next-generation OSS/BSS engine should be capable of tracking variable consumption. This is because SDN supports scalability.
Instead of locking enterprises into fixed service contracts, telcos may allow organizations to pay based on how much bandwidth they consume on a monthly basis. For example, suppose a team of sysadmins installs eight dozen devices across a factory floor. All of those devices will send data to an application hosted in Azure.
As opposed to having to renegotiate the service contract with the telco, the manufacturer simply increases its bandwidth capacity to support the new deployment. From the customer's perspective, this increases the convenience of working with a telco.
While an OSS/BSS solution should provide flexibility, it must also establish administrative order. For example, a technical account manager, on the telco side, should be able to log into a single administrative portal and:
- Receive and manage trouble tickets for multiple accounts.
- Oversee workflow provisioning and management.
- Create automated notifications for problems.
- Establish escalation management protocols.
- Ensure each account's consumption behaviors adhere to relevant service-level agreements.
Next-gen OSS/BSS solutions must also possess back-end logic that feeds user-level analytics.
For example, suppose an account manager wanted to track a customer's network consumption behavior over the course of a month and look for peak traffic times. He could put together a report revealing when network usage is most intense on an hourly or daily basis. He could then utilize this information to recommend adjusting the SLA.
As a whole, today's OSS/BSS must be capable of supporting flexibility. That involves tracking how customers utilize SDN functions, ensuring the telco has the resources to accommodate those functions and logically creating bills. With a strong operational and billing back-end, telcos can deliver the network services modern businesses require.