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Case Study
March 2002

 

Taking The Headaches Out Of OSS Integration

BY ROBERT HALES

The need for convergent mediation systems becomes especially important once the honeymoon phase of a telecom merger or acquisition fades. That�s when reality hits and Communication Service Providers (CSP) become saddled with redundant IT systems that put a drain on time and money.

It does not have to be that way. After the deregulation of Ireland�s telecommunications industry, British Telecom (BT) acquired and merged two Irish telecom firms � Esat and Ocean. The new entity, now called BT Ignite, became Ireland�s leading provider of broadband data and corporate Internet solutions. However, the merger also meant the company faced a common problem found globally within the volatile telecommunications industry: The daunting task of merging redundant Operations Support Systems (OSS) applications. 

Esat was already using Dublin-based Openet Telecom�s convergent mediation solution, FusionWorks, before the merger to speed up new service deployment. By leveraging FusionWorks� convergent functionality, BT Ignite was able to quickly collect the usage data from Ocean�s Ericsson AXE10 switch in addition to the existing collection from Esat�s Nortel DMS100 network. All mediated output was then passed to a consolidated set of three OSS applications � subscriber billing, interconnect billing, and fault management.

�In any merger, IT integration can become a headache as systems do not always mesh easily,� said Denis Cronin, billing development manager, Esat Business. �With a convergent mediation platform, we were able to seamlessly integrate the data from the various different switches without any problems.� 

The business results of the integration have been very good, indeed. The end customer was never cut off from service, or negatively affected in any way. The mediation process was not disrupted during the integration process, meaning no lost revenue. And, because it now has control over the business logic that manages the mediation process, BT Ignite receives the same benefits as Esat through its FusionWorks convergent mediation platform � faster response to market changes, rapid deployment of new services and seamless integration in the event of future acquisitions. Furthermore, with the elimination of the redundant OSS applications, processes have been simplified, costs reduced and software maintenance and licensing fees slashed.

�As networks and services become more complex, the need for a flexible, convergent mediation systems takes on new importance,� said Cronin �FusionWorks gives us the power to control the software and incorporate our own business rules, which is so important in today�s rapidly changing market. We are not vendor dependent when situations arise, which was a problem with other solution providers.�

The fast-paced deregulated telecommunications environment has introduced complex business issues for CSPs. A provider�s ability to understand customer usage patterns and service requirements determine its ability to succeed. The same mediation systems that help consolidate OSS applications can feed new applications that enable a CSP to truly understand its customers.

This substantial shift in focus to understanding their customers, coupled with the headaches of merging the IT operations of large, sophisticated operations, has placed a number of business hurdles in the path to success. By taking a convergent approach to the management and integration of OSS applications, especially for billing and customer care, CSPs can reduce the waste that occurs when multiple layers of technology are left in place after a strategic merger and/or acquisition. Convergent mediation applications as strategic tools for improving the operational efficiency of pure IP, wireless, and wireline systems are increasingly emerging as highly valuable and strategic assets within a CSP�s competitive arsenal, and their efficient performance is critical. 

Robert Hales is VP of North American marketing at Openet Telecom. Please visit their Web site at www.openet-telecom.com.

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