Over the past five years I stopped having to be pioneer and Chuck Yeager test pilot-style early adopter for all household technologies. Oh, I still hold a firm grip on my job as IT and network administrator, which on the IT side means I get to wrestle with software and hardware if something goes wrong with a family computer, printer or other peripheral. On the network side it usually entails resetting cable modem and wireless router a few times a year to bring the signal back to life, or calling Cox when the service is really out.
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Heard about a conversation recently that I just had to share with you. A group had gathered at an industry event and a client asked whether a supplier participated in social media: “Are you on Twitter, do you have a blog, things like that,” to which the vendor replied, “Um, we don’t do any of that, we only spend time on real business.” Rarely do I hear of something as proudly, defiantly and arrogantly wrongheaded as that, especially when, as it turns out, all of the company’s clients and top prospects have at least one Twitter persona, and some as many as 10-20. Yet when I learned that same speaker later described the rest of the company’s business model as, “Doing the impossible for less money than the competition”—I understood. The speaker and company are riding a business model rooted in thinking small that is destined to hit the wall.
…and mercy mild, all God’s service providers and enterprise IT shops reconciled.
To be sure, there is plenty of disharmony and cutthroat competition in the networking, software and telecommunications industries–and in all industries–and unless our Creator were to suddenly begin to endow us all with a quite different set of characteristics, it will always be thus. Yet especially during this holiday season it is encouraging to see groups that have previously been best characterized as “warring factions” learning from each other and (dare I say it) working together.
With competition from every side, service providers must roll out a great many new services and features in the next few years to slake the thirst of overheated markets. We’ve talked about service delivery platforms (SDPs) that can slash the time, cost and risk of doing that, not just for today’s services but by providing a platform for services we haven’t even thought of yet. SDPs also lend a hand with the cost side of the equation, which is helpful because while service providers gamely strive to reach consumers and businesses with every conceivable service on every possible device, they must also improve operational efficiency to align their cost structures with revenues. SDPs help ease capex by employing more enterprise networking devices that on average are far less expensive than telecom equipment, and because their service-oriented architecture (SOA) structures enable service providers to leverage network capacity, content and other service components from a myriad of other sources instead of having to build it all themselves.
As most of you have heard by now, the TeleManagement Forum has acquired the IPsphere Forum (IPSF). The TM Forum said it will integrate the IPsphere Framework into its Service Delivery Framework program, creating a pre-commercial test bed for pilot programs and multivendor interoperability. The TM Forum’s Service Delivery Framework focuses on enabling control of service lifecycle management across all execution environments, allowing flexibility in binding services with product catalogs.
That’s quite a mouthful. Whether the market swallows what the IPSF (and now TMF) is proposing will depend on fidelity to the core aims of the IPSF and delivering something as market-worthy as what is on the drawing board.