IBM faces OSS/BSS challenge on NBN

IBM faces OSS/BSS challenge on NBN

Summary: IBM has a huge task ahead of it as it attempts to implement the National Broadband Network (NBN) Company's Operational Support Systems and Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS), according to telco consultant Professor Reg Coutts.

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TOPICS: IBM, Broadband, NBN
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IBM has a huge task ahead of it as it attempts to implement the National Broadband Network (NBN) Company's Operational Support Systems and Business Support Systems (OSS/BSS), according to telco consultant Professor Reg Coutts.

Last week, NBN Co named IT giant IBM as the primary systems integrator for the government-owned company's OSS/BSS systems in a deal worth $200 million.

"When you look at the history of OSS/BSS in Australia, it's a story of exciting development but tragic investment returns. They have been very much around the legacy telco problem," Coutts told the OSS/BSS Asia Pacific Summit in Sydney this morning.

"[OSS/BSS often] looks to me like multiple IT systems patched together to work but they always seem to unravel when customers and the market actually do things that they didn't predict would happen. That's just going to get worse, not better.

"Good luck, IBM, I'm sure you've been charged with the impossible task before. We're all looking with great expectation for you to be able to pull it together."

He did say that NBN Co would have it easier than other telcos because it is a purely wholesale company and therefore has few customers.

"When we look at the NBN, they're looking for it to be highly automated. The advantage NBN Co has is it actually has very few customers comparatively because it is a wholesaler to the retail service provider," he said.

The greatest difficulty, according to Coutts, will lie with the service providers who have to create billing systems that will be able to combine billing for services on the NBN and their own mobile networks.

"I haven't heard a lot of discussion about integration of the fixed and mobile services," he said.

Faced with the necessity to change OSS/BSS systems to bill for NBN servces, Coutts predicted the industry will ultimately shift, and telco providers may find themselves not dealing directly with end users.

"I'd suggest that when we're thinking about the future OSS/BSS, don't think about the telco industry. The telco industry, in my view, will disappear. From a customer's point of view, where they get service, they won't go to a telco — they may go to their football club, they may go to their shopping centre," he said. "The whole grappling of who will have the final customer relationship is an important issue."

Topics: IBM, Broadband, NBN

About

Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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4 comments
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  • What Reg / The ZDNET article has missed is what I believe is the most important part. This is a brand new, green fields OSS solution with ZERO legacy apps to integrate. For once they get to write their own rules on just about everthing, without having to worry about legacy systems, interfaces, data, specifications or business processes. What they design is what the other telco's will have to modfiy their systems to suit.
    This is a very rare, and probably very exciting event for those concerned.
    gr1f
  • Hi gr1f,

    Reg, to his credit, did mention that NBN was an exciting new greenfield solution for OSS/BSS but he said that what looks like a clean slate in theory might not work out that way in practice. Will be one to watch, for sure!

    Regards,

    Josh Taylor
    Josh Taylor
  • I am sure they will find enough holes in the contract to jump through!
    Knowledge Expert
  • IBM can't even deliver a Queensland Helath payroll system but they are going to deliver a BSS/OSS system for the largest Oz project???

    Give us a break!

    Alcatel can't even do it in Singapore, but these guys are going to.

    Tax payers money, going down the dunny..........
    Theguy-bbb4a