Over 100 vie for NBN Co's systems

Over 100 vie for NBN Co's systems

Summary: NBN Co has gone "wall to wall" with Oracle for its internal IT requirements, but there's hot competition for the larger, more lucrative operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS).

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NBN Co has gone "wall to wall" with Oracle for its internal IT requirements, but there's hot competition for the larger, more lucrative operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS).

Charles Phillips

Oracle president Charles "wall to wall" Phillips
(Credit: Oracle)

ZDNet.com.au understands that NBN Co has received over 100 capability statements from prospective international and local bidders for its all-important OSS/BSS layer, which NBN Co will use to manage network capacity and faults, and billing requirements for the nation's retail service providers.

NBN Co declined to comment on the number of vendors it was assessing. "The [request for capability statement] for providers of OSS and BSS closed in mid-March and we are currently reviewing responses prior to inviting responses for the RFPs," NBN Co spokesperson Jane Sullivan told ZDNet.com.au.

Along with fibre, network equipment and construction services, OSS/BSS will form one of the company's core pillars — and one of the trickiest components to complete.

While OSS vendors such as Amdocs can point to deployments at Telstra and Optus, database giant Oracle has a foot in the door, having recently won NBN Co's internal-use IT systems.

Oracle president Charles Phillips was so chuffed at the NBN Co win that he recently bragged about the victory over German competitor SAP at the company's third-quarter results. According to Phillips, NBN Co's head of corporate services, Kevin Brown, had flown to Oracle's Redwood headquarters in California earlier this year to go over its intended purchase. "He wants to go wall-to-wall Oracle and he selected us over SAP," Phillips said.

Global IT consulting firm Accenture will paint NBN Co Oracle-red with its E-Business Suite, Fusion Middleware 11g and its Database Enterprise Edition 11g Release 2. NBN Co has locked in IBM has as its primary hardware provider.

NBN Co also bought Oracle's Hyperion financial planning system and its business intelligence platform, as well as its project management software, Primavera. Meanwhile, its regulatory requirements will be managed with Oracle's Fusion governance, risk and compliance suite. Middleware requirements were cherry picked from its 11g Fusion suite: Oracle WebLogic Suite, Identity Management, and its Services-Oriented Architecture Suite 11g.

Kevin Brown

Former Qantas head of People, NBN Co's Kevin Brown
(Credit: NBN Co)

Should Oracle win NBN Co's BSS/OSS, the company will be embedded in Australia's top two telcos. Telstra had invested heavily in Sun hardware prior to Oracle's acquisition of it, as well as Oracle's Siebel CRM system, which Telstra has integrated with its Comverse Kenan billing system.

But while Telstra's chief information officer John McInerney continues to wrangle with the telco's billing and operational systems, NBN Co has a distinct advantage. Phillips noted that NBN Co was a rare telecommunications catch: a company that was being built "from scratch".

The product Oracle is likely to have pitched to NBN Co is Portal, a set of products it inherited when it bought Cupertino-based billing and OSS company in 2006. Portal gave Oracle applications for billing customers of multiple services, such as phone, wireless, broadband and voice over internet protocol (VoIP). It's the same system that Vodafone New Zealand and Vodafone Australia had spent $300 million on in integration costs to create its Trans-Tasman billing system that it recently demerged.

Topics: SAP, Broadband, Oracle, Travel Tech, NBN

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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