Creating Next-Gen Telco with TM Forum ODA | Open Digital Framework | HCL Technologies

Creating next-gen Telco with TM Forum ODA

Creating next-gen Telco with TM Forum ODA
January 19, 2022

The telecommunications industry is very innovative and highly competitive. Thus, to stay relevant, businesses must adapt themselves to the latest industry trends.

In 2021, technological changes and digital transformation in telecom have become prominent. Disruption of previously efficient models is happening in the telecom sector. Still, many of these models are no longer valid in the telecommunications industry.

TM Forum's Open Digital Framework (ODF) provides a migration path from legacy IT systems and processes to modular, cloud-native software using AI.

The TM Forum is one such global association disrupting the telecommunications industry by its open, collaborative environment and practical tools. It is also a resource of information that help its members in their digital transformation initiatives. The TM Forum has launched the Open Digital Framework (ODF), which provides a migration path from legacy IT systems and processes to modular, cloud-native software using AI.

Open Digital Architecture (ODA) is the main element of the ODF, which replaced legacy operational and business support systems (OSS/BSS) with a new approach of building software for the telecom sector. It opened a market for standardized, cloud-native software components, enabling communication service providers and suppliers to invest in new and differentiated IT services instead of maintenance and integration.

ODA aims to transform business agility by accelerating concept-to-cash from 18 months to 18 days and enabling 40% growth in B2B2X revenues. Additionally, it aims to double OPEX efficiency by creating better IT solutions that are easier and cheaper to deploy, integrate, and upgrade and delight end customers with 100% digital interactions.

Elements of the Open Digital Framework


Source: TM Forum

Figure 1: Elements of the ODF

ODA comprises different frameworks, OpenAPI, and design principles. It defines standardized, interoperable software components present in the connected domains. These elements run business services through OpenAPI built on a standard data model. ODA provides software code and machine-readable assets, including a test environment and reference implementation.

TM Forum has introduced more than 50 OpenAPI to standardize and achieve open digital architectures. These APIs are downloaded and implemented worldwide in over 65 countries by professionals from more than 700 companies.

Transformation tools support the digital transformation and migration from legacy architecture to Open Digital Architecture. Maturity tools check the readiness of digital capabilities, while data in the architecture is used for benchmarking and training the models for AI.

While working with different Telco’s around the world, there are multiple challenges that we saw companies are facing on their path of implementing next-gen technologies: 

  1. Legacy Systems Digitalization: Some of the challenges with legacy systems are managing the complex OSS platforms, delayed time-to-market, lack of flexibility, and high costs for specialized OSS software. Digitization requires a shift in the organizational mindset and structure, which requires decentralizing the purchasing and decision power, which is also challenging.
  2. Handling Complex OSS: With millions of subscribers in the telecom industry, various new bundled products, and customized solutions, OSS is becoming more complex. Additionally, the Internet of Things (IoT) is leading to explosive growth in connected devices, which is generating billions of new data sources, adding more to the challenges.
  3. Migration to the Cloud: When moving OSS to the cloud, telco service providers can shift existing applications or restructure them to be cloud-native. Operators are not able to fully capitalize on the benefits of the cloud while migrating the existing applications. It is costly and time-consuming for service providers to restructure the applications and unlock the benefits of cloud migration.
  4. The Skills Gap in Adopting Cloud-Native Technologies: New technologies come with new challenges since operators have to deal with limited skills to execute their strategies using new technologies. Implementation of cloud transformations by the right professionals with relevant software skills is challenging.

How Open Digital Architecture is Helping to Overcome Challenges

  1. Legacy Systems Migration Tools: Open Digital Framework provides tools to support migration from legacy systems to the ODA’s cloud-native architecture with software components.
  2. Zero-Touch Agility: With zero-touch processes of ODA, end-to-end management of all the complex business processes can be done through automation across digital ecosystems and help deliver higher quality services at a lower cost.  
  3. Easy Migration to the Cloud: ODA, with the help of OpenAPI, allows CSPs and their suppliers to make relevant architectural and implementation plans better. Not every system has to be cloud-native; ODA will enable organizations to retain current legacy systems at low costs.
  4. OpenAPI: OpenAPI provides an extensible catalog of capabilities to partners and developers. It can drive innovative new products and services while monetizing the existing capabilities through marketplaces.
  5. Multi-Vendor Support: ODA enhances global capabilities used by developers and enterprise customers, enabling global connectivity to the whole ecosystem.  
  6. Lower Cost of Operation: ODA enables digitalized customer interactions and a consistent cross-channel user experience. It also reduces the costs, risks, and time-to-market associated with legacy system integration and lowers the implementation and operating costs.

The Way Forward

In the current market scenario, every telecom service provider is preparing for the future disruption of their business models and technologies by working on the digital strategies and moving on their way to becoming the digital service provider. To become a digital service provider (DSP), CSPs must take a step toward becoming cloud-native. Digital engagement, digital network, and operations are three prominent pillars of transformation.

ODA will help CSPs accelerate digital transformation by changing how software is designed, developed, sold, procured, and integrated with legacy solutions. ODA must be adopted to transform the OSS/BSS systems to meet our new, pervasive, and crucial connectivity needs and accelerate the CSP digital transformation.