TM Forum Blueprint Initiative to shape service-oriented enterprise

TM Forum, the industry group focused on business effectiveness for the communications and media sectors, has announced the launch of its Blueprint Initiative, a major step forward in the evolution of TM Forum’s suite of Solution Frameworks that are already established as the standard toolkit for transforming service operations.

Blueprint expands the implementation focus of Solution Frameworks and provides a clear roadmap for communications service providers to become service oriented enterprises (SOE).

Communications and cable companies need to be able to use a low cost, standardised approach to transform their operations but each provider has different business needs, claimed the Forum. In the past, this has led to expensive customisation of systems and processes. Blueprint solves this by providing a growing set of reusable and implementable building blocks called ‘Business Services’ based on a standard SOE.

Like Lego TM bricks, each Business Service relates to a standard business function, (e.g. service launch; billing; customer care) that can be assembled to meet the proprietary business needs of individual companies. It delivers four key benefits: reducing development costs, time and risk; future proofing investment; enabling end to end process automation and opening up new business opportunities by making business functions (such as billing) available to third parties on a commercial basis.

Companies in other sectors, such as Amazon, have already successfully pioneered this approach known in the software industry as a SOE. Blueprint will also deliver more implementation support and guidance for the Forum’s members.

The initiative is strongly backed by major service providers and suppliers. BT Group’s CIO for technology, Phil Dance, stated: “We encourage common industry approaches that help us build a vibrant market delivering innovative software at realistic prices. We welcome the Forum’s move to an SOE-based approach, as it future proofs our investments as the market changes. We especially welcome the ability to build systems and process tailored to our specific business needs using a common set of standard building blocks.”

Keith Willetts, chairman and CEO of TM Forum, considered Blueprint a key initiative for 2009, further strengthening the leadership that the Forum provides to the industry. “As network and IT operations merge and IT moves from the back office to the front, the SOE-based methodology underpinning the Blueprint enables the Solution Frameworks to be used in the backbone of service provider’s IT approach, applicable across not only their entire enterprise, but across partners in the value chain as well,” explained Willetts.

The Blueprint Initiative builds on other recent enhancements to the Forum’s Solution Frameworks which now embed the IT industry’s standard ITIL process approach.