OSS/BSS Featured Article

Big Problems for NFV Afoot from OSS / BSS Operations

August 29, 2016

The growth of network functions virtualization (NFV) is evident throughout the business world. As more and more companies bring NFV systems into play, we'll likely see more use cases as more companies get involved and attempt to offer competitively-distinct systems that provide value and are worth buying. A new report from IHS Markit, meanwhile, reveals that one critical area to watch is the operations support system (OSS) and business support system (BSS) market which will have to watch out for NFV in future developments.

The IHS Markit report notes that, essentially, those who offer OSS and BSS materials will have to themselves allow for the intermingling of virtual and physical environments, a state we find ourselves in these days. With more companies bringing NFV and its close cohort software-defined networking (SDN) on board, that means more virtual environments will be in play. To survive in the field, OSS and BSS vendors will thus have to make sure their products are ready to work with this move. Those who fail to do so will quickly lose ground in the market to those who have not failed.

This is demonstrated clearly by the market itself, which consistently notes OSS and BSS as problems in the carrier market. It's worth noting that OSS / BSS now represents a problem for fewer businesses; it's the number two problem now, cited by just 59 percent this year. This means some businesses are working to make OSS and BSS better fit, so some have already made the moves IHS Markit recommends. Indeed, the new number one problem is getting NFV to work with older, legacy network systems.

Throw in the fact that NFV is now largely seen as an inevitability—100 percent of respondents noted either plans to install NFV at some point, while 59 percent of these also noted that “at some point” was either “this year” or “already had been done”—and it puts a clear onus on OSS / BSS suppliers. Some good has already come out of this development, citing the Netcracker system as what can happen when an OSS vendor makes a project work with NFV.

It's a function of changing times, and if we fail to change with these times, we in turn risk getting swamped by same. With the rise of NFV, software makers must be prepared to accommodate the changes in the network that come about as a result of this new tool. We've actually seen something similar happen in the Internet service provider (ISP) market when Google Fiber came out; ISPs were frantically upgrading systems to stand off a potential incursion into the market. Now, we're likely starting to see that happen with NFV and OSS / BSS.

Change is inevitable in technology, and this field is no different. Those who move to accommodate the changes earliest will do best in the end.

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