Almost all of the 20 the top service providers in the world are using the Frameworx architecture for their business processes. Considering this, it’s safe to say that Frameworx has gone beyond the introductory phase and is quickly getting to the point of critical mass with its supporting cast of training, procurement templates and certification programs.
But for those who may not be familiar with Frameworx and the benefits it can bring to your business, it all starts with wanting to make a particular change within your organization, whether that’s lowering costs, reducing risk or creating an entirely new business model. Once you’ve determined your business goals and objectives and what you want to achieve, you need a clear understanding of where you are today in those goals and where you want to be.
The benchmarking process is a great way to launch this endeavor. With benchmarking, you are able to get a clear picture of where you are with respect not only to where you think you should be, but also where the rest of the industry is today, which gives you a firm baseline upon which to start the evolution of your business.
To take an analogy from another industry, Southwest Airlines revolutionized air travel in the US with its no-frills approach, a business model that was brought to Europe by Ryanair. Other airlines have tried to compete by setting up a low-cost airline within their existing operations, but these efforts failed largely because those other carrier didn’t look closely at how their organizations were designed and structured and didn’t fully understand how to bring about changes to the operational side.
So once you have a firm grip on your business operations, then you are in a much better position to determine where to make your changes and how.
Once you’ve done this bit of initial work, you’ve laid the foundation for a successful Frameworx implementation. The tight integration of the Frameworx piece parts – the Business Process Framework (eTOM), Information Framework (SID) and Application Framework (TAM) – provide numerous business benefits, including speeding time-to-market for new services, reducing integration time and much more. But just dropping these piece parts into your business won’t get you those end results.
That’s why Frameworx doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Its fit-for-purpose components also come with training, RFX procurement templates and conformance certification, all of which set Frameworx apart from many other industry standards.
So far, about 90 different service providers have downloaded the RFX templates, and by the end of March about 60 service provider staff will have completed training on using the templates.
The templates make it easier for providers to request Frameworx-compliant solutions within their organizations, and they make it easier for suppliers to respond to these requests in a standard fashion. Considering that it’s not unusual for them to spend a half a million dollars or more on the RFX process, the fact that they can hand over these templates with the background work already done is hugely beneficial both financially and in terms of human resources.
The other piece of this – which goes hand in hand with the RFX procurement templates – involves conformance certification, both of products and internal processes. Close to two dozen products have so far been certified as conformant to Frameworx -- a number that will continue to grow in the next 12 to 18 months.
In addition, a number of service provider implementations have undergone or are undergoing independent assessments on their level of conformance to Frameworx, a number is also on the rise. And several thousand certified engineers have been trained on Frameworx and its components with more signing up for training every day.
With such a groundswell of support, Frameworx is getting to the point where it’s the de facto standard for the industry with the backing behind it. The foundation is laid, and on top of that that the next layer will be a set of interfaces for critical business services.
This set of interfaces and associated tooling will make further development options that much easier. For example, with the interfaces you can create business services such as customer care, billing, network management, fault management, performance management, inventory management and more.
As with any standard, the more people adopt it, the greater the economies of scale and the greater the benefits across the board, and Frameworx is no exception. With operational processes eating up a significant amount of the overall costs associated with a service provider, by tying cost to a business process model, operators can see how they compare with others in the industry and gain valuable information to help make strategic decisions on how to manage their investments and costs.
Frameworx is a big part of this overall process, and with the backing of the communication industry, service providers, their suppliers and system integrators finally have a one-stop shop to drive down costs and improve business agility. And that work is an ongoing process. With significant industry participation and input, Frameworx 11.0 – the newest release of the standard – includes major new capabilities to its already extensive features, enabling a service-oriented, highly automated, and efficient approach to running a service provider’s business.
George Greenlee is SVP for portfolio and product management at TM Forum.