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  • Is there a Telecommunications Reference Architecture?

    - by raul.goycoolea
    @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } Abstract   Reference architecture provides needed architectural information that can be provided in advance to an enterprise to enable consistent architectural best practices. Enterprise Reference Architecture helps business owners to actualize their strategies, vision, objectives, and principles. It evaluates the IT systems, based on Reference Architecture goals, principles, and standards. It helps to reduce IT costs by increasing functionality, availability, scalability, etc. Telecom Reference Architecture provides customers with the flexibility to view bundled service bills online with the provision of multiple services. It provides real-time, flexible billing and charging systems, to handle complex promotions, discounts, and settlements with multiple parties. This paper attempts to describe the Reference Architecture for the Telecom Enterprises. It lays the foundation for a Telecom Reference Architecture by articulating the requirements, drivers, and pitfalls for telecom service providers. It describes generic reference architecture for telecom enterprises and moves on to explain how to achieve Enterprise Reference Architecture by using SOA.   Introduction   A Reference Architecture provides a methodology, set of practices, template, and standards based on a set of successful solutions implemented earlier. These solutions have been generalized and structured for the depiction of both a logical and a physical architecture, based on the harvesting of a set of patterns that describe observations in a number of successful implementations. It helps as a reference for the various architectures that an enterprise can implement to solve various problems. It can be used as the starting point or the point of comparisons for various departments/business entities of a company, or for the various companies for an enterprise. It provides multiple views for multiple stakeholders.   Major artifacts of the Enterprise Reference Architecture are methodologies, standards, metadata, documents, design patterns, etc.   Purpose of Reference Architecture   In most cases, architects spend a lot of time researching, investigating, defining, and re-arguing architectural decisions. It is like reinventing the wheel as their peers in other organizations or even the same organization have already spent a lot of time and effort defining their own architectural practices. This prevents an organization from learning from its own experiences and applying that knowledge for increased effectiveness.   Reference architecture provides missing architectural information that can be provided in advance to project team members to enable consistent architectural best practices.   Enterprise Reference Architecture helps an enterprise to achieve the following at the abstract level:   ·       Reference architecture is more of a communication channel to an enterprise ·       Helps the business owners to accommodate to their strategies, vision, objectives, and principles. ·       Evaluates the IT systems based on Reference Architecture Principles ·       Reduces IT spending through increasing functionality, availability, scalability, etc ·       A Real-time Integration Model helps to reduce the latency of the data updates Is used to define a single source of Information ·       Provides a clear view on how to manage information and security ·       Defines the policy around the data ownership, product boundaries, etc. ·       Helps with cost optimization across project and solution portfolios by eliminating unused or duplicate investments and assets ·       Has a shorter implementation time and cost   Once the reference architecture is in place, the set of architectural principles, standards, reference models, and best practices ensure that the aligned investments have the greatest possible likelihood of success in both the near term and the long term (TCO).     Common pitfalls for Telecom Service Providers   Telecom Reference Architecture serves as the first step towards maturity for a telecom service provider. During the course of our assignments/experiences with telecom players, we have come across the following observations – Some of these indicate a lack of maturity of the telecom service provider:   ·       In markets that are growing and not so mature, it has been observed that telcos have a significant amount of in-house or home-grown applications. In some of these markets, the growth has been so rapid that IT has been unable to cope with business demands. Telcos have shown a tendency to come up with workarounds in their IT applications so as to meet business needs. ·       Even for core functions like provisioning or mediation, some telcos have tried to manage with home-grown applications. ·       Most of the applications do not have the required scalability or maintainability to sustain growth in volumes or functionality. ·       Applications face interoperability issues with other applications in the operator's landscape. Integrating a new application or network element requires considerable effort on the part of the other applications. ·       Application boundaries are not clear, and functionality that is not in the initial scope of that application gets pushed onto it. This results in the development of the multiple, small applications without proper boundaries. ·       Usage of Legacy OSS/BSS systems, poor Integration across Multiple COTS Products and Internal Systems. Most of the Integrations are developed on ad-hoc basis and Point-to-Point Integration. ·       Redundancy of the business functions in different applications • Fragmented data across the different applications and no integrated view of the strategic data • Lot of performance Issues due to the usage of the complex integration across OSS and BSS systems   However, this is where the maturity of the telecom industry as a whole can be of help. The collaborative efforts of telcos to overcome some of these problems have resulted in bodies like the TM Forum. They have come up with frameworks for business processes, data, applications, and technology for telecom service providers. These could be a good starting point for telcos to clean up their enterprise landscape.   Industry Trends in Telecom Reference Architecture   Telecom reference architectures are evolving rapidly because telcos are facing business and IT challenges.   “The reality is that there probably is no killer application, no silver bullet that the telcos can latch onto to carry them into a 21st Century.... Instead, there are probably hundreds – perhaps thousands – of niche applications.... And the only way to find which of these works for you is to try out lots of them, ramp up the ones that work, and discontinue the ones that fail.” – Martin Creaner President & CTO TM Forum.   The following trends have been observed in telecom reference architecture:   ·       Transformation of business structures to align with customer requirements ·       Adoption of more Internet-like technical architectures. The Web 2.0 concept is increasingly being used. ·       Virtualization of the traditional operations support system (OSS) ·       Adoption of SOA to support development of IP-based services ·       Adoption of frameworks like Service Delivery Platforms (SDPs) and IP Multimedia Subsystem ·       (IMS) to enable seamless deployment of various services over fixed and mobile networks ·       Replacement of in-house, customized, and stove-piped OSS/BSS with standards-based COTS products ·       Compliance with industry standards and frameworks like eTOM, SID, and TAM to enable seamless integration with other standards-based products   Drivers of Reference Architecture   The drivers of the Reference Architecture are Reference Architecture Goals, Principles, and Enterprise Vision and Telecom Transformation. The details are depicted below diagram. @font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoCaption, li.MsoCaption, div.MsoCaption { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: rgb(79, 129, 189); font-weight: bold; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; } Figure 1. Drivers for Reference Architecture @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } Today’s telecom reference architectures should seamlessly integrate traditional legacy-based applications and transition to next-generation network technologies (e.g., IP multimedia subsystems). This has resulted in new requirements for flexible, real-time billing and OSS/BSS systems and implications on the service provider’s organizational requirements and structure.   Telecom reference architectures are today expected to:   ·       Integrate voice, messaging, email and other VAS over fixed and mobile networks, back end systems ·       Be able to provision multiple services and service bundles • Deliver converged voice, video and data services ·       Leverage the existing Network Infrastructure ·       Provide real-time, flexible billing and charging systems to handle complex promotions, discounts, and settlements with multiple parties. ·       Support charging of advanced data services such as VoIP, On-Demand, Services (e.g.  Video), IMS/SIP Services, Mobile Money, Content Services and IPTV. ·       Help in faster deployment of new services • Serve as an effective platform for collaboration between network IT and business organizations ·       Harness the potential of converging technology, networks, devices and content to develop multimedia services and solutions of ever-increasing sophistication on a single Internet Protocol (IP) ·       Ensure better service delivery and zero revenue leakage through real-time balance and credit management ·       Lower operating costs to drive profitability   Enterprise Reference Architecture   The Enterprise Reference Architecture (RA) fills the gap between the concepts and vocabulary defined by the reference model and the implementation. Reference architecture provides detailed architectural information in a common format such that solutions can be repeatedly designed and deployed in a consistent, high-quality, supportable fashion. This paper attempts to describe the Reference Architecture for the Telecom Application Usage and how to achieve the Enterprise Level Reference Architecture using SOA.   • Telecom Reference Architecture • Enterprise SOA based Reference Architecture   Telecom Reference Architecture   Tele Management Forum’s New Generation Operations Systems and Software (NGOSS) is an architectural framework for organizing, integrating, and implementing telecom systems. NGOSS is a component-based framework consisting of the following elements:   ·       The enhanced Telecom Operations Map (eTOM) is a business process framework. ·       The Shared Information Data (SID) model provides a comprehensive information framework that may be specialized for the needs of a particular organization. ·       The Telecom Application Map (TAM) is an application framework to depict the functional footprint of applications, relative to the horizontal processes within eTOM. ·       The Technology Neutral Architecture (TNA) is an integrated framework. TNA is an architecture that is sustainable through technology changes.   NGOSS Architecture Standards are:   ·       Centralized data ·       Loosely coupled distributed systems ·       Application components/re-use  ·       A technology-neutral system framework with technology specific implementations ·       Interoperability to service provider data/processes ·       Allows more re-use of business components across multiple business scenarios ·       Workflow automation   The traditional operator systems architecture consists of four layers,   ·       Business Support System (BSS) layer, with focus toward customers and business partners. Manages order, subscriber, pricing, rating, and billing information. ·       Operations Support System (OSS) layer, built around product, service, and resource inventories. ·       Networks layer – consists of Network elements and 3rd Party Systems. ·       Integration Layer – to maximize application communication and overall solution flexibility.   Reference architecture for telecom enterprises is depicted below. @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoCaption, li.MsoCaption, div.MsoCaption { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: rgb(79, 129, 189); font-weight: bold; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } Figure 2. Telecom Reference Architecture   The major building blocks of any Telecom Service Provider architecture are as follows:   1. Customer Relationship Management   CRM encompasses the end-to-end lifecycle of the customer: customer initiation/acquisition, sales, ordering, and service activation, customer care and support, proactive campaigns, cross sell/up sell, and retention/loyalty.   CRM also includes the collection of customer information and its application to personalize, customize, and integrate delivery of service to a customer, as well as to identify opportunities for increasing the value of the customer to the enterprise.   The key functionalities related to Customer Relationship Management are   ·       Manage the end-to-end lifecycle of a customer request for products. ·       Create and manage customer profiles. ·       Manage all interactions with customers – inquiries, requests, and responses. ·       Provide updates to Billing and other south bound systems on customer/account related updates such as customer/ account creation, deletion, modification, request bills, final bill, duplicate bills, credit limits through Middleware. ·       Work with Order Management System, Product, and Service Management components within CRM. ·       Manage customer preferences – Involve all the touch points and channels to the customer, including contact center, retail stores, dealers, self service, and field service, as well as via any media (phone, face to face, web, mobile device, chat, email, SMS, mail, the customer's bill, etc.). ·       Support single interface for customer contact details, preferences, account details, offers, customer premise equipment, bill details, bill cycle details, and customer interactions.   CRM applications interact with customers through customer touch points like portals, point-of-sale terminals, interactive voice response systems, etc. The requests by customers are sent via fulfillment/provisioning to billing system for ordering processing.   2. Billing and Revenue Management   Billing and Revenue Management handles the collection of appropriate usage records and production of timely and accurate bills – for providing pre-bill usage information and billing to customers; for processing their payments; and for performing payment collections. In addition, it handles customer inquiries about bills, provides billing inquiry status, and is responsible for resolving billing problems to the customer's satisfaction in a timely manner. This process grouping also supports prepayment for services.   The key functionalities provided by these applications are   ·       To ensure that enterprise revenue is billed and invoices delivered appropriately to customers. ·       To manage customers’ billing accounts, process their payments, perform payment collections, and monitor the status of the account balance. ·       To ensure the timely and effective fulfillment of all customer bill inquiries and complaints. ·       Collect the usage records from mediation and ensure appropriate rating and discounting of all usage and pricing. ·       Support revenue sharing; split charging where usage is guided to an account different from the service consumer. ·       Support prepaid and post-paid rating. ·       Send notification on approach / exceeding the usage thresholds as enforced by the subscribed offer, and / or as setup by the customer. ·       Support prepaid, post paid, and hybrid (where some services are prepaid and the rest of the services post paid) customers and conversion from post paid to prepaid, and vice versa. ·       Support different billing function requirements like charge prorating, promotion, discount, adjustment, waiver, write-off, account receivable, GL Interface, late payment fee, credit control, dunning, account or service suspension, re-activation, expiry, termination, contract violation penalty, etc. ·       Initiate direct debit to collect payment against an invoice outstanding. ·       Send notification to Middleware on different events; for example, payment receipt, pre-suspension, threshold exceed, etc.   Billing systems typically get usage data from mediation systems for rating and billing. They get provisioning requests from order management systems and inquiries from CRM systems. Convergent and real-time billing systems can directly get usage details from network elements.   3. Mediation   Mediation systems transform/translate the Raw or Native Usage Data Records into a general format that is acceptable to billing for their rating purposes.   The following lists the high-level roles and responsibilities executed by the Mediation system in the end-to-end solution.   ·       Collect Usage Data Records from different data sources – like network elements, routers, servers – via different protocol and interfaces. ·       Process Usage Data Records – Mediation will process Usage Data Records as per the source format. ·       Validate Usage Data Records from each source. ·       Segregates Usage Data Records coming from each source to multiple, based on the segregation requirement of end Application. ·       Aggregates Usage Data Records based on the aggregation rule if any from different sources. ·       Consolidates multiple Usage Data Records from each source. ·       Delivers formatted Usage Data Records to different end application like Billing, Interconnect, Fraud Management, etc. ·       Generates audit trail for incoming Usage Data Records and keeps track of all the Usage Data Records at various stages of mediation process. ·       Checks duplicate Usage Data Records across files for a given time window.   4. Fulfillment   This area is responsible for providing customers with their requested products in a timely and correct manner. It translates the customer's business or personal need into a solution that can be delivered using the specific products in the enterprise's portfolio. This process informs the customers of the status of their purchase order, and ensures completion on time, as well as ensuring a delighted customer. These processes are responsible for accepting and issuing orders. They deal with pre-order feasibility determination, credit authorization, order issuance, order status and tracking, customer update on customer order activities, and customer notification on order completion. Order management and provisioning applications fall into this category.   The key functionalities provided by these applications are   ·       Issuing new customer orders, modifying open customer orders, or canceling open customer orders; ·       Verifying whether specific non-standard offerings sought by customers are feasible and supportable; ·       Checking the credit worthiness of customers as part of the customer order process; ·       Testing the completed offering to ensure it is working correctly; ·       Updating of the Customer Inventory Database to reflect that the specific product offering has been allocated, modified, or cancelled; ·       Assigning and tracking customer provisioning activities; ·       Managing customer provisioning jeopardy conditions; and ·       Reporting progress on customer orders and other processes to customer.   These applications typically get orders from CRM systems. They interact with network elements and billing systems for fulfillment of orders.   5. Enterprise Management   This process area includes those processes that manage enterprise-wide activities and needs, or have application within the enterprise as a whole. They encompass all business management processes that   ·       Are necessary to support the whole of the enterprise, including processes for financial management, legal management, regulatory management, process, cost, and quality management, etc.;   ·       Are responsible for setting corporate policies, strategies, and directions, and for providing guidelines and targets for the whole of the business, including strategy development and planning for areas, such as Enterprise Architecture, that are integral to the direction and development of the business;   ·       Occur throughout the enterprise, including processes for project management, performance assessments, cost assessments, etc.     (i) Enterprise Risk Management:   Enterprise Risk Management focuses on assuring that risks and threats to the enterprise value and/or reputation are identified, and appropriate controls are in place to minimize or eliminate the identified risks. The identified risks may be physical or logical/virtual. Successful risk management ensures that the enterprise can support its mission critical operations, processes, applications, and communications in the face of serious incidents such as security threats/violations and fraud attempts. Two key areas covered in Risk Management by telecom operators are:   ·       Revenue Assurance: Revenue assurance system will be responsible for identifying revenue loss scenarios across components/systems, and will help in rectifying the problems. The following lists the high-level roles and responsibilities executed by the Revenue Assurance system in the end-to-end solution. o   Identify all usage information dropped when networks are being upgraded. o   Interconnect bill verification. o   Identify where services are routinely provisioned but never billed. o   Identify poor sales policies that are intensifying collections problems. o   Find leakage where usage is sent to error bucket and never billed for. o   Find leakage where field service, CRM, and network build-out are not optimized.   ·       Fraud Management: Involves collecting data from different systems to identify abnormalities in traffic patterns, usage patterns, and subscription patterns to report suspicious activity that might suggest fraudulent usage of resources, resulting in revenue losses to the operator.   The key roles and responsibilities of the system component are as follows:   o   Fraud management system will capture and monitor high usage (over a certain threshold) in terms of duration, value, and number of calls for each subscriber. The threshold for each subscriber is decided by the system and fixed automatically. o   Fraud management will be able to detect the unauthorized access to services for certain subscribers. These subscribers may have been provided unauthorized services by employees. The component will raise the alert to the operator the very first time of such illegal calls or calls which are not billed. o   The solution will be to have an alarm management system that will deliver alarms to the operator/provider whenever it detects a fraud, thus minimizing fraud by catching it the first time it occurs. o   The Fraud Management system will be capable of interfacing with switches, mediation systems, and billing systems   (ii) Knowledge Management   This process focuses on knowledge management, technology research within the enterprise, and the evaluation of potential technology acquisitions.   Key responsibilities of knowledge base management are to   ·       Maintain knowledge base – Creation and updating of knowledge base on ongoing basis. ·       Search knowledge base – Search of knowledge base on keywords or category browse ·       Maintain metadata – Management of metadata on knowledge base to ensure effective management and search. ·       Run report generator. ·       Provide content – Add content to the knowledge base, e.g., user guides, operational manual, etc.   (iii) Document Management   It focuses on maintaining a repository of all electronic documents or images of paper documents relevant to the enterprise using a system.   (iv) Data Management   It manages data as a valuable resource for any enterprise. For telecom enterprises, the typical areas covered are Master Data Management, Data Warehousing, and Business Intelligence. It is also responsible for data governance, security, quality, and database management.   Key responsibilities of Data Management are   ·       Using ETL, extract the data from CRM, Billing, web content, ERP, campaign management, financial, network operations, asset management info, customer contact data, customer measures, benchmarks, process data, e.g., process inputs, outputs, and measures, into Enterprise Data Warehouse. ·       Management of data traceability with source, data related business rules/decisions, data quality, data cleansing data reconciliation, competitors data – storage for all the enterprise data (customer profiles, products, offers, revenues, etc.) ·       Get online update through night time replication or physical backup process at regular frequency. ·       Provide the data access to business intelligence and other systems for their analysis, report generation, and use.   (v) Business Intelligence   It uses the Enterprise Data to provide the various analysis and reports that contain prospects and analytics for customer retention, acquisition of new customers due to the offers, and SLAs. It will generate right and optimized plans – bolt-ons for the customers.   The following lists the high-level roles and responsibilities executed by the Business Intelligence system at the Enterprise Level:   ·       It will do Pattern analysis and reports problem. ·       It will do Data Analysis – Statistical analysis, data profiling, affinity analysis of data, customer segment wise usage patterns on offers, products, service and revenue generation against services and customer segments. ·       It will do Performance (business, system, and forecast) analysis, churn propensity, response time, and SLAs analysis. ·       It will support for online and offline analysis, and report drill down capability. ·       It will collect, store, and report various SLA data. ·       It will provide the necessary intelligence for marketing and working on campaigns, etc., with cost benefit analysis and predictions.   It will advise on customer promotions with additional services based on loyalty and credit history of customer   ·       It will Interface with Enterprise Data Management system for data to run reports and analysis tasks. It will interface with the campaign schedules, based on historical success evidence.   (vi) Stakeholder and External Relations Management   It manages the enterprise's relationship with stakeholders and outside entities. Stakeholders include shareholders, employee organizations, etc. Outside entities include regulators, local community, and unions. Some of the processes within this grouping are Shareholder Relations, External Affairs, Labor Relations, and Public Relations.   (vii) Enterprise Resource Planning   It is used to manage internal and external resources, including tangible assets, financial resources, materials, and human resources. Its purpose is to facilitate the flow of information between all business functions inside the boundaries of the enterprise and manage the connections to outside stakeholders. ERP systems consolidate all business operations into a uniform and enterprise wide system environment.   The key roles and responsibilities for Enterprise System are given below:   ·        It will handle responsibilities such as core accounting, financial, and management reporting. ·       It will interface with CRM for capturing customer account and details. ·       It will interface with billing to capture the billing revenue and other financial data. ·       It will be responsible for executing the dunning process. Billing will send the required feed to ERP for execution of dunning. ·       It will interface with the CRM and Billing through batch interfaces. Enterprise management systems are like horizontals in the enterprise and typically interact with all major telecom systems. E.g., an ERP system interacts with CRM, Fulfillment, and Billing systems for different kinds of data exchanges.   6. External Interfaces/Touch Points   The typical external parties are customers, suppliers/partners, employees, shareholders, and other stakeholders. External interactions from/to a Service Provider to other parties can be achieved by a variety of mechanisms, including:   ·       Exchange of emails or faxes ·       Call Centers ·       Web Portals ·       Business-to-Business (B2B) automated transactions   These applications provide an Internet technology driven interface to external parties to undertake a variety of business functions directly for themselves. These can provide fully or partially automated service to external parties through various touch points.   Typical characteristics of these touch points are   ·       Pre-integrated self-service system, including stand-alone web framework or integration front end with a portal engine ·       Self services layer exposing atomic web services/APIs for reuse by multiple systems across the architectural environment ·       Portlets driven connectivity exposing data and services interoperability through a portal engine or web application   These touch points mostly interact with the CRM systems for requests, inquiries, and responses.   7. Middleware   The component will be primarily responsible for integrating the different systems components under a common platform. It should provide a Standards-Based Platform for building Service Oriented Architecture and Composite Applications. The following lists the high-level roles and responsibilities executed by the Middleware component in the end-to-end solution.   ·       As an integration framework, covering to and fro interfaces ·       Provide a web service framework with service registry. ·       Support SOA framework with SOA service registry. ·       Each of the interfaces from / to Middleware to other components would handle data transformation, translation, and mapping of data points. ·       Receive data from the caller / activate and/or forward the data to the recipient system in XML format. ·       Use standard XML for data exchange. ·       Provide the response back to the service/call initiator. ·       Provide a tracking until the response completion. ·       Keep a store transitional data against each call/transaction. ·       Interface through Middleware to get any information that is possible and allowed from the existing systems to enterprise systems; e.g., customer profile and customer history, etc. ·       Provide the data in a common unified format to the SOA calls across systems, and follow the Enterprise Architecture directive. ·       Provide an audit trail for all transactions being handled by the component.   8. Network Elements   The term Network Element means a facility or equipment used in the provision of a telecommunications service. Such terms also includes features, functions, and capabilities that are provided by means of such facility or equipment, including subscriber numbers, databases, signaling systems, and information sufficient for billing and collection or used in the transmission, routing, or other provision of a telecommunications service.   Typical network elements in a GSM network are Home Location Register (HLR), Intelligent Network (IN), Mobile Switching Center (MSC), SMS Center (SMSC), and network elements for other value added services like Push-to-talk (PTT), Ring Back Tone (RBT), etc.   Network elements are invoked when subscribers use their telecom devices for any kind of usage. These elements generate usage data and pass it on to downstream systems like mediation and billing system for rating and billing. They also integrate with provisioning systems for order/service fulfillment.   9. 3rd Party Applications   3rd Party systems are applications like content providers, payment gateways, point of sale terminals, and databases/applications maintained by the Government.   Depending on applicability and the type of functionality provided by 3rd party applications, the integration with different telecom systems like CRM, provisioning, and billing will be done.   10. Service Delivery Platform   A service delivery platform (SDP) provides the architecture for the rapid deployment, provisioning, execution, management, and billing of value added telecom services. SDPs are based on the concept of SOA and layered architecture. They support the delivery of voice, data services, and content in network and device-independent fashion. They allow application developers to aggregate network capabilities, services, and sources of content. SDPs typically contain layers for web services exposure, service application development, and network abstraction.   SOA Reference Architecture   SOA concept is based on the principle of developing reusable business service and building applications by composing those services, instead of building monolithic applications in silos. It’s about bridging the gap between business and IT through a set of business-aligned IT services, using a set of design principles, patterns, and techniques.   In an SOA, resources are made available to participants in a value net, enterprise, line of business (typically spanning multiple applications within an enterprise or across multiple enterprises). It consists of a set of business-aligned IT services that collectively fulfill an organization’s business processes and goals. We can choreograph these services into composite applications and invoke them through standard protocols. SOA, apart from agility and reusability, enables:   ·       The business to specify processes as orchestrations of reusable services ·       Technology agnostic business design, with technology hidden behind service interface ·       A contractual-like interaction between business and IT, based on service SLAs ·       Accountability and governance, better aligned to business services ·       Applications interconnections untangling by allowing access only through service interfaces, reducing the daunting side effects of change ·       Reduced pressure to replace legacy and extended lifetime for legacy applications, through encapsulation in services   ·       A Cloud Computing paradigm, using web services technologies, that makes possible service outsourcing on an on-demand, utility-like, pay-per-usage basis   The following section represents the Reference Architecture of logical view for the Telecom Solution. The new custom built application needs to align with this logical architecture in the long run to achieve EA benefits.   Packaged implementation applications, such as ERP billing applications, need to expose their functions as service providers (as other applications consume) and interact with other applications as service consumers.   COT applications need to expose services through wrappers such as adapters to utilize existing resources and at the same time achieve Enterprise Architecture goal and objectives.   The following are the various layers for Enterprise level deployment of SOA. This diagram captures the abstract view of Enterprise SOA layers and important components of each layer. Layered architecture means decomposition of services such that most interactions occur between adjacent layers. However, there is no strict rule that top layers should not directly communicate with bottom layers.   The diagram below represents the important logical pieces that would result from overall SOA transformation. @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoCaption, li.MsoCaption, div.MsoCaption { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; color: rgb(79, 129, 189); font-weight: bold; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } Figure 3. Enterprise SOA Reference Architecture 1.          Operational System Layer: This layer consists of all packaged applications like CRM, ERP, custom built applications, COTS based applications like Billing, Revenue Management, Fulfilment, and the Enterprise databases that are essential and contribute directly or indirectly to the Enterprise OSS/BSS Transformation.   ERP holds the data of Asset Lifecycle Management, Supply Chain, and Advanced Procurement and Human Capital Management, etc.   CRM holds the data related to Order, Sales, and Marketing, Customer Care, Partner Relationship Management, Loyalty, etc.   Content Management handles Enterprise Search and Query. Billing application consists of the following components:   ·       Collections Management, Customer Billing Management, Invoices, Real-Time Rating, Discounting, and Applying of Charges ·       Enterprise databases will hold both the application and service data, whether structured or unstructured.   MDM - Master data majorly consists of Customer, Order, Product, and Service Data.     2.          Enterprise Component Layer:   This layer consists of the Application Services and Common Services that are responsible for realizing the functionality and maintaining the QoS of the exposed services. This layer uses container-based technologies such as application servers to implement the components, workload management, high availability, and load balancing.   Application Services: This Service Layer enables application, technology, and database abstraction so that the complex accessing logic is hidden from the other service layers. This is a basic service layer, which exposes application functionalities and data as reusable services. The three types of the Application access services are:   ·       Application Access Service: This Service Layer exposes application level functionalities as a reusable service between BSS to BSS and BSS to OSS integration. This layer is enabled using disparate technology such as Web Service, Integration Servers, and Adaptors, etc.   ·       Data Access Service: This Service Layer exposes application data services as a reusable reference data service. This is done via direct interaction with application data. and provides the federated query.   ·       Network Access Service: This Service Layer exposes provisioning layer as a reusable service from OSS to OSS integration. This integration service emphasizes the need for high performance, stateless process flows, and distributed design.   Common Services encompasses management of structured, semi-structured, and unstructured data such as information services, portal services, interaction services, infrastructure services, and security services, etc.   3.          Integration Layer:   This consists of service infrastructure components like service bus, service gateway for partner integration, service registry, service repository, and BPEL processor. Service bus will carry the service invocation payloads/messages between consumers and providers. The other important functions expected from it are itinerary based routing, distributed caching of routing information, transformations, and all qualities of service for messaging-like reliability, scalability, and availability, etc. Service registry will hold all contracts (wsdl) of services, and it helps developers to locate or discover service during design time or runtime.   • BPEL processor would be useful in orchestrating the services to compose a complex business scenario or process. • Workflow and business rules management are also required to support manual triggering of certain activities within business process. based on the rules setup and also the state machine information. Application, data, and service mediation layer typically forms the overall composite application development framework or SOA Framework.   4.          Business Process Layer: These are typically the intermediate services layer and represent Shared Business Process Services. At Enterprise Level, these services are from Customer Management, Order Management, Billing, Finance, and Asset Management application domains.   5.          Access Layer: This layer consists of portals for Enterprise and provides a single view of Enterprise information management and dashboard services.   6.          Channel Layer: This consists of various devices; applications that form part of extended enterprise; browsers through which users access the applications.   7.          Client Layer: This designates the different types of users accessing the enterprise applications. The type of user typically would be an important factor in determining the level of access to applications.   8.          Vertical pieces like management, monitoring, security, and development cut across all horizontal layers Management and monitoring involves all aspects of SOA-like services, SLAs, and other QoS lifecycle processes for both applications and services surrounding SOA governance.     9.          EA Governance, Reference Architecture, Roadmap, Principles, and Best Practices:   EA Governance is important in terms of providing the overall direction to SOA implementation within the enterprise. This involves board-level involvement, in addition to business and IT executives. At a high level, this involves managing the SOA projects implementation, managing SOA infrastructure, and controlling the entire effort through all fine-tuned IT processes in accordance with COBIT (Control Objectives for Information Technology).   Devising tools and techniques to promote reuse culture, and the SOA way of doing things needs competency centers to be established in addition to training the workforce to take up new roles that are suited to SOA journey.   Conclusions   Reference Architectures can serve as the basis for disparate architecture efforts throughout the organization, even if they use different tools and technologies. Reference architectures provide best practices and approaches in the independent way a vendor deals with technology and standards. Reference Architectures model the abstract architectural elements for an enterprise independent of the technologies, protocols, and products that are used to implement an SOA. Telecom enterprises today are facing significant business and technology challenges due to growing competition, a multitude of services, and convergence. Adopting architectural best practices could go a long way in meeting these challenges. The use of SOA-based architecture for communication to each of the external systems like Billing, CRM, etc., in OSS/BSS system has made the architecture very loosely coupled, with greater flexibility. Any change in the external systems would be absorbed at the Integration Layer without affecting the rest of the ecosystem. The use of a Business Process Management (BPM) tool makes the management and maintenance of the business processes easy, with better performance in terms of lead time, quality, and cost. Since the Architecture is based on standards, it will lower the cost of deploying and managing OSS/BSS applications over their lifecycles.

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  • Enterprise Process Maps: A Process Picture worth a Million Words

    - by raul.goycoolea
    p { margin-bottom: 0.08in; }h1 { margin-top: 0.33in; margin-bottom: 0in; color: rgb(54, 95, 145); page-break-inside: avoid; }h1.western { font-family: "Cambria",serif; font-size: 14pt; }h1.cjk { font-family: "DejaVu Sans"; font-size: 14pt; }h1.ctl { font-size: 14pt; } Getting Started with Business Transformations A well-known proverb states that "A picture is worth a thousand words." In relation to Business Process Management (BPM), a credible analyst might have a few questions. What if the picture was taken from some particular angle, like directly overhead? What if it was taken from only an inch away or a mile away? What if the photographer did not focus the camera correctly? Does the value of the picture depend on who is looking at it? Enterprise Process Maps are analogous in this sense of relative value. Every BPM project (holistic BPM kick-off, enterprise system implementation, Service-oriented Architecture, business process transformation, corporate performance management, etc.) should be begin with a clear understanding of the business environment, from the biggest picture representations down to the lowest level required or desired for the particular project type, scope and objectives. The Enterprise Process Map serves as an entry point for the process architecture and is defined: the single highest level of process mapping for an organization. It is constructed and evaluated during the Strategy Phase of the Business Process Management Lifecycle. (see Figure 1) Fig. 1: Business Process Management Lifecycle Many organizations view such maps as visual abstractions, constructed for the single purpose of process categorization. This, in turn, results in a lesser focus on the inherent intricacies of the Enterprise Process view, which are explored in the course of this paper. With the main focus of a large scale process documentation effort usually underlying an ERP or other system implementation, it is common for the work to be driven by the desire to "get to the details," and to the type of modeling that will derive near-term tangible results. For instance, a project in American Pharmaceutical Company X is driven by the Director of IT. With 120+ systems in place, and a lack of standardized processes across the United States, he and the VP of IT have decided to embark on a long-term ERP implementation. At the forethought of both are questions, such as: How does my application architecture map to the business? What are each application's functionalities, and where do the business processes utilize them? Where can we retire legacy systems? Well-developed BPM methodologies prescribe numerous model types to capture such information and allow for thorough analysis in these areas. Process to application maps, Event Driven Process Chains, etc. provide this level of detail and facilitate the completion of such project-specific questions. These models and such analysis are appropriately carried out at a relatively low level of process detail. (see figure 2) Fig. 2: The Level Concept, Generic Process HierarchySome of the questions remaining are ones of documentation longevity, the continuation of BPM practice in the organization, process governance and ownership, process transparency and clarity in business process objectives and strategy. The Level Concept in Brief Figure 2 shows a generic, four-level process hierarchy depicting the breakdown of a "Process Area" into progressively more detailed process classifications. The number of levels and the names of these levels are flexible, and can be fit to the standards of the organization's chosen terminology or any other chosen reference model that makes logical sense for both short and long term process description. It is at Level 1 (in this case the Process Area level), that the Enterprise Process Map is created. This map and its contained objects become the foundation for a top-down approach to subsequent mapping, object relationship development, and analysis of the organization's processes and its supporting infrastructure. Additionally, this picture serves as a communication device, at an executive level, describing the design of the business in its service to a customer. It seems, then, imperative that the process development effort, and this map, start off on the right foot. Figuring out just what that right foot is, however, is critical and trend-setting in an evolving organization. Key Considerations Enterprise Process Maps are usually not as living and breathing as other process maps. Just as it would be an extremely difficult task to change the foundation of the Sears Tower or a city plan for the entire city of Chicago, the Enterprise Process view of an organization usually remains unchanged once developed (unless, of course, an organization is at a stage where it is capable of true, high-level process innovation). Regardless, the Enterprise Process map is a key first step, and one that must be taken in a precise way. What makes this groundwork solid depends on not only the materials used to construct it (process areas), but also the layout plan and knowledge base of what will be built (the entire process architecture). It seems reasonable that care and consideration are required to create this critical high level map... but what are the important factors? Does the process modeler need to worry about how many process areas there are? About who is looking at it? Should he only use the color pink because it's his boss' favorite color? Interestingly, and perhaps surprisingly, these are all valid considerations that may just require a bit of structure. Below are Three Key Factors to consider when building an Enterprise Process Map: Company Strategic Focus Process Categorization: Customer is Core End-to-end versus Functional Processes Company Strategic Focus As mentioned above, the Enterprise Process Map is created during the Strategy Phase of the Business Process Management Lifecycle. From Oracle Business Process Management methodology for business transformation, it is apparent that business processes exist for the purpose of achieving the strategic objectives of an organization. In a prescribed, top-down approach to process development, it must be ensured that each process fulfills its objectives, and in an aggregated manner, drives fulfillment of the strategic objectives of the company, whether for particular business segments or in a broader sense. This is a crucial point, as the strategic messages of the company must therefore resound in its process maps, in particular one that spans the processes of the complete business: the Enterprise Process Map. One simple example from Company X is shown below (see figure 3). Fig. 3: Company X Enterprise Process Map In reviewing Company X's Enterprise Process Map, one can immediately begin to understand the general strategic mindset of the organization. It shows that Company X is focused on its customers, defining 10 of its process areas belonging to customer-focused categories. Additionally, the organization views these end-customer-oriented process areas as part of customer-fulfilling value chains, while support process areas do not provide as much contiguous value. However, by including both support and strategic process categorizations, it becomes apparent that all processes are considered vital to the success of the customer-oriented focus processes. Below is an example from Company Y (see figure 4). Fig. 4: Company Y Enterprise Process Map Company Y, although also a customer-oriented company, sends a differently focused message with its depiction of the Enterprise Process Map. Along the top of the map is the company's product tree, overarching the process areas, which when executed deliver the products themselves. This indicates one strategic objective of excellence in product quality. Additionally, the view represents a less linear value chain, with strong overlaps of the various process areas. Marketing and quality management are seen as a key support processes, as they span the process lifecycle. Often, companies may incorporate graphics, logos and symbols representing customers and suppliers, and other objects to truly send the strategic message to the business. Other times, Enterprise Process Maps may show high level of responsibility to organizational units, or the application types that support the process areas. It is possible that hundreds of formats and focuses can be applied to an Enterprise Process Map. What is of vital importance, however, is which formats and focuses are chosen to truly represent the direction of the company, and serve as a driver for focusing the business on the strategic objectives set forth in that right. Process Categorization: Customer is Core In the previous two examples, processes were grouped using differing categories and techniques. Company X showed one support and three customer process categorizations using encompassing chevron objects; Customer Y achieved a less distinct categorization using a gradual color scheme. Either way, and in general, modeling of the process areas becomes even more valuable and easily understood within the context of business categorization, be it strategic or otherwise. But how one categorizes their processes is typically more complex than simply choosing object shapes and colors. Previously, it was stated that the ideal is a prescribed top-down approach to developing processes, to make certain linkages all the way back up to corporate strategy. But what about external influences? What forces push and pull corporate strategy? Industry maturity, product lifecycle, market profitability, competition, etc. can all drive the critical success factors of a particular business segment, or the company as a whole, in addition to previous corporate strategy. This may seem to be turning into a discussion of theory, but that is far from the case. In fact, in years of recent study and evolution of the way businesses operate, cross-industry and across the globe, one invariable has surfaced with such strength to make it undeniable in the game plan of any strategy fit for survival. That constant is the customer. Many of a company's critical success factors, in any business segment, relate to the customer: customer retention, satisfaction, loyalty, etc. Businesses serve customers, and so do a business's processes, mapped or unmapped. The most effective way to categorize processes is in a manner that visualizes convergence to what is core for a company. It is the value chain, beginning with the customer in mind, and ending with the fulfillment of that customer, that becomes the core or the centerpiece of the Enterprise Process Map. (See figure 5) Fig. 5: Company Z Enterprise Process Map Company Z has what may be viewed as several different perspectives or "cuts" baked into their Enterprise Process Map. It has divided its processes into three main categories (top, middle, and bottom) of Management Processes, the Core Value Chain and Supporting Processes. The Core category begins with Corporate Marketing (which contains the activities of beginning to engage customers) and ends with Customer Service Management. Within the value chain, this company has divided into the focus areas of their two primary business lines, Foods and Beverages. Does this mean that areas, such as Strategy, Information Management or Project Management are not as important as those in the Core category? No! In some cases, though, depending on the organization's understanding of high-level BPM concepts, use of category names, such as "Core," "Management" or "Support," can be a touchy subject. What is important to understand, is that no matter the nomenclature chosen, the Core processes are those that drive directly to customer value, Support processes are those which make the Core processes possible to execute, and Management Processes are those which steer and influence the Core. Some common terms for these three basic categorizations are Core, Customer Fulfillment, Customer Relationship Management, Governing, Controlling, Enabling, Support, etc. End-to-end versus Functional Processes Every high and low level of process: function, task, activity, process/work step (whatever an organization calls it), should add value to the flow of business in an organization. Suppose that within the process "Deliver package," there is a documented task titled "Stop for ice cream." It doesn't take a process expert to deduce the room for improvement. Though stopping for ice cream may create gain for the one person performing it, it likely benefits neither the organization nor, more importantly, the customer. In most cases, "Stop for ice cream" wouldn't make it past the first pass of To-Be process development. What would make the cut, however, would be a flow of tasks that, each having their own value add, build up to greater and greater levels of process objective. In this case, those tasks would combine to achieve a status of "package delivered." Figure 3 shows a simple example: Just as the package can only be delivered (outcome of the process) without first being retrieved, loaded, and the travel destination reached (outcomes of the process steps), some higher level of process "Play Practical Joke" (e.g., main process or process area) cannot be completed until a package is delivered. It seems that isolated or functionally separated processes, such as "Deliver Package" (shown in Figure 6), are necessary, but are always part of a bigger value chain. Each of these individual processes must be analyzed within the context of that value chain in order to ensure successful end-to-end process performance. For example, this company's "Create Joke Package" process could be operating flawlessly and efficiently, but if a joke is never developed, it cannot be created, so the end-to-end process breaks. Fig. 6: End to End Process Construction That being recognized, it is clear that processes must be viewed as end-to-end, customer-to-customer, and in the context of company strategy. But as can also be seen from the previous example, these vital end-to-end processes cannot be built without the functionally oriented building blocks. Without one, the other cannot be had, or at least not in a complete and organized fashion. As it turns out, but not discussed in depth here, the process modeling effort, BPM organizational development, and comprehensive coverage cannot be fully realized without a semi-functional, process-oriented approach. Then, an Enterprise Process Map should be concerned with both views, the building blocks, and access points to the business-critical end-to-end processes, which they construct. Without the functional building blocks, all streams of work needed for any business transformation would be lost mess of process disorganization. End-to-end views are essential for utilization in optimization in context, understanding customer impacts, base-lining all project phases and aligning objectives. Including both views on an Enterprise Process Map allows management to understand the functional orientation of the company's processes, while still providing access to end-to-end processes, which are most valuable to them. (See figures 7 and 8). Fig. 7: Simplified Enterprise Process Map with end-to-end Access Point The above examples show two unique ways to achieve a successful Enterprise Process Map. The first example is a simple map that shows a high level set of process areas and a separate section with the end-to-end processes of concern for the organization. This particular map is filtered to show just one vital end-to-end process for a project-specific focus. Fig. 8: Detailed Enterprise Process Map showing connected Functional Processes The second example shows a more complex arrangement and categorization of functional processes (the names of each process area has been removed). The end-to-end perspective is achieved at this level through the connections (interfaces at lower levels) between these functional process areas. An important point to note is that the organization of these two views of the Enterprise Process Map is dependent, in large part, on the orientation of its audience, and the complexity of the landscape at the highest level. If both are not apparent, the Enterprise Process Map is missing an opportunity to serve as a holistic, high-level view. Conclusion In the world of BPM, and specifically regarding Enterprise Process Maps, a picture can be worth as many words as the thought and effort that is put into it. Enterprise Process Maps alone cannot change an organization, but they serve more purposes than initially meet the eye, and therefore must be designed in a way that enables a BPM mindset, business process understanding and business transformation efforts. Every Enterprise Process Map will and should be different when looking across organizations. Its design will be driven by company strategy, a level of customer focus, and functional versus end-to-end orientations. This high-level description of the considerations of the Enterprise Process Maps is not a prescriptive "how to" guide. However, a company attempting to create one may not have the practical BPM experience to truly explore its options or impacts to the coming work of business process transformation. The biggest takeaway is that process modeling, at all levels, is a science and an art, and art is open to interpretation. It is critical that the modeler of the highest level of process mapping be a cognoscente of the message he is delivering and the factors at hand. Without sufficient focus on the design of the Enterprise Process Map, an entire BPM effort may suffer. For additional information please check: Oracle Business Process Management.

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  • Introducción a ENUM (E.164 Number Mapping)

    - by raul.goycoolea
    E.164 Number Mapping (ENUM o Enum) se diseñó para resolver la cuestión de como se pueden encontrar servicios de internet mediante un número telefónico, es decir cómo se pueden usar los los teléfonos, que solamente tienen 12 teclas, para acceder a servicios de Internet. La parte más básica de ENUM es por tanto la convergencia de las redes del STDP y la IP; ENUM hace que pueda haber una correspondencia entre un número telefónico y un identificador de Internet. En síntesis, Enum es un conjunto de protocolos para convertir números E.164 en URIs, y viceversa, de modo que el sistema de numeración E.164 tenga una función de correspondencia con las direcciones URI en Internet. Esta función es necesaria porque un número telefónico no tiene sentido en el mundo IP, ni una dirección IP tiene sentido en las redes telefónicas. Así, mediante esta técnica, las comunicaciones cuyo destino se marque con un número E.164, puedan terminar en el identificador correcto (número E.164 si termina en el STDP, o URI si termina en redes IP). La solución técnica de mirar en una base de datos cual es el identificador de destino tiene consecuencias muy interesantes, como que la llamada se pueda terminar donde desee el abonado llamado. Esta es una de las características que ofrece ENUM : el destino concreto, el terminal o terminales de terminación, no lo decide quien inicia la llamada o envía el mensaje sino la persona que es llamada o recibe el mensaje, que ha escrito sus preferencias en una base de datos. En otras palabras, el destinatario de la llamada decide cómo quiere ser contactado, tanto si lo que se le comunica es un email, o un sms, o telefax, o una llamada de voz. Cuando alguien quiera llamarle a usted, lo que tiene que hacer el llamante es seleccionar su nombre (el del llamado) en la libreta de direcciones del terminal o marcar su número ENUM. Una aplicación informática obtendrá de una base de datos los datos de contacto y disponibilidad que usted decidió. Y el mensaje le será remitido tal como usted especificó en dicha base de datos. Esto es algo nuevo que permite que usted, como persona llamada, defina sus preferencias de terminación para cualquier tipo de contenido. Por ejemplo, usted puede querer que todos los emails le sean enviados como sms o que los mensajes de voz se le remitan como emails; las comunicaciones ya no dependen de donde esté usted o deque tipo de terminal utiliza (teléfono, pda, internet). Además, con ENUM usted puede gestionar la portabilidad de sus números fijos y móviles. ENUM emplea una técnica de búsqueda indirecta en una base de datos que tiene los registros NAPTR ("Naming Authority Pointer Resource Records" tal como lo define el RFC 2915), y que utiliza el número telefónico Enum como clave de búsqueda, para obtener qué URIs corresponden a cada número telefónico. La base de datos que almacena estos registros es del tipo DNS.Si bien en uno de sus diversos usos sirve para facilitar las llamadas de usuarios de VoIP entre redes tradicionales del STDP y redes IP, debe tenerse en cuenta que ENUM no es una función de VoIP sino que es un mecanismo de conversión entre números/identificadores. Por tanto no debe ser confundido con el uso normal de enrutar las llamadas de VoIP mediante los protocolos SIP y H.323. ENUM puede ser muy útil para aquellas organizaciones que quieran tener normalizada la manera en que las aplicaciones acceden a los datos de comunicación de cada usuario. FundamentosPara que la convergencia entre el Sistema Telefónico Disponible al Público (STDP) y la Telefonía por Internet o Voz sobre IP (VoIP) y que el desarrollo de nuevos servicios multimedia tengan menos obstáculos, es fundamental que los usuarios puedan realizar sus llamadas tal como están acostumbrados a hacerlo, marcando números. Para eso, es preciso que haya un sistema universal de correspondencia de número a direcciones IP (y viceversa) y que las diferentes redes se puedan interconectar. Hay varias fórmulas que permiten que un número telefónico sirva para establecer comunicación con múltiples servicios. Una de estas fórmulas es el Electronic Number Mapping System ENUM, normalizado por el grupo de tareas especiales de ingeniería en Internet (IETF, Internet engineering task force), del que trata este artículo, que emplea la numeración E.164, los protocolos y la infraestructura telefónica para acceder indirectamente a diferentes servicios. Por tanto, se accede a un servicio mediante un identificador numérico universal: un número telefónico tradicional. ENUM permite comunicar las direcciones del mundo IP con las del mundo telefónico, y viceversa, sin problemas. Antes de entrar en mayores profundidades, conviene dar una breve pincelada para aclarar cómo se organiza la correspondencia entre números o URI. Para ello imaginemos una llamada que se inicia desde el servicio telefónico tradicional con destino a un número Enum. En ENUM Público, el abonado o usuario Enum a quien va destinada lallamada, habrá decidido incluir en la base de datos Enum uno o varios URI o números E.164, que forman una lista con sus preferencias para terminar la llamada. Y el sistema como se explica más adelante, elegirá cual es el número o URI adecuado para dicha terminación. Por tanto como resultado de la consulta a la base dedatos Enum siempre se da una relación unívoca entre el número Enum marcado y el de terminación, conforme a los deseos de la persona llamada.Variedades de ENUMUna posible fuente de confusión cuando se trata sobre ENUM es la variedad de soluciones o sistemas que emplean este calificativo. Lo habitual es que cuando se haga una referencia a ENUM se trate de uno de los siguientes casos: ENUM Público: Es la visión original de ENUM, como base de datos pública, parecida a un directorio, donde el abonado "opta" a ser incluido en la base de datos, que está gestionada en el dominio e164.arpa, delegando a cada país la gestión de la base de datos y la numeración. También se conoce como ENUM de usuario. Carrier ENUM, o ENUM Infraestructura, o de Operador: Cuando grupos de operadores proveedores de servicios de comunicaciones electrónicas acuerdan compartir la información de los abonados por medio de ENUM mediante acuerdos privados. En este caso son los operadores quienes controlan la información del abonado en vez de hacerlo (optar) los propios abonados. Carrier ENUM o ENUM de Operador también se conoce como Infrastructure ENUM o ENUM Infraestructura, y está siendo normalizado por IETF para la interconexión de VoIP (mediante acuerdos de peering). Como se explicará en la correspondiente sección, también se puede utilizar para la portabilidad o conservación de número. ENUM Privado: Un operador de telefonía o de VoIP, o un ISP, o un gran usuario, puede utilizar las técnicas de ENUM en sus redes y en las de sus clientes sin emplear DNS públicos, con DNS privados o internos. Resulta fácil imaginar como puede utilizarse esta técnica para que compañías multinacionales, o bancos, o agencias de viajes, tengan planes de numeración muy coherentes y eficaces. Cómo funciona ENUMPara conocer cómo funciona Enum, le remitimos a la página correspondiente a ENUM Público, puesto que esa variedad de Enum es la típica, la que dió lugar a todos los procedimientos y normas de IETF .Más detalles sobre: @page { margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } H4 { margin-bottom: 0.08in } H4.ctl { font-family: "Lohit Hindi" } A:link { so-language: zxx } -- ENUM Público. En esta página se explica con cierto detalle como funciona Enum Carrier ENUM o ENUM de Operador ENUM Privado Normas técnicas: RFC 2915: NAPTR RR. The Naming Authority Pointer (NAPTR) DNS Resource Record RFC 3761: ENUM Protocol. The E.164 to Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI) Dynamic Delegation Discovery System (DDDS) Application (ENUM). (obsoletes RFC 2916). RFC 3762: Usage of H323 addresses in ENUM Protocol RFC 3764: Usage of SIP addresses in ENUM Protocol RFC 3824: Using E.164 numbers with SIP RFC 4769: IANA Registration for an Enumservice Containing Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Signaling Information RFC 3026: Berlin Liaison Statement RFC 3953: Telephone Number Mapping (ENUM) Service Registration for Presence Services RFC 2870: Root Name Server Operational Requirements RFC 3482: Number Portability in the Global Switched Telephone Network (GSTN): An Overview RFC 2168: Resolution of Uniform Resource Identifiers using the Domain Name System Organizaciones relacionadas con ENUM RIPE - Adimistrador del nivel 0 de ENUM e164.arpa. ITU-T TSB - Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones ETSI - European Telecommunications Standards Institute VisionNG - Administrador del rango ENUM 878-10 IETF ENUM Chapter

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  • Transformation of Product Management in Telecommunications for Rapid Launch of Next Generation Products

    - by raul.goycoolea
    @font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Courier New"; }@font-face { font-family: "Wingdings"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }a:link, span.MsoHyperlink { color: blue; text-decoration: underline; }a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed { color: purple; text-decoration: underline; }p.MsoListParagraph, li.MsoListParagraph, div.MsoListParagraph { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpMiddle { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, li.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast, div.MsoListParagraphCxSpLast { margin: 0cm 0cm 0.0001pt 36pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }ol { margin-bottom: 0cm; }ul { margin-bottom: 0cm; } The Telecom industry continues to evolve through disruptive products, uncertain markets, shorter product lifecycles and convergence of technologies. Today’s market has moved from network centric to consumer centric and focuses primarily on the customer experience. It has resulted in several product management challenges such as an increased complexity and volume of offerings, creating product variants, accelerating time-to-market, ability to provide multiple product views for varied stakeholders, leveraging OSS intelligence to BSS layer, product co-creation and increasing audit and security concerns for service providers. The document discusses how enterprise product management enabled by PLM-based product catalogue solutions helps to launch next generation products rapidly in the context of the Telecommunication Industry.   1.0.       Introduction   Figure 1: Business Scenario   Modern business demands the launch of complex products in a very short timeframe and effecting changes in the price plan faster without IT intervention. One of the key transformation initiatives companies are focusing on is in the area of product management transformation and operational efficiency improvement. As part of these initiatives, companies are investing in best- in-class COTs-based Product Management solutions developed on industry-wide standards.   The new COTs packages are planned to integrate with existing or new B/OSS systems to provide a strategic end-to-end agile solution for reduced time-to-market and order journey time. In addition, system rationalization is being undertaken to phase out legacy systems and migrate to strategic systems.   2.0.       An Overview of Product Management in Telecom   Product data in telecom is multi- dimensional and difficult to manage. It increased significantly due to the complexity of the product, product offerings on the converged network, increased volume of offerings, bundled offering structures and ever increasing regulatory requirements.   In addition, the shrinking product lifecycle in telecom makes it difficult to manage the dynamic product data. Mergers and acquisitions coupled with organic growth pose major challenges in product portfolio management. It is a roadblock in the journey towards becoming an agile organization.       Figure 2: Complexity in Product Management   Network Technology’ is the new dimension in telecom product management where the same products are realized through different networks i.e., Soiled network to Converged network. Consequently, the product solution is different.     Figure 3: Current Scenario - Pain Points in Product Management   The major business implications arising out of the current scenario are slow time-to-market and an inefficient process that affects innovation.   3.0. Transformation of Next Generation Product Management   Companies must focus on their Product Management Transformation Journey in the areas of:   ·       Management of single truth of product information across the organization/geographies which is currently managed in heterogeneous systems   ·       Management of the Intellectual Property (IP) on the product concept and partnership in the design of discrete components to integrate into the system   ·       Leveraging structured and unstructured product data within the extended enterprise to extract consumer insights and drive innovation   ·       Management of effective operational separation to comply with regulatory bodies   ·       Reuse of existing designs and add relevant features such as value-added services to enable effective product bundling     Figure 4: Next generation needs   PLM-based Enterprise Product Catalogue solutions efficiently address the above requirements and act as an enabler towards product management transformation and rapid product launch.   4.0. PLM-based Enterprise Product Management     Figure 5: PLM-based Enterprise Product Mastering   Enterprise Product Management (EPM) enables the business to manage complex product attributes of data in complex environments. Product Mastering helps create a 'single view' of the product by creating a business-driven, IT-supported environment where a global 'single truth record' is created, managed and reused.   4.1 The Business Case for Telco PLM-based solutions for Enterprise Product Management   ·       Telco PLM-based Product Mastering solutions provide a centralized authoring environment for product definition and control of all product data and rules   ·       PLM packages are designed to support multiple perspectives of product data (ordering perspective, billing perspective, provisioning perspective)   ·       Maintains relationships/links between different elements of the entire product definition   ·       Telco PLM packages are specialized in next generation lifecycle management requirements of products such as revision and state management, test and release management, role management and impact analysis)   ·       Takes into consideration all aspects of OSS product requirements compared to CRM product catalogue solutions where the product data managed is mostly order oriented and transactional     ·       New breed of Telco PLM packages are designed with 'open' standards such as SID and eTOM. They are interoperable, support integration frameworks such as subscription and notification.   ·       Telco PLM packages have developed good collaboration frameworks to integrate suppliers and partners into the product development value chain   4.2 Various Architectures/Approaches for Product Mastering using Telco PLM systems   4. 2.a Single Central Product Management (Mastering) Approach   Figure 6: Single Central Product Management (Master) Approach       This approach is implemented across verticals such as aerospace and automotive. It focuses on a physically centralized product master to which other sources are dependent on. The product definition data (Product bundles, service bundles, price plans, offers and discounts, product configuration rules and market campaigns) is created and maintained physically in a centralized environment. In addition, the product definition/authoring environment is centralized. The existing legacy product definition data available in CRM product catalogue, billing catalogue and the legacy product catalogue is migrated to the centralized PLM-based Enterprise Product Management solution.   Architectural changes must be made in the existing business landscape of applications to create and revise data because the applications have to refer to the central repository for approvals and validation of product configurations. It is achieved by modifying how the applications write data or how the applications can be adapted to use the rules to be managed and published.   Complete product configuration validation will be done in enterprise / central product catalogue and final configuration will be sent to the B/OSS system through the SOA compliant product distribution architecture. The approach/architecture enables greater control in terms of product data management and product data governance.   4.2.b Federated Product Management (Mastering) Architecture     Figure 7: Federated Product Management (Mastering) Architecture   In the federated product mastering approach, the basic unique product definition data (product id, description product hierarchy, basic price plans and simple product design rules) will be centrally created and will be maintained. And, the advanced product definition (Product bundling, promotions, offers & discount plans) will be created in respective down stream OSS systems. The advanced product definition (Product bundling, promotions, offers and discount plans) will be created in respective downstream OSS systems.   For example, basic product definitions such as attributes, product hierarchy and basic price plans will be created and maintained in Enterprise/Central product reference catalogue and distributed to downstream OSS systems. Respective downstream OSS systems build product bundles, promotions, advanced price plans over the basic product definition and master the advanced product definition. Central reference database accesses the respective other source product master data and assembles a point-in-time consolidated view of the product. The approach is typically adapted in some merger and acquisition scenarios where there is a low probability of a central physical authority managing the data. In addition, the migration effort in this case is minimal and there are no big architectural changes to the organization application landscape. However, this approach will not result in better product data management and data governance.   5.0 Customer Scenario – Before EPC deployment   A leading global telecommunications service provider wanted to launch a quad play and triple play service offering in the shortest possible lead time. The service provider was offering Broadband and VoIP services to customers. The company wanted to reuse a majority of the Broadband services and price plans and bundle them with new wireless and IPTV services for quad play and triple play. The challenges in launching the new service offerings were:       Figure 8: Triple Play Plan   ·       Broadband product data was stored in multiple product catalogues (CRM catalogue, Billing catalogue, spread sheets)   ·       Product managers spent a lot of time performing tasks involving duplication or re-keying of data. Manual effort caused errors, cost and time over-runs.   ·       No effective product and price data governance mechanism. Price change issues arising from the lack of data consistency across systems resulted in leakage of customer value and revenue.   ·       Product data had re-usability issues and was not in a structured format. It resulted in uncontrolled product portfolio creation and product management issues.   ·       Lack of enterprise product model resulted into product distribution challenges and thus delays in product launch.   ·       Designers are constrained by existing legacy product management solutions to model product/service requirements and product configuration rules such as upgrading, downgrading and cross selling.    5.1 Customer Scenario - After EPC deployment     Figure 9: SOA-based end-to-end EPC Solution   The company deployed PLM-based Enterprise Product Catalogue solutions to launch quad play service after evaluating various product catalogues. The broadband product offering, service and price data were migrated to the new system, and the product and price plan hierarchy for new offerings were created using the entities defined in the Enterprise Product Model. Supplier product catalogue data such as routers and set up boxes were loaded onto the new solution through SOA-based web service. Price plans and configuration rules were built in the new system. The validated final product configurations were extracted from the product catalogue in a SID format and were distributed to the downstream B/OSS systems through exposed SOA-based web services. The transformations required for the B/OSS system were handled using the transformation layer as part of the solution.   6.0 How PLM enabled Product Management Transformation         Figure 10: Product Management Transformation     PLM-based Product Catalogue Solution helped the customer reduce the product launch cycle time by 30% and enable transformation of Product Management for next generation services.   7.0 Conclusion   On the one hand, the telecom industry is undergoing changes due to disruptions, uncertain product markets and increased complexity of products. On the other hand, the ARPU is decreasing year-on-year. Communications Service Providers are embarking on convergence, bundled service offerings, flexibility to cross-sell and up-sell, introduce new value-added services, leverage Web 2.0 concepts and network capabilities. Consequently, large scale IT transformation initiatives to improve their ARPU supporting network and business transformations are a business imperative. Product Management has become a focus area. Companies are investing in best-in- class COTS solutions to reduce time-to-market, ensure rapid service delivery and improve operational efficiency. An efficient PLM-based enterprise product mastering solution plays a key role in achieving zero touch automation and rapid product launch.   References:   1.     Preston G.Smith, Donald G.Reineristsem, Van Nostrand Reinhold “Developing Products in Half the time”.   2.     John G. Innes, "Achieving Successful Product Change", Pitman Publishing.   3.     D T Pham and R M Setchi (16th Jan, 2001) "Authoring environment for documentation development" University of Wales Cardiff, U.K., Proceedings on Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Vol. 215, Part B.   4.     Oracle Product Hub for Communications:   http://www.oracle.com/us/products/applications/master-data-management/product-hub-082059.html  

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  • Understanding the value of Customer Experience & Loyalty for the Telecommunications Industry

    - by raul.goycoolea
    Worried by economic woes and market forces, especially in mature markets, communications service providers (CSPs) increasingly focus on improving customer experience. In fact, it seems difficult to find a major message by a C-level executive in the developed world that does not include something on "meeting and exceeding customers' needs". Frequently in customer satisfaction studies by prominent firms, CSPs fall short of the leadership demonstrated by other industries that take customer-centric approaches to their bottom-line strategies. Consider the following:Despite the continued impact of global economic crisis, in July 2010, Apple Computer posted record revenue and net quarterly profit. Those who attribute the results primarily to the iPhone 4 launch should note that Apple also shipped around 30% more Macintosh computers than the same period the previous year. Even sales of the iPod line increased by 8% in a highly commoditized, shrinking media player market. Finally, Apple began selling iPads during the quarter, with total sales of more than 3 million units. What does Apple have that the others lack? Well, some great products (and services) to be sure, but it also excels at customer service and support, marketing, and distribution, and has one of the strongest brands globally. Its products are useful, simple to use, easy to acquire and augment, high quality, and considered very cool. They also evoke such an emotional response from many of Apple's customers, which they turn up their noses at competitive products.In other words, Apple appears to have mastered virtually every aspect of customer experience and the resultant loyalty of its customer base - even in difficult financial times. Through that unwavering customer focus, Apple continues to drive its revenues and profits to new heights. Other customer loyalty leaders like Wal-Mart, Google, Toyota and Honda are also doing well by focusing on customer experience as an essential driver of profitability. Service providers should note this performance and ask themselves how they might leverage the same principles to increase their own profitability. After all, that is what customer experience and loyalty are all about: profitability.To successfully manage all the critical touch points of customer experience, CSPs must shun the one-size-fits-all approach. They can no longer afford to view customer service fundamentally as an act of altruism - which mentality dates back to the industry's civil service days, when CSPs were typically government organizations that were critical to economic development and public safety.As regulators and public officials have pushed, and continue to push, service providers to new heights of reliability - using incentives and punishments - most CSPs already have some of the fundamental building blocks of customer service in place. Yet despite that history and experience, service providers still lag other industries in providing what is seen as good customer service.As we observed in the TMF's 2009 Insights Research report, Customer Experience Management: Driving Loyalty & Profitability there has been resurgence in interest by CSPs. More and more of them have stated ambitions to catch up other industries, and they are realizing that good customer service is a powerful strategy for increasing business performance and profitability, not an act of good will.CSPs are recognizing the connection between customer experience and profitability, as demonstrated in many studies. For example, according to research by Bain & Company, a 5 percent improvement in customer retention rates can yield as much as a 75 percent increase in profits for companies across a range of industries.After decades of customer experience strategy formulation, Bain partner and business author, Frederick Reichheld, considers "would you recommend us to a friend?" as the ultimate question for a customer. How many times have you or your friends recommended an iPod, iPhone or a Mac? What do your children recommend to their peers? Their peers to them?There are certain steps service providers have to take to create more personalized relationships with their customers, as well as reduce churn and increase profitability, all while becoming leaner and more agile. First, they have to define customer experience, we define it as the result of the sum of observations, perceptions, thoughts and feelings arising from interactions and relationships between customers and their service provider(s). Virtually every customer touch point - whether directly or indirectly linked to service providers and their partners - contributes to customer perception, satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately profitability. Gaining leadership in customer experience and satisfaction will not be a simple task, as it is affected by virtually every customer-facing aspect of the service provider, and in turn impacts the service provider deeply - especially on the all-important bottom line. The scope of issues affecting customer experience is complex and dynamic.With new services, devices and applications extending the basis of customer experience to domains beyond the direct control of the service provider, it is likely to increase in complexity and dynamism.Customer loyalty = increased profitsAs stated earlier, customer experience programs are not fundamentally altruistic exercises, but a strategic means of improving competitiveness and profitability in the short and long term. Loyalty is essential to deriving long term profits from customers.Some of the earliest loyalty programs date back to the 1930s, when packaged goods companies offered embedded coupons for rewards to buyers, and eventually retail chains began offering reward programs to frequent shoppers. These programs continued for decades but were leapfrogged in the 1980s by more aggressive programs from the airlines.This movement was led by American Airlines, which launched the first full-scale loyalty marketing program of the modern era with the AAdvantage frequent flyer scheme. It was the first to reward frequent fliers with notional air miles that could be accumulated and later redeemed for free travel. Figure 1: Opportunities example of Customer loyalty driven profitOther airlines and travel providers were quick to grasp the incredible value of providing customers with an incentive to use their company exclusively. Within a few years, dozens of travel industry companies launched similar initiatives and now loyalty programs are achieving near-ubiquity in many service industries, especially those in which it is difficult to differentiate offerings by product attributes.The belief is that increased profitability will result from customer retention efforts because:•    The cost of acquisition occurs only at the beginning of a relationship: the longer the relationship, the lower the amortized cost;•    Account maintenance costs decline as a percentage of total costs, or as a percentage of revenue, over the lifetime of the relationship;•    Long term customers tend to be less inclined to switch and less price sensitive which can result in stable unit sales volume and increases in dollar-sales volume;•    Long term customers may initiate word-of-mouth promotions and referrals, which cost the company nothing and arguably are the most effective form of advertising;•    Long-term customers are more likely to buy ancillary products and higher margin supplemental products;•    Long term customers tend to be satisfied with their relationship with the company and are less likely to switch to competitors, making market entry or competitors gaining market share difficult;•    Regular customers tend to be less expensive to service, as they are familiar with the processes involved, require less 'education', and are consistent in their order placement;•    Increased customer retention and loyalty makes the employees' jobs easier and more satisfying. In turn, happy employees feed back into higher customer satisfaction in a virtuous circle. Figure 2: The virtuous circle of customer loyaltyFigure 2 represents a high-level example of a virtuous cycle driven by customer satisfaction and loyalty, depicting how superiority in product and service offerings, as well as strong customer support by competent employees, lead to higher sales and ultimately profitability. As stated above, this is not a new concept, but succeeding with it is difficult. It has eluded many a company driven to achieve profitability goals. Of course, for this circle to be virtuous, the customer relationship(s) must be profitable.Trying to maintain the loyalty of unprofitable customers is not a viable business strategy. It is, therefore, important that marketers can assess the profitability of each customer (or customer segment), and either improve or terminate relationships that are not profitable. This means each customer's 'relationship costs' must be understood and compared to their 'relationship revenue'. Customer lifetime value (CLV) is the most commonly used metric here, as it is generally accepted as a representation of exactly how much each customer is worth in monetary terms, and therefore a determinant of exactly how much a service provider should be willing to spend to acquire or retain that customer.CLV models make several simplifying assumptions and often involve the following inputs:•    Churn rate represents the percentage of customers who end their relationship with a company in a given period;•    Retention rate is calculated by subtracting the churn rate percentage from 100;•    Period/horizon equates to the units of time into which a customer relationship can be divided for analysis. A year is the most commonly used period for this purpose. Customer lifetime value is a multi-period calculation, often projecting three to seven years into the future. In practice, analysis beyond this point is viewed as too speculative to be reliable. The model horizon is the number of periods used in the calculation;•    Periodic revenue is the amount of revenue collected from a customer in a given period (though this is often extended across multiple periods into the future to understand lifetime value), such as usage revenue, revenues anticipated from cross and upselling, and often some weighting for referrals by a loyal customer to others; •    Retention cost describes the amount of money the service provider must spend, in a given period, to retain an existing customer. Again, this is often forecast across multiple periods. Retention costs include customer support, billing, promotional incentives and so on;•    Discount rate means the cost of capital used to discount future revenue from a customer. Discounting is an advanced method used in more sophisticated CLV calculations;•    Profit margin is the projected profit as a percentage of revenue for the period. This may be reflected as a percentage of gross or net profit. Again, this is generally projected across the model horizon to understand lifetime value.A strong focus on managing these inputs can help service providers realize stronger customer relationships and profits, but there are some obstacles to overcome in achieving accurate calculations of CLV, such as the complexity of allocating costs across the customer base. There are many costs that serve all customers which must be properly allocated across the base, and often a simple proportional allocation across the whole base or a segment may not accurately reflect the true cost of serving that customer;  This is made worse by the fragmentation of customer information, which is likely to be across a variety of product or operations groups, and may be difficult to aggregate due to different representations.In addition, there is the complexity of account relationships and structures to take into consideration. Complex account structures may not be understood or properly represented. For example, a profitable customer may have a separate account for a second home or another family member, which may appear to be unprofitable. If the service provider cannot relate the two accounts, CLV is not properly represented and any resultant cancellation of the apparently unprofitable account may result in the customer churning from the profitable one.In summary, if service providers are to realize strong customer relationships and their attendant profits, there must be a very strong focus on data management. This needs to be coupled with analytics that help business managers and those who work in customer-facing functions offer highly personalized solutions to customers, while maintaining profitability for the service provider. It's clear that acquiring new customers is expensive. Advertising costs, campaign management expenses, promotional service pricing and discounting, and equipment subsidies make a serious dent in a new customer's profitability. That is especially true given the rising subsidies for Smartphone users, which service providers hope will result in greater profits from profits from data services profitability in future.  The situation is made worse by falling prices and greater competition in mature markets.Customer acquisition through industry consolidation isn't cheap either. A North American service provider spent about $2,000 per subscriber in its acquisition of a smaller company earlier this year. While this has allowed it to leapfrog to become the largest mobile service provider in the country, it required a total investment of more than $28 billion (including assumption of the acquiree's debt).While many operating cost synergies clearly made this deal more attractive to the acquiring company, this is certainly an expensive way to acquire customers: the cost per subscriber in this case is not out of line with the prices others have paid for acquisitions.While growth by acquisition certainly increases overall revenues, it often creates tremendous challenges for profitability. Organic growth through increased customer loyalty and retention is a more effective driver of profit, as well as a stronger predictor of future profitability. Service providers, especially those in mature markets, are increasingly recognizing this and taking steps toward a creating a more personalized, flexible and satisfying experience for their customers.In summary, the clearest path to profitability for companies in virtually all industries is through customer retention and maximization of lifetime value. Service providers would do well to recognize this and focus attention on profitable customer relationships.

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  • YouTube Developers Live: Tech Talk on YouTube APIs

    YouTube Developers Live: Tech Talk on YouTube APIs A special broadcast of Raul Furnică's tech talk at GDG Silicon Valley. Raul, the YouTube API Tech Lead, will discuss the technical platform the new YouTube API is built on, the impact of the new APIs on existing developers and applications, and the new features never seen before in previous versions of the API. Deck for video can be found here: goo.gl Please note, there will not be open Q/A this week. From: GoogleDevelopers Views: 0 0 ratings Time: 01:00:00 More in Science & Technology

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  • Writing a job requirement for a web application developer

    - by Raul Agrait
    I'm currently writing a job requirement for a software engineer position for my company, in which we are looking for a developer to work on client-side web application work. How should I title the job title / position? I don't necessarily want to call it a "Web Developer", for fear that it might attract more designer-y types. On the other hand, "Software Engineer" doesn't really give the indication that the work, while application based, will be web-based. Is "Web Application Software Engineer" a valid position title? Also, I'm somewhat torn on what the required skills set should be. I don't necessarily think that the ideal candidate should have x years of experience in say, JavaScript or ActionScript, but rather am just looking for someone who has experience in developing client-side applications, and is willing to learn and develop web applications. My current attempt at this, is that I have a section in which I state: Experience in the following frameworks and technologies are a plus, but not necessarily required for the position:

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  • Can't delete an iptables chain

    - by Raul Adrian Altavano
    I'm having a problem on deleting a user-defined chain. these the are rules I entered. sudo iptables -t mangle -N internet sudo iptables -t mangle -A PREROUTING -i eth1 -p tcp -m tcp --dport 80 -j internet sudo iptables -t mangle -A internet -j MARK --set-mark 99 sudo iptables -t nat -A PREROUTING -i eth1 -p tcp -m mark --mark 99 -m tcp --dport 80 -j DNAT --to-destination 192.168.3.1 When i'm using -X or -D, it gives me this error iptables: No chain/target/match by that name.

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  • How to Handle Managing a Coding Project With 8 Friends?

    - by Raul
    I usually code by myself but currently I need to do a java web-based project with 8 of my friends. I would like to ask the following questions: 1) How to document the development properly? Like how to keep a daily log? Any software or format suggested? What things do you think are important to be included in the log? 2) How to code together? Is there any software/IDE that allows a team to code together? Something ike google docs? 3) How to do a proper backup for a team project? Any software or tips to share?

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  • Ubuntu 12.10 overheats HP dv6t

    - by raul
    12.10 in my hp dv6t-6c00 I'm worried about the heat... I followed some advice, and I think that I disabled ATI card, that improved the fan activity and reduced the temperature a little bit. But now fan is starting and stopping all the time, according to the Jupiter applet, temp goes from 45 degrees to 58-59.... (without any load) Should I worry? What can I do to solve this? What is the normal temp?

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  • Free web hosting that allows JavaScript and CSS

    - by Raul Agrait
    I was considering using Google Sites to host some webpages with HTML5 and JavaScript experiments I'm trying out, but it seems that they don't allow JavaScript. Does anybody have any good suggestions for a free web hosting service where I can upload simple HTML/CSS & JavaScript experiments? I don't have large bandwidth needs, nor do I need a WYSIWYG editor. Ideally I'd like to just upload the HTML, CSS, and JS files directly.

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  • What command should be used to connect via SSH through squid proxy?

    - by Raul Cardoso
    I have set up a Squid HTTP Proxy (in centOS) and intended to use it also for ssh connections. Managed to configure putty (in a windows client) to use this proxy while connecting by ssh. Confirmed in the "target host" that the ssh connection was coming from Proxy server ip instead of the windows client IP. Used: targethost: 22 for ssh proxyserv: 3128 for proxy (along with proxy credentials) I'm now having problems connecting to the "target host" using Ubuntu and the same proxy server. I have tried the following: [email protected]:~$ connect-proxy -H [email protected]:3128 targethost 22 Enter proxy authentication password for [email protected]: SSH-2.0-OpenSSH_6.2p2 Ubuntu-6 It hangs in last line, expecting some input. All attempts resulted in a "Protocol mismatch." error. Putty successfully connects to the http proxy and sends credentials, showing me ssh login right away. - How to do (with commands in Ubuntu) the same putty does? - Is there any other way than connect-proxy command to do this? Edit: Also tried the following with same result ("Protocol mismatch") [email protected]:~$ connect-proxy -H [email protected]:3128 targethost 22 ssh -l myshel_login Thanks in advance Edit: Solution details (thanks to NickW pointing the right way) installed corkscrew and added to ssh_config Host targethost ProxyCommand corkscrew proxyserv 3128 %h %p /etc/ssh/proxypass created proxypass file login:password Restarted ssh and used a simple ssh command ssh [email protected] (ssh password was asked as usual)

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  • How to edit semi-plaintext file and maintaining character structure?

    - by Raul
    I am using a software (Groupmail from Infacta) that uses exact / absolute %PATHS% for saving some settings in specific semi-plaintext file. This is a really bad idea because you can't move to USER folder, or like my case it does not work after migrating to a new computer with different language. For example: C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Local Settings\Application Data\Infacta is different than C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Configuración local\Datos de programa\Infacta Obviously, the software does not work well. I tried to solve this using Find/Replace the new PATH with Notepad++. While the Groupmail software loads well and shows settings correctly, the software fails when trying to save data on that file. I guess this is because length or number of replaced characters is different and also it corrupt the file. Please could you help me to edit this file maintaining file integrity / structure?

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  • jQuery jqGrid TreeGrid not functionining properly

    - by Raul Agrait
    Hello. I am having trouble constructing a jqGrid TreeGrid using local data. This method works just fine as a regular grid if you comment out the treeGrid and ExpandColumn attributes, but once you add those to try to make it a tree grid, it doesn't create the tree grid, and it no longer sorts properly. jQuery(function(){ var gridOptions = { datatype: "local", height: 250, colNames: ['Name', 'Type', 'Last Modified On', 'Last Modified By'], colModel: [{name: 'name', index: 'name', width: 200, sorttype: 'text'}, {name: 'type', index: 'type', width: 200, sorttype: 'text'}, {name: 'modifiedon', index: 'modifiedon', width: 200, sorttype: 'date'}, {name: 'modifiedby', index: 'modifiedby', width: 200, sorttype: 'text'}], treeGrid: true, ExpandColumn: 'name', caption: "My Grid" }; jQuery("#treeGrid").jqGrid(gridOptions); var gridData = [ {name: "My File", type: "My File Type", modifiedon: "03/10/2010", modifiedby"Strong Sad", lft: "1", rgt: "8", level: "0"}, {name: "One of Everything", type: "Word Document", modifiedon: "02/12/2009", modifiedby: "Strong Bad", lft: "2", rgt: "5", level: "0"}, {name: "My Presentation", type: "PowerPoint", modifiedon: "01/23/2009", modifiedby: "The Cheat", lft: "3", rgt: "4", level: "0"} ]; for (var i = 0; i < gridData.length; i++) { jQuery("#treeGrid").jqGrid('addRowData', i + 1, gridData[i]); } });

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  • How to get reviews success message in magento?

    - by Raul
    How to get revies success message in magento? Array ( [core] = Array ( [_session_validator_data] = Array ( [remote_addr] = 192.168.151.102 [http_via] = [http_x_forwarded_for] = [http_user_agent] = Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/533.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/5.0.375.70 Safari/533.4 ) [session_hosts] => Array ( [technova2] => 1 ) [messages] => Mage_Core_Model_Message_Collection Object ( [_messages:protected] => Array ( ) [_lastAddedMessage:protected] => Mage_Core_Model_Message_Success Object ( [_type:protected] => success [_code:protected] => Your review has been accepted for moderation [_class:protected] => [_method:protected] => [_identifier:protected] => [_isSticky:protected] => ) ) [just_voted_poll] => [visitor_data] => Array ( [] => [server_addr] => -1062692990 [remote_addr] => -1062693018 [http_secure] => [http_host] => technova2 [http_user_agent] => Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/533.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/5.0.375.70 Safari/533.4 [http_accept_language] => en-US,en;q=0.8 [http_accept_charset] => ISO-8859-1,utf-8;q=0.7,*;q=0.3 [request_uri] => /~rahuls/sextoys/index.php/review/product/list/id/169/ [session_id] => 21bq2vtkup5m1gtghknlu1tit42c6dup [http_referer] => http://technova2/~rahuls/sextoys/index.php/review/product/list/id/169/ [first_visit_at] => 2010-06-16 05:49:56 [is_new_visitor] => [last_visit_at] => 2010-06-16 06:00:00 [visitor_id] => 935 [last_url_id] => 23558 ) [last_url] => http://technova2/~rahuls/sextoys/index.php/review/product/list/id/169/ ) [_cookie_revalidate] => 1276669711 [customer_base] => Array ( [_session_validator_data] => Array ( [remote_addr] => 192.168.151.102 [http_via] => [http_x_forwarded_for] => [http_user_agent] => Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/533.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/5.0.375.70 Safari/533.4 ) [session_hosts] => Array ( [technova2] => 1 ) [id] => [messages] => Mage_Core_Model_Message_Collection Object ( [_messages:protected] => Array ( ) [_lastAddedMessage:protected] => ) ) [checkout] => Array ( [_session_validator_data] => Array ( [remote_addr] => 192.168.151.102 [http_via] => [http_x_forwarded_for] => [http_user_agent] => Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/533.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/5.0.375.70 Safari/533.4 ) [session_hosts] => Array ( [technova2] => 1 ) ) [review] => Array ( [_session_validator_data] => Array ( [remote_addr] => 192.168.151.102 [http_via] => [http_x_forwarded_for] => [http_user_agent] => Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/533.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/5.0.375.70 Safari/533.4 ) [session_hosts] => Array ( [technova2] => 1 ) [messages] => Mage_Core_Model_Message_Collection Object ( [_messages:protected] => Array ( ) [_lastAddedMessage:protected] => ) ) [store_default] => Array ( [_session_validator_data] => Array ( [remote_addr] => 192.168.151.102 [http_via] => [http_x_forwarded_for] => [http_user_agent] => Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US) AppleWebKit/533.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/5.0.375.70 Safari/533.4 ) [session_hosts] => Array ( [technova2] => 1 ) ) ) After posting the review i want to display the message: Your review has been accepted for moderation. which appears in the session array. but how to fetch it :(. please help. Thanks in advance.

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  • How to stop SWF inside of a jQuery UI tab from reloading

    - by Raul Agrait
    I have a SWF movie inside of a jQuery UI tab, and the problem I'm having is that the SWF gets reloaded everytime I click away from the tab, onto another tab, and then click back. I can inspect the DOM and see that the div containing the SWF is still in the DOM when I click away, so I don't know why this it seems to reload it when I click back to the tab. I added the following CSS rules to try to prevent the display being set to: none, but the Flash movie is still reloading: .ui-tabs .ui-tabs-hide { display: block !important; position: absolute; left: -10000px; }

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  • Problem counting item frequency on T-SQL

    - by Raúl Roa
    I'm trying to count the frequency of numbers from 1 to 100 on different fields of a table. Let's say I have the table "Results" with the following data: LottoId Winner Second Third --------- --------- --------- --------- 1 1 2 3 2 1 2 3 I'd like to be able to get the frequency per numbers. For that I'm using the following code: --Creating numbers temp table CREATE TABLE #Numbers( Number int) --Inserting the numbers into the temp table declare @counter int set @counter = 0 while @counter < 100 begin set @counter = @counter + 1 INSERT INTO #Numbers(Number) VALUES(@counter) end -- SELECT #Numbers.Number, Count(Results.Winner) as Winner,Count(Results.Second) as Second, Count(Results.Third) as Third FROM #Numbers LEFT JOIN Results ON #Numbers.Number = Results.Winner OR #Numbers.Number = Results.Second OR #Numbers.Number = Results.Third GROUP BY #Numbers.Number The problem is that the counts are repeating the same values for each number. In this particular case I'm getting the following result: Number Winner Second Third --------- --------- --------- --------- 1 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 2 2 2 ... When I should get this: Number Winner Second Third --------- --------- --------- --------- 1 2 0 0 2 0 2 0 3 0 0 2 ... What am I missing?

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  • install a service on a remote computer from a MSBuild script

    - by Raul
    I have this task that creates a service: Target Name="InstallService" DependsOnTargets="CopyFiles" Exec Command="sc \remotecomputer create "ServiceHost" binPath= "E:\ServiceHost.exe" DisplayName= "ServiceHost"" WorkingDirectory="c:\" ContinueOnError="false" / /Target The problem is that when I run this script it doesn't know the \remotecomputer.

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  • AJAX.NET __doPostBack changes other content

    - by Raul
    Hi. I have an application where a javascript reads the GPS location of the device and sends it to serverside script like this: f() { var initialLocation= Someshit(); document.getElementById('<% = text.ClientID %>').value=initialLocation; var button = document.getElementById('<% = Button4.ClientID %>'); button.click(); } And i have some AJAX.NET code: <asp:UpdatePanel ID="UpdatePanel1" runat="server"> <ContentTemplate> <asp:Button ID="Button4" runat="server" Text="PlaceHolder" onclick="Button4_Click"/> <asp:TextBox ID="text" runat="server"></asp:TextBox> </ContentTemplate> </asp:UpdatePanel> And a bit further down <asp:UpdatePanel ID="UpdatePanel2" runat="server"> <ContentTemplate> <div> <some divs and asp:gridviews and god knows what > </div> <ContentTemplate> </asp:UpdatePanel> The problem is that the the last divs inner content changes when the event of UpdatePanel1 has finished. Why is that? I don't want the content outside of UpdatePanel1 to be changed whenever UpdatePanel1 is doing its thing. Please help.

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  • nhibernate fluent bool to smallint mapping

    - by Raul
    In my application I have a bool property named DisplayIndicator. In the database (DB2) it's correspondence is DISPL_IND column of type smallint. The correspondence is the following: [DisplayINdicator=True, DISPL_IND=1] and [DisplayINdicator=False, DISPL_IND=0] Is it possible to map using nhibernate fluence the bool property to smallint?

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