To eTOM or not to eTOM

December 16, 2009
93 Views

Like many of us in the Telco industry, I’ve been monitoring the works of the TMF (TeleManagement Forum) for a number of years now, and despite having occasionally pondered how I might employ their models, I have never really made any substantial commitment of energy to their adoption. Now I have an opportunity to do this, I am wondering how effective the result might be, given my uncertainty of the level of use of these models by the industry.

Note: The models are now referred to as the TM Forum Solution Frameworks (NGOSS) comprising: eTOM (Enhanced Telecom Operations Map), SID (Shared Information/Data Model), TNA (Integration Framework), and TAM (Telecoms Applications Map).

The issue I have is, whichever way you look at it, to adopt a new model and methodology will incur significant establishment and maintenance costs. And while these may only be in consultant-hours terms (and perhaps some training and membership fees), I am acutely conscious of the benefits, or more to the point – the drawback, of doing so. After all, we all want some bang for our buck, right? Naturally, the fact that it might be my own time wasted on this never entered my mind.

Nevertheless, I have the



Like many of us in the Telco industry, I’ve been monitoring the works of the TMF (TeleManagement Forum) for a number of years now, and despite having occasionally pondered how I might employ their models, I have never really made any substantial commitment of energy to their adoption. Now I have an opportunity to do this, I am wondering how effective the result might be, given my uncertainty of the level of use of these models by the industry.

Note: The models are now referred to as the TM Forum Solution Frameworks (NGOSS) comprising: eTOM (Enhanced Telecom Operations Map), SID (Shared Information/Data Model), TNA (Integration Framework), and TAM (Telecoms Applications Map).

The issue I have is, whichever way you look at it, to adopt a new model and methodology will incur significant establishment and maintenance costs. And while these may only be in consultant-hours terms (and perhaps some training and membership fees), I am acutely conscious of the benefits, or more to the point – the drawback, of doing so. After all, we all want some bang for our buck, right? Naturally, the fact that it might be my own time wasted on this never entered my mind.

Nevertheless, I have the perfect problem for a TMF Solutions Framework. This, as you might imagine, arises from the fact that I work for Teradata where deriving business value from ‘data’ is the essence of the game. In this context I am often asked “how can I use my information more?” or “where are my business opportunities to derive more value from my information assets?” Distilled, these might read: which business processes can I make more efficient, effective, or less costly by leveraging data assets.

The answer to these questions is really very simple: “do something you are not already doing with your data.” But it is the task of articulating what this means in real terms of: Which business process? What data? What action? And so on — for the plethora of possible cases in a Telco (and other industries for that matter) which present the real challenge. That’s where I see the TMF frameworks eTOM and SID playing a key role.

What we are talking about here is a model of Telco business processes (using eTOM) correlated with the data resident in a Telco (using SID), such that analysis and communication of data driven, business analytics opportunities is enabled.

“Hmmm. Sounds familiar,” I hear the Teradata informed say. And you’re right, remarkably so, in fact. Teradata has actively developed and employed a suite of consulting tools during decades of working in this space. I refer here or course to the Teradata BIO maps (Business Improvement Opportunity), LDM (Logical Data Models), and EDWr (Enterprise Data Warehouse Roadmap) planning tools and methodologies.

This then begs the question of, “what is the purpose of this idea in the first place if Teradata already has such models?” To which the unambiguous answer is “standardisation” – the adoption of the constructs, terminology, language and methodology in widespread use by the industry, and as solidified to a standard set by TMF, with a view to availing of all the usual benefits afforded by such a ‘common communications protocol.’

Or is it — in widespread use, that is? Because if not, my case begins to unravel. Which brings me back to my concerns in the first instance: What is the level of adoption of the TMF Frameworks within the industry? How familiar are professionals working in the industry with these models? How useful is it going to be to adopt eTOM and SID in the context of business analytics?

I’m very interested in any and all views here of your own experience with the TM models, and also if anybody is aware of any market research in this area.

Dave Horder

http://au.linkedin.com/in/davidhorder