No BSS/OSS systems are made to solve all the needs for everyone out-of-the-box. Knowing the capabilities and limitations of your systems is fundamental in order to avoid heavy customization which may generate not only costs during development, but also extended support costs and future cost increase for upgrades and development of your business. It is equally important to know when and how customization is a good option to fill the gap.
Nothing fits perfectly
“No COTS software available on the market does exactly what you need”
The Netadmin Nine OSS, like any other so called COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) software, is developed for a specific industry and for certain business processes and market models. You may ask the question: why should I need to invest in any form of additional customization to meet my business requirements? The frank answer is that no COTS software available on the market does exactly what you need. Yes, ready made products have similar functions to your requirements, but no system covers 100% of your use cases. This is why it is essential that you choose an OSS system that does not only cover as much of your business needs as possible, but also a system that can be customized to meet those extra 20% without generating overwhelming amount of implementation and future support and upgrade costs.
Selecting the right OSS solution for your business
“In the end of the day it is always favorable to select a supplier that understands your business needs and involves you in their product development process”
No one wants to find out that they are paying most of the product costs for the features that they do not require for their business and that they are never going to use. On the other hand, it is equally important that the product that you choose supports the most essential parts of your business. The time and effort required to customize a product could be much more than the cost of the product itself and in the worse scenario you could spend more money on customization of the product than building an entire custom solution. As a general guideline, we believe that the following should be considered when choosing a new OSS system:
Are your critical “must have” capabilities available in the product?
Is the price model capability based? That is, can you choose not to pay for capabilities that you do not need?
Can the product be customized fairly easy by you and/or your partner according to your needs?
What is the development strategy of the software vendor? Can you participate and influence the roadmap and direction of the product to better suit your requirements?
Can your supplier offer support and maintenance alternatives for your customizations?
Some people argue that at least 80% of your requirements should be satisfied, or it could even be more efficient to develop an entire custom solution. I would say that this depends heavily on the answer to the above questions. In the end of the day it is always favorable to select a supplier that understands your business needs and involves you in their product development process.
Exploring your requirements
“You may find yourself trying to find the holy grail of all systems that simply does not exist”
First question to ask is what are the other 20% that is not available in the COTS product? If you for example expect that your OSS should have some sort of billing capabilities, we would first want to understand what billing means for you in the OSS context and your expectations. Maybe the capability that you are asking for is not a typical OSS capability at all and more suitable to have in a separate system? Understanding the responsibilities of different systems in your BSS/OSS stack, and when to choose two different vendors instead of one single is essential when planning your environment or you may find yourself trying to find the holy grail of all systems that simply does not exist.
On the other hand, when having a good understanding of the requirements of the 20%, the vendor may provide you with a satisfactory solution based on customization of the product itself or maybe even offer to develop the product together with you to meet your requirements. Being limited to a standard product capability could mean that you would need to compromise your user cases and requirements with the needs of other customers. Listen to you supplier and be open for changing and adopting your processes according to the solution. Netadmin Systems are experts in OSS, and especially OSS for fiber businesses in multi service provider environments and wholesale markets. Our product is purpose built to solve the vast majority of use cases for open access networks, utilities and supporting telecom operators in the transition from older technologies, such as copper and cable, to next generation fiber networks.
However, given the large variety of use cases and scenarios among our customers, it is always a race against the clock to meet new requirements as they arise. For this reason, we have designed and developed our latest version of Netadmin OSS to better answer to the last 20% and future requirements without extensive upgrade projects.
In addition, we can offer extended support and maintenance alternatives for customizations, as well as complete Application Management (AM) commitments, to ensure versioning and upgrading of a customization throughout its lifecycle.
In our upcoming blog “Filling the gaps in OSS requirements in Netadmin Nine” we will discuss different alternatives that Netadmin Systems can offer for delivering functionality that are not provided out-of-the-box initially, either through joint product development or customization.
Choosing a fiber OSS solution – What you have to think about when choosing between a customized solution or a product.