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How to relate to TM Forum ODA as small CSP

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TM Forum ODA is a standardized architecture that helps telecom operators build their system landscape with cheaper and better components. It benefits larger and smaller operators, but implementing it can be challenging. This article provides some tips to help along the way.



TM Forum ODA has primarily been developed to address the challenges larger telecom operators face with their complex system landscapes, where they have many costly and monolithic systems to maintain, update, and replace. By defining ODA components, such as those addressing product catalog, product ordering, and inventory, standardization is achieved that software vendors and telecom operators can adhere to. TM Forum ODA and Open API are also seen as a way to reduce integration costs initially and in the long run. This restructuring journey will affect everyone in the industry, both large and small.


We will all be part of a journey towards TM Forum ODA.




Smaller operators have a slightly different situation

However, smaller operators do not have as complex system landscapes. They do not have as many access technologies, business models, sales channels, and partners. Smaller operators also do not need the same functional depth and capability to handle all possible scenarios in each ODA component.

The processes of smaller operators need to be managed by a small number of individuals with efficient systems. They must be able to solve the processes with few people involved. Also, an important business model now or in the future is wholesale. There is a strong dependency on larger operators. Therefore it must be easy for a larger operator to work with smaller operators.


What will happen in the future?

However, as more and more systems consisting of ODA components are gradually introduced to the market, smaller operators will naturally transition to a partially ODA-based architecture when they replace their systems. It will then be important to integrate with ODA components through Open API. It will also be important to adhere to TM Forum's Information Framework and information models.

Above all, smaller operators will need umbrella systems that consolidate information and ODA components. These umbrella systems could, for example, provide a 360-degree overview of the address, customer, and network. Larger operators will probably do this with their own IT department until there are ODA components, but smaller operators will likely need system vendors to offer this. Developing it themselves is usually possible, but smaller operators are more vulnerable to personal dependencies and do not have the same IT budget as larger operators.

If you are a smaller fiber operator primarily focused on wholesale, you have less need for CRM-related functionality, and it is not certain that the existing ODA components can be scaled down and offered at a lower cost that suits a smaller CSP running wholesale. Larger telecom operators will require smaller operators to use TM Forum's upcoming wholesale standards when integrating their own systems with the systems of smaller operators.




"TM Forum ODA is a standardized architecture for telecom operators. Start considering it now to future-proof your systems sensibly and avoid unnecessary costs."

Johan Hjalmarsson, Product Marketing Manager


So, how should smaller operators approach TM Forum ODA?

It is important that the journey towards TM Forum ODA is value-based and sensible. Above all, it is important to prioritize implementation well so that effort and costs do not accelerate. Having the entire system landscape consist of all ODA components is probably not cost-effective. This will likely change in the future. But it is important to start thinking about ODA-based architecture to future-proof your systems and prepare yourself.

TM Forum also has projects with best practices for Customer Engagement and Experience. They develop information models and APIs to support this. This allows smaller operators to benefit from what larger operators have invested in and makes it possible to stay competitive.

If smaller operators have plans to grow through acquisitions, TM Forum ODA and Open API can be important components in such a journey. ODA components run on cloud technology, making scaling up and managing a growth journey easier. If you are using Open API to connect to systems, it can also make it easier to connect to other systems.

In the integrations you plan to build in the near future, it may be wise to draw inspiration from TM Forum and investigate if you can implement according to an Open API. It could involve TMF673 Geographic Address Management between GIS/network planning and the address registry. It could also involve TMF622 Product Ordering or TMF641 Service Ordering. Similarly, TMF620 Product Catalog Management or TMF633 Service Catalog Management. In this way, you take smaller concrete steps towards the future.

Larger operators have seen increased employee engagement when working with TM Forum ODA. This should also apply to smaller operators. TM Forum can be a way to retain and attract expertise.

If you have a wholesale business model, staying updated on TM Forum is work in this area is important. Visit the Wholesale Broadband Project | TM Forum for more information. Following approaches that standardize and make the connection with service providers cost-effective is essential. This way, you can ensure that service providers want to connect with you.



By starting the journey towards TM Forum ODA in a thoughtful and prioritized manner, smaller CSPs can gain significant business value and reduce risks without incurring excessive costs. Integrating systems based on Open APIs where possible can be a good way to begin the journey.

If you have plans for or already use a wholesale business model, there are interesting projects to watch within TM Forum.

When introducing TM Forum ODA components, you can leverage cloud technology, making it easier to handle acquisitions and scale up. This provides confidence when you need to grow.

By following the developments, you become part of a larger community and gain access to a whole new ecosystem. In other words, you avoid reinventing the wheel over and over again.


Discover More about our transformation journey and download the White Paper for in-depth insights.


Johan HjalmarssonFor more information, please contact

Johan Hjalmarsson, Product Marketing Manager, Netadmin Systems. 
Email: johan.hjalmarsson@netadminsystems.com