Consulting

Prodapt Consulting make use of our business consultants and solution architects for the design, redesign and implementation of billing, fulfilment and assurance processes, and associated IT architectures. We are also involved as project managers for business transformations, the introduction of new services or the rollout of new technologies. Our quality assurance and test consultants ensure that projects and processes achieve the desired level of quality.

We are seasoned IT professionals with a wealth of knowledge of and experience with telecom services, processes, IT, and networks. Therefore, we can act as an intermediate between the network, OSS, CRM, and Billing domains and among changes that span the entire chain.

Telecommunications market

The world of telecommunications and internet is transforming rapidly with the convergence of fixed and mobile networks and the execution of all sorts of IP strategies. Service offerings of fixed, mobile, and cable operators are also converging, in the Consumer market mainly on sales, selfcare and invoice integration – in the business market fully converged bundling.

Fixed infrastructure

The market for fixed infrastructure is characterized by consolidation on the one hand and the application of new technologies, which offer new opportunities, on the other. There is a visible increase of service providers who do not own networks and purchase wholesale services for example in the case of IPTV services, but also Over-The-Top services using the Public Internet connection driving bandwidth needs.

Consolidation takes place in the existing copper network infrastructure. At the same time, the potential of this network is expanded with new technologies such as various DSL/HFC versions. More and more municipalities desire access to fibre glass networks for their inhabitants and are actively stimulating the fibre roll out as well. In short: broadband is a hot topic.

Mobile

The mobile industry is facing many complex challenges. With a converged Data network, yet still providing traditional voice services alongside. Also, the push for bandwidth and quick need for the support of a new Mobile standard 5G is pushing investments from the Operator side – while consumer pricing has lowered rapidly.

The value chains are consequently changing into value networks where new players (specifically application and content providers) fulfil important roles. Business processes and IT systems must support the required businesses and network integrations.

Fierce Competition

A fierce competitive battle is taking place between telecom operators and cable companies. This drives mergers & acquisitions on both the Fixed as well as Mobile market.

Telecom for business

Business customers expect a different level of service quality in comparison with consumer customers. As an operator you must ensure a coherent and consistent level of customer service and experience. Although this sounds simple, it has proven to be a challenging task for many of the service providers.

In our view a customer-focused service provider has the following qualities:

  • The customer can be uniquely identified in the administration
  • The service provider knows the customer and the products well
  • The service provider has insight in the customer communications and the contexts
  • An appropriate proposal is generated based on the customer requirements and the services already being used by the customer

New needs, such as more flexibility in the Customer lifecycle (cross/- upselling and configuration settings) as well as the customer demanding more insights in his service statistics and quality also drive operators to invest in their IT and Network, with near-real-time solutions that are more data driven than before.

“Anything Over IP and IP Over Anything”

With the evolution of broadband comes the convergence to IP. The new motto will be “anything over IP and IP over anything.” Think of VoIP, IP Centrex, IP Trunking and IP interconnect services. All of them use the internet protocol. Voice over IP is now a reliable alternative to traditional telephony services and becomes more and more available for business customers. While VoIP services have become universally available, operators also developed value-added services such as hosted exchange, remote backup, PIN and alarm over IP and other similar SaaS products. In the near future location-based and presence services will be available for the business market. An important element here is the extent to which QoS can be guaranteed for connectivity, applications and services (for instance, through IMS).

Over-the-top internet players are the new competitors

New communication players, such as Skype, Google, and WhatsApp, compete with operators for their basic services: voice, video, and messaging. Little or no distinction is being made between fixed and mobile networks. The means of access to the internet is independent of the application using it. This represents the biggest strategic threat to operators, who run the risk of becoming the providers of “bit pipes” for public internet access.

Prodapt Consulting and Telecom

Prodapt Consulting has a strong foundation in network technologies and the telecom market in The Netherlands and Europe – and with Prodapt Solutions also in the North America. Since our founding in 1987, we have been implementing complex changes and innovations in the telecom and internet industry in collaboration with our customers and business partners. Our expert consultants have developed and integrated business processes with COTS and legacy systems. We all have a passion for new technology and sharp eye for social, economic, and market relevance.

Telecommunications market

Fierce competition, changing service usage, the introduction of new technologies and new regulations are important drivers of change in business processes. These changes also have a process component.

For improving the service offered to the customers, customer relationship management (CRM) processes need to be redefined. For 24/7 customer support and for cost savings, telecom providers put more attention to customer self-support. Self-support allows customers to purchase or change services at any time and resolve certain issues (such as a password reset). It also allows customers to report service incidents and provide online contract and billing information.

Also at the operational level numerous process innovations are introduced. The fulfilment processes within the telecom operators are being harmonized, for maximum process automation. Faster delivery and operational cost reduction are the main drivers behind these innovations.

For improving customer care, telecom operators need to transform from network-oriented to service-oriented operations. Service assurance should be enhanced to identify service impact on network incidents and inform customers directly or indirectly about service impact. Also, outsourcing of IT, network and process management driven by cost reduction paves way for the deployment of new processes. Specific points of attention are the process interfaces between telecom operator and network partner.

Market players from all over the world, united within the Telecom Management Forum (TMF), developed the Business Process Framework (formerly eTOM). This framework serves as the reference for the definition and renewal of the strategic and operational business processes. Besides the Business Process Framework, operators use ITIL for the process improvements focused on service assurance.

Prodapt Consulting supports telecom providers with their process innovations with the help of these frameworks and our extensive industry experience.

For defining and renewing the business processes, our consultants make use of a proven approach, an approach in which the processes are designed in close alignment with the business objectives and in conjunction with the design of the supporting data model and process automation (IT solution).

Within Business Process Management, we pay structural attention to the following aspects of business processes:

  • Analysis and redesign of business processes together with establishment of Key Performance Indicators
  • Modelling: process decomposition models, swim-lanes, sequence diagrams, state/transition diagrams
  • Methodologies: apply effective process design methodologies e.g. Design For Six Sigma (DFSS) for the introduction of new products /processes, Six Sigma DMAIC for improvement of existing products/processes, and Lean Value Stream Maps
  • Implementation: planning, training of employees, data migration, working stock and work in hand, aftercare, and handover to line organization
  • Monitoring and management: immediate measurement of KPIs and structured reporting during implementation
  • Automated support or implementation by means of modelling and simulation tools, workflow engines, and process reporting tools

Trends in BSS & OSS

There is a large diversity in the IT application architectures of telecommunications and internet providers. However, the following common trends and issues can be distinguished:

  • IT applications require increasing agility to anticipate on changes in the market. Front-end systems should allow price changes within a few hours. New propositions should be configured within days. Changes in business processes and business logic should be implemented in a few weeks. Agile development methods like SCRUM can support organizations in filling this need.
  • Traditional telecom services and IT services are more and more converging. Unified communication and collaboration in the cloud services are typical examples.
  • IT application architectures originally designed to support high-volume single product silos (stovepipes) need to be migrated to integrated solutions to offer a large variety of product propositions and product combinations. Bundling of voice, TV/video, and internet services in the consumer market and the convergence of voice and mobile demonstrate this trend.
  • IT application architectures of telecom providers are increasingly integrated with the applications of their customers and partners/suppliers.
  • IT application architectures have expanded during the years and have become too complex. A rationalization or redesign of the IT application landscape is highly desirable. In practice, IT rationalizations are very difficult to execute. The business case for the replacement of IT applications is often difficult to achieve and not implicitly positive.
  • The information models are no longer uniform and up to date because of all kinds of changes that have been implemented over time. Data is often scattered over different databases with possible data inconsistencies. Furthermore, the integration of new applications with legacy applications is complex. The related data migration and the notion that the store must remain open are also complicating factors.
  • Conservation of IT knowledge is under pressure because of increased outsourcing to Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

Prodapt Consulting IT experience

Prodapt Consulting has the required experience and expertise to anticipate these trends and can provide adequate solutions for the mentioned issues. Our consultants are experts in the translation of business requirements into process and IT solutions and their implementation.

Our expertise:

  • IT strategy and business alignment
  • Application and vendor selection
  • IT redesign
  • Functional design
  • Process and IT implementations to support product innovation and process optimization
  • IT integration
  • End-to-end chain-analysis and optimization

Besides our generic process and IT expertise, Prodapt Consulting has the in-depth technical knowhow and experience to support organizations in planning, designing and managing specific application domains.

Business Support Systems / CRM

Business Support Systems (BSS) support the customer relationship management (level 1) process as specified in the Tele Management Forum Business Process Framework (formerly eTOM).

The main goal of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to optimally support the customer (or potential customer) via all feasible communication channels (call centre, internet, email, direct mail, direct contact, etc.). CRM is an integrated approach in which strategy, process technology and people have an important role. It is not enough to implement a CRM application without supporting and training the people during the change process. It should also be validated whether the existing business processes are still applicable in the new situation where the customer comes first.

Besides strategy and processes, technology is an important part of a CRM implementation path. Areas in which technology can support the CRM vision of an organization include:

  • 360-degree customer view; a consistent and uniform view of the customer, products, tickets and all customer communication in one overview across all channels (call centre, internet, shop etc.)
  • Opening channels and implementation of customer self-service with a transparent customer experience
  • De-duplication of customers / improvement of data quality
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) for call centre support
  • Integration with front-end (portals) and back-end systems
  • Marketing support for campaigns, promotions and events
  • Reports and dashboards to support operational, tactical and strategic decisions

In the telecom sector, besides the traditional CRM aspects mentioned, there are aspects such as order orchestration, product modelling, product mastering, etc. These aspects, together with interfaces to billing and provisioning, form a complex whole, in which knowledge of IT architecture, solutions, market knowledge and experience with CRM systems can be crucial for the success of a project.

Besides generic and also telecom-specific BSS knowledge, Prodapt Consulting has gained much experience in package implementations of Siebel, Amdocs-Clarify, Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Huawei BSS and ecommerce applications like Intershop and Magento.

Billing and Revenue Management

At a high level, the billing process can be divided into “charging” and “bill invoice management.” Charging is the process to assign a value (charge) to every event. To support this process, network elements generate “event detail records” to register the usage of a service.
Charging can be performed online or offline. Online charging is executed in real time and is directly related to the actual use of a service. Through authorization and business policies, it is determined whether a user’s balance contains enough funds (prepaid) to continue the actual use of the service.

Offline charging is executed after the service has been used. Processing is not required in real time and is often related to a subscription.

Bill invoice management is the process of creating an invoice on a regular basis (e.g., monthly) and to send this invoice to the customer. The invoice is a compilation of usage, subscription fees, taxes, discounts, and adjustments.

Revenue (assurance) management is the process of collecting invoices and to trigger the appropriate measures in case payments are overdue.

In the billing and revenue management domain the following trends can be distinguished:

  • There is a shift towards converged billing. Converged billing implies that the billing process for all customers, networks and services is handled by one converged platform. This billing convergence is a logical consequence of the telco’s requirement to offer product bundles in the market.
  • There is an ongoing shift from offline charging to online charging. In the mobile market, insist on obtaining real-time insights on their usage. That demand is strongly encouraged by the growing mobile data usage. More mechanisms are emerging that warn users when limits of their bundle or subscription are reached. For international data usage, European legislations are even enforcing operators to inform their customers when the limit of €50 is reached (Bill Shock Prevention).

To enable online charging, a close integration between network elements and charging applications as a Policy Charging and Rules Function (PCRF) are being established, with an application called Diameter being the standard integration protocol in this domain

  • The introduction of one European payment market: The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and the related implementation of the new International Bank Account Number (IBAN) was a big challenge for telecom and internet providers. Support for IBAN and SEPA needed to be incorporated in their billing and revenue assurance applications ultimately by February 1, 2014.  Furthermore, SEPA will enable automated collection throughout Europe.

Also, in billing and revenue assurance Prodapt consultants have deep knowledge and expertise. Key billing applications we have experience in:

  • Billing applications like CSG Single View and Oracle BRM
  • Online charging applications like DigitalRoute MediationZone, and NetNumber
  • Revenue assurance applications like McFocus

Operation Support Systems (OSS)

Operations Support Systems mainly support the TM Forum Business Process Framework (level 1) processes: Service Management & Operations and Resource Management & Operations.

The focus of OSS is in fulfilment and assurance. A limited set of OSS functionality is targeting the billing and revenue management vertical. The core of OSS provides the following set of basic functions:

  • Capacity management for the network (resource and network inventory management)
  • Service delivery (order management &amp end-to-end provisioning)
  • Proactive monitoring of the various network layers in relation to incident reports (fault, performance, and service quality management)
  • Collection, distribution, and usage data (mediation)
  • Workforce orchestration for installation and repair activities (workforce management)

It is crucial that OSS is established from generic and reusable building blocks. The building block approach is not limited to service delivery but should also be incorporated for processes as customer self-care and service assurance.

A thoughtful and comprehensive implementation of the product model and the granularity (number of decomposition layers) are essential. The network inventory should represent the layering of the network solution, service, logical connectivity, physical connectivity and equipment, sites, and at last geographical information. Prodapt Consulting is promoting the use of standardized information models like TM Forum Information Framework (formerly SID) to cover OSS architectural matters.

Our consultants have gained knowledge and experience for many years in OSS projects and programs in roles that varied from program manager to business analyst, designer and technical architect. They have experience with a great variety of applications and solutions:

  • BPM(S) and integration solutions like Websphere Fabric, Cordys, WebLogic, Tibco, and Web Methods
  • Network Inventory applications such as Netcracker, Amdocs-Cramer and NetAdmin
  • OSS solutions such as Comptel, TTI Netrac, Comarch, Amdocs, AxiOSS, Oracle OSM, Oracle Communications ASAP (MetaSolv), Huawei OSS, NetNumber, NetCool and ZSmart
  • Service Assurance applications like BMC Remedy ARS
  • Number portability solutions from PortingXs and Logica TPress/MPress

Networks & Service Platforms

There are many ISPs in the market, and they provide services to clients via so-called access networks. Access networks are telecommunication networks which provide connectivity and access to services like telephony, radio, television and internet. Traditionally, these services are offered via copper, and coaxial cabling and are nowadays combined with fibre techniques and wireless networks. Wireless networks have traditionally been used for the reception of radio and television and for business applications such as radio-telephony services for police forces and fire departments. These radio networks have an important attribute in common as services can be delivered independent of the location. Today, wireless networks are not limited to radio, television and business use but are part of everyday life. The operation of appliances, automobiles and internet is also increasingly depending on wireless networks.

Digitalization and Traffic Growth

With the rise of digital technology in the ‘90s, more and more digital services became available with high quality. Examples include high-definition (HD) television, IPTV, and streaming audio and video over broadband internet. With the rise of cloud services in the office and home environment, data usage on access networks has grown steadily.

The figure below shows an overview of this growth in internet traffic on fixed networks.

Consumers and companies have grown accustomed to the continuous availability of broadband services. However, neither traditional copper networks nor wireless networks were originally designed and dimensioned for massive continuous broadband usage. To meet the increasing demand for capacity a technical network evolution is going on in both fixed and wireless networks.

In this evolution digital techniques are used to increase the capacity, and to benefit even further from combining glass and copper technology and by redesigning / segmenting networks. Other initiatives exist to replace the copper networks between service providers and customers with a fiberglass connection, which increases the capacity by many times for both business and residential customers. This way the network is no longer the bottleneck.

For radio and mobile networks, the capacity is increased not only by the use of digital technologies but also by providing more radio capacity (frequency spectrum) to service providers. An example is the introduction of digital LTE networks and the associated LTE frequency spectrum usage auction by a European country. The figure below shows the increase of internet traffic on mobile networks.

Fixed Broadband

The market of fixed infrastructure is on one hand characterized by consolidation of infrastructure and on the other using new technologies offering new opportunities. This implies the consolidation of the current copper network infrastructure, but also expanding the capabilities of this network with new technologies such as the various DSL/HFC versions and development of COAX and FTTH.

Broadband is a hot issue today with bandwidth increases and its reflection in total traffic across the globe. Strong growth in data traffic is better explained by the increased consumption per connection/user, rather than via increase in broadband penetration. In addition, the rollout of mobile broadband also contributes to increased broadband demand in fixed networks.

Business
Fixed networks provide reliable broadband connections in the business market, for mobile installation points and to other wholesale buyers. In the business market, there are developments in the field of Ethernet VPN, added services on VPN (Voice, PIN, Alarm) and hosted voice.

Consumers
Consumers demand more bandwidth and real-time services. As a result, the rollout of fibre has accelerated, and technologies like Docsis3.0 and VDSL make further use of the existing infrastructures of COAX and copper.

Over-the-top providers
The emergence of over-the-top providers like Google, Skype, and Facebook is the main threat for telecom operators and service providers. These OTT providers feed on the services of carriers and threaten them to be reduced as bit-pipes for their customers, who in turn use the public internet for these applications at their fingertips.

Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband services have been offered by mobile operators for years, for example through 3G/HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) networks. Since 2011, several global operators have rolled out 4G/LTE (Long Time Evolution) networks as well. Following the successful auction of mobile frequencies in December 2012, operators are currently heavily investing in the rollout of the 4G mobile network.

With the arrival of LTE, the mobile broadband service becomes similar to the broadband internet services offered by DSL and cable. A big advantage of mobile broadband is that a fixed connection to a network is not required and therefore broadband internet access is available everywhere.

It is also expected that usage of mobile broadband services will increase due to the upcoming availability of new mobile data equipment. For example, consider the increased functionality on smartphones and tablets and the LTE support of the latest devices. Laptops will, in addition to Wi-Fi, contain an adapter for mobile broadband networks. Also, wireless video surveillance or remote operation of equipment will be used more and more in combination with faster and more reliable mobile connections. Cooperation of operators, ISPs and suppliers are accelerating this development.

The question remains to what extent the users of these devices remain loyal to their existing operator. Smartphones provide better user experience than traditional feature phones, and this takes the user experience USP away from mobile operators.

Because consumers and business users alike are particularly interested in LTE due to its high data rates, an important consideration for them should be how well the network falls back on National LTE Roaming, 3G or Wi-Fi coverage for example.

Mobile-based email, internet and work from home will increase even further in popularity with both business users and consumers. The mobile evolution towards IP-based networks and applications provides new converged services such as complete mobile office environments for computer and telephony. For consumers triple play offers are available in mobile versions in addition to the existing versions via fixed networks.

SIP-ENUM

Prodapt Consulting is active in many areas related to VoIP, hosted voice (IP Centrex) and IP interconnect. There are different standards for VoIP, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and provides a VoIP environment for the initializing and ending phone calls. ENUM is short for Electronic Number Mapping System and is originally developed to link numbers of end users to various IP services; it proves to be a very useful protocol for linking interconnecting VoIP networks of carriers.

At this moment SIP and ENUM are both dominant and de facto standards for VoIP. There are good reasons for this:

  • SIP is future proof: in addition to voice, it can also be used as a protocol for video conferencing and instant messaging
  • SIP and ENUM connect to existing Internet protocols
  • ENUM is the standard adopted by 3GPP standardization to facilitate the translation from a phone number into a routable IP address
  • There is a wide range of peripherals available for SIP
  • Both major supplier / vendors of telecom equipment and the open source community provide different ENUM and SIP implementations

Prodapt Consulting has extensive experience in the implementation of SIP and ENUM projects:

  • Consumer and business SIP implementations
  • Peering based on ENUM and SIP-based platforms
  • Number portability and ENUM
  • Connectivity to network management and BSS/OSS systems

For a proof of concept of the peering platform for the members of the Joint Cable Campaign (JCC) – such as UPC, Ziggo, ZeelandNet and CAIW, Prodapt Consulting received a Global Telecoms Business Innovation Award.

Hosted Voice

Hosted Voice, also known as IP Centrex, is a business telephone service where the customer does not have a telephone exchange (PBX) on site but uses an exchange of a telecom operator as a cloud service.

For Hosted Voice Services a user group with special privileges is defined in the exchange. Users can call each other using abbreviated numbers and group numbers can be defined. Both fixed and mobile solutions are possible.

Some examples of Hosted Voice services are:

  • Group number (Hunt Group)
  • Speed-dialing
  • Receptionist circuit
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • Call Center
  • Teleconferencing

Hosted Voice gives the customer control over his connections. The advantage is that the customer doesn’t need to purchase or maintain a PBX. The downside is that for internal telephony the company is dependent on the service provider.

A practical service is based on a telephone link to the Microsoft Outlook application. This makes it possible to call from the Outlook address book or from a received email. Also, a phone call can be combined with an online presentation. Conference calls can start from the agenda and everyone is called on time. Combined with working from home, Hosted Voice provides added value.

Hosted Voice and Fixed-Mobile integration
A special form of Hosted Voice is the combination with mobile telephony. This allows people to use the same services as in the office, independent of their location. It does not matter anymore for the employee if he makes or receives calls via his fixed phone or from their mobile phone.

Within various telecom operators, Prodapt Consulting has contributed to the introduction of Hosted Voice services. Functional requirements and detailed designs for Hosted Voice service delivery and provisioning systems (OSS) were created. The designs contain fully automated workflows of application servers, the underlying IMS infrastructure and SBC (Session Border Controllers) configuration. With these projects, Prodapt Consulting has successfully deployed its IT-OSS and network provisioning expertise.

IPTV and Video on Demand

IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television, watching television via a broadband (internet) connection. This TV technology was developed near the end of the 20th century and is used across the globe.

IPTV is often used to offer public television programs. A typical feature of IPTV is the user interaction. Where traditional one-way digital television services are offered to a large audience, IPTV enables new services that are user specific. Examples of user-specific services include Video on Demand, Tele-Voting, Online Gaming and Home Shopping. Access to these services is possible through so-called “Red Button Functions”. Through this type of function, the viewer can select a program, movie or extra service using his remote control. He can also perform functions like order products or vote on a favourite artist.

With the current platforms it is possible to offer special interest channels for specific target groups. It is also possible for a user to compose his personalized program offering and to get advice about upcoming programs based on viewing history and personal preferences. Services already available on the internet like sharing videos and photos become available on TV. Also, video calling, or remote video monitoring of small babies will become possible.

IPTV is suitable for network operators with a broadband IP network such as xDSL or fiberglass, but also mobile data operators are offering IPTV services. IPTV provides digital television over IP, where often MPEG-2, MPEG-4 or VC-1 video encoding is used for broadcasting TV programs. IPTV use by cable operators is limited because in cable generally other technologies such as DVB-C are in use.

To offer IPTV a platform is needed that digitizes the programs (video content) and distributes it to end users. Users can select and view their program of choice via a set-top box, remote control and video screen.

Prodapt Consulting’s experience with converged services

By using digital and IP technologies in the different access networks, the difference between fixed and mobile network connections is getting smaller and the need emerges to provide services on all types of networks (convergence).

This desire to provide combined (converged) services requires new solutions for delivery over different access networks. The available network is therefore no longer the determining factor for the customer experience but rather the services platforms, supporting customer processes and BSS / OSS systems.

In the converged services area, Prodapt Consulting has knowledge and experience in service implementations across all types of networks. In addition, Prodapt Consulting is involved in the design and implementation of the underlying service platforms and BSS/OSS systems. This combination makes Prodapt Consulting a partner that can contribute to network-independent end-to-end solutions for converged services.

Architecture & Design

Telecom and Internet companies are players in a very dynamic market in which a short time-to-market is essential. Designing an architecture that is flexible and focused on short-cycle innovations is a prerequisite. Focus on reuse of components and functionality is an important point of attention within Prodapt Consulting.

Prodapt Consulting is member of the TM Forum. The TM Forum is a global organization that focuses on process and IT standardization. Leading parties such as operators, suppliers and systems integrators are working together within the TM Forum to further develop the standards.

Prodapt Consulting has extensive experience in applying these standards and has the “best practices”.

Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture models can be used to translate the strategy and business vision of an organization into a business process implementation and associated IT application architecture, that fits the requirements, principles and goals of that organization. The challenge in this translation is to make the architecture implementation effective, efficient, agile and sustainable. An enterprise architecture is never ready but evolves with the requirements and vision of an organization.

Various enterprise architectures models have been developed. Most of these models use a layered framework. The following layers can be distinguished:

  • Business architecture:

This defines the business processes and their coherency. Furthermore, the responsibilities and roles are specified (RACI matrix). In addition, the interaction with external supplies and partners is described.
The business processes are directly derived from the strategy and mission of the organization (Some models use an extra layer for strategy).

  • Application architecture:
  • The application architecture specifies on a functional levelthe application architecture and the interaction between the applications. In addition, the internal and external interfaces are functionally described.
  • Information architecture:

The information architecture models the information needs and the associated information data. This information modelling is on metadata level, in which all information objects and the most important information object attributes are incorporated. (Data models are actual implementations of the information model and are detailed a few levels deeper).

  • Technology architecture:

The technology architecture defines the implementation principles of the infrastructure that is required to support the business processes and telecommunication services that are offered. This contains the hardware, the network infrastructure, the operating systems and the software.

The Prodapt Consulting focus is on the interaction in the triangle business processes – information – applications. An extra added value is our in-depth knowledge and experience of telecommunications and internet.

With Prodapt Solutions (www.prodapt.com) we also leverage deep technology skills on Telecom specific areas.

Reference models

Prodapt Consulting endorses and uses the most important reference models that are common within telecommunications.

Prodapt Consulting is member of the TM Forum and uses the TM Forum Frameworx standards as reference models. The TM Forum Business Process Framework (formerly eTOM) and the Information Framework (formerly SID) are deployed to tackle architectural design challenges. Also, for architecture evaluations, scope definitions, application selections (RFP) and process designs the use of reference models has added value. In addition, the Application Framework (formerly TAM) en the GB942-mapping document that describes the mapping between the frameworks, can have added value.
It should be noted that these models should be used in an appropriate way. The models are only a tool and should not become the goal.

In addition to the TM Forum Frameworx standards, Prodapt Consulting has knowledge and experience with TOGAF, Archimate and ITIL.

Methods & techniques

Telecom and internet companies are struggling with the increasing complexity of the realization of innovation. A quicker time to market is required, while business processes are increasingly dependent on IT systems in the chain. Prodapt Consulting has gathered extensive experience in implementing IT systems in different organizations.

Important areas of expertise in this respect are project management, Agile / Scrum, test management, and quality assurance.

Project Management

Why is it that only 30% of projects succeed in achieving their goals? The success of a project is not only determined by the realization of the predefined project objective within agreed conditions (scope, quality, budget, time). A project also needs to be realized in accordance with the agreed expectations and critical success factors of all stakeholders. In Prodapt Consulting’s view, a balanced mix of specific knowledge, skills and the project manager as a person are key to successful project management.

Project management involves clearly identifying the expectation and success factors of the stakeholders at the very beginning and making sure appropriate measures are taken to resolve conflicts. Especially during project execution, it is important to continuously monitor and identify changes in expectations on a timely basis and act upon such changes in an effective manner.

Our project managers are experienced, versatile professionals. Due to their years of relevant experience in the telecom industry, they can quickly recognize risks and take proper measures. Our project managers make use of recognized project management methodologies like Prince2, PMBoK, and IPMA.

The well-balanced mix of project management skills, subject matter expertise, and soft skills make them successful. These soft skills of our project managers include the creation of support, the motivation, stimulation, facilitation of project team members, and the management of expectations of customers, users and participants. Our project managers maintain regular communication with our customers and aim for close and intensive collaboration and issue resolution.

Agile/Scrum

Next to traditional project management, Prodapt Consulting also has extensive experience in Scrum. Scrum is a project methodology which originates from the Agile approach, which is generally used for product and software development. Through Scrum, it is possible to achieve the highest possible value in the shortest possible time. Scrum is a broad framework that can be applied to any project with aggressive deadlines and complex requirements. The main feature of Scrum is the development of a series of short iterations called “sprints”, with a duration of 4 weeks or less. In addition, the Scrum project team is self-organized, and assembled with the notion in mind that the required expertise to achieve the goal is present within the team. The team has the authority and responsibility, of course directly related to the business priorities.

Prodapt Consulting has several certified Scrum employees who can fulfil the SCRUM roles within projects such as the Scrum Master and Product Owner. Our staff have been involved in implementations of Scrum or transitions to Scrum and have led many sprints.

Test management

Poorly functioning IT systems have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and performance of suppliers and employees. It is the mission of Prodapt Consulting to make IT projects in the telecom and internet industry shorter, better, and more predictable. Test management is one of the areas in which we differentiate ourselves. Prodapt Consulting has developed high-quality test services during our experience of more than 20 years in the telecom and internet industry. Prodapt Consulting performs various high-end roles in several telecom and internet companies and has experience with test processes for these clients. Our test professionals have a telecom or internet background and are trained further through the Prodapt Consulting Academy.

Prodapt Consulting follows the business-driven test management approach: informed choices are made based on risks, result, time and cost. The Prodapt Consulting test approach is based on the V-model and the pillars of TMap (Staging, Organization, Infrastructure and Techniques):

Prodapt Consulting delivers the three basic test services:

  • Test Consultancy: Support for test process improvement
  • Test Resourcing: Test execution capacity at various levels
  • Test Products: Ownership for demarcated (sub)test products

Prodapt Consulting can also provide specific support to telecom and internet companies in the areas of: establishment of test processes, test governance, release and delivery management, test environments, and test automation.

Quality Assurance in projects

It often happens that an organization experiences major problem during or worse, after, the realization of projects and introduction of new applications. The consequence is the loss of expected benefits. Analysis of “failed projects” teaches us that many projects are doomed to fail in advance if:

  • Acceptance criteria for the product to be delivered and intermediate results are not explicitly named (demand and supply model)
  • Quality assurance with respect to both the product to be delivered and the process-to-be are not created in the beginning (the project preparation)
  • Quality of the project manager and key project staff assigned to the project is insufficient

Monitoring and focus on quality are an essential contribution to the project outcome. Prodapt Consulting believes that quality control should be independent of the project organization and project manager. This implies that:

  • An independent party should fulfil this role
  • This party is impartial, and is an object matter expert
  • The quality manager has his own direct reporting line to the client

Quality Management is all about the quality of the process on the one hand (i.e. the path along which the results are to be achieved), and on the other the product (i.e. the results that must be achieved).

In the field of quality management Prodapt Consulting has experience with de facto standards, such as Extended ISO 9126, COBIT, and ITIL. Prodapt Consulting also has knowledge of applying telecom standards such as eTOM, ITU, IEEE, IETF.

In addition to adhering to these standards, a continuous exchange of experience and knowledge takes place within Prodapt Consulting. This means that the knowledge base of quality management is continuously supplemented with the experience of our consultants. The result is a proprietary methodology of quality management which is based on practical experiences in quality assurance.

+ TELECOM

Telecommunications market

The world of telecommunications and internet is transforming rapidly with the convergence of fixed and mobile networks and the execution of all sorts of IP strategies. Service offerings of fixed, mobile, and cable operators are also converging, in the Consumer market mainly on sales, selfcare and invoice integration – in the business market fully converged bundling.

Fixed infrastructure

The market for fixed infrastructure is characterized by consolidation on the one hand and the application of new technologies, which offer new opportunities, on the other. There is a visible increase of service providers who do not own networks and purchase wholesale services for example in the case of IPTV services, but also Over-The-Top services using the Public Internet connection driving bandwidth needs.

Consolidation takes place in the existing copper network infrastructure. At the same time, the potential of this network is expanded with new technologies such as various DSL/HFC versions. More and more municipalities desire access to fibre glass networks for their inhabitants and are actively stimulating the fibre roll out as well. In short: broadband is a hot topic.

Mobile

The mobile industry is facing many complex challenges. With a converged Data network, yet still providing traditional voice services alongside. Also, the push for bandwidth and quick need for the support of a new Mobile standard 5G is pushing investments from the Operator side – while consumer pricing has lowered rapidly.

The value chains are consequently changing into value networks where new players (specifically application and content providers) fulfil important roles. Business processes and IT systems must support the required businesses and network integrations.

Fierce Competition

A fierce competitive battle is taking place between telecom operators and cable companies. This drives mergers & acquisitions on both the Fixed as well as Mobile market.

Telecom for business

Business customers expect a different level of service quality in comparison with consumer customers. As an operator you must ensure a coherent and consistent level of customer service and experience. Although this sounds simple, it has proven to be a challenging task for many of the service providers.

In our view a customer-focused service provider has the following qualities:

  • The customer can be uniquely identified in the administration
  • The service provider knows the customer and the products well
  • The service provider has insight in the customer communications and the contexts
  • An appropriate proposal is generated based on the customer requirements and the services already being used by the customer

New needs, such as more flexibility in the Customer lifecycle (cross/- upselling and configuration settings) as well as the customer demanding more insights in his service statistics and quality also drive operators to invest in their IT and Network, with near-real-time solutions that are more data driven than before.

“Anything Over IP and IP Over Anything”

With the evolution of broadband comes the convergence to IP. The new motto will be “anything over IP and IP over anything.” Think of VoIP, IP Centrex, IP Trunking and IP interconnect services. All of them use the internet protocol. Voice over IP is now a reliable alternative to traditional telephony services and becomes more and more available for business customers. While VoIP services have become universally available, operators also developed value-added services such as hosted exchange, remote backup, PIN and alarm over IP and other similar SaaS products. In the near future location-based and presence services will be available for the business market. An important element here is the extent to which QoS can be guaranteed for connectivity, applications and services (for instance, through IMS).

Over-the-top internet players are the new competitors

New communication players, such as Skype, Google, and WhatsApp, compete with operators for their basic services: voice, video, and messaging. Little or no distinction is being made between fixed and mobile networks. The means of access to the internet is independent of the application using it. This represents the biggest strategic threat to operators, who run the risk of becoming the providers of “bit pipes” for public internet access.

Prodapt Consulting and Telecom

Prodapt Consulting has a strong foundation in network technologies and the telecom market in The Netherlands and Europe – and with Prodapt Solutions also in the North America. Since our founding in 1987, we have been implementing complex changes and innovations in the telecom and internet industry in collaboration with our customers and business partners. Our expert consultants have developed and integrated business processes with COTS and legacy systems. We all have a passion for new technology and sharp eye for social, economic, and market relevance.

+ BUSINESS PROCESSES

Telecommunications market

Fierce competition, changing service usage, the introduction of new technologies and new regulations are important drivers of change in business processes. These changes also have a process component.

For improving the service offered to the customers, customer relationship management (CRM) processes need to be redefined. For 24/7 customer support and for cost savings, telecom providers put more attention to customer self-support. Self-support allows customers to purchase or change services at any time and resolve certain issues (such as a password reset). It also allows customers to report service incidents and provide online contract and billing information.

Also at the operational level numerous process innovations are introduced. The fulfilment processes within the telecom operators are being harmonized, for maximum process automation. Faster delivery and operational cost reduction are the main drivers behind these innovations.

For improving customer care, telecom operators need to transform from network-oriented to service-oriented operations. Service assurance should be enhanced to identify service impact on network incidents and inform customers directly or indirectly about service impact. Also, outsourcing of IT, network and process management driven by cost reduction paves way for the deployment of new processes. Specific points of attention are the process interfaces between telecom operator and network partner.

Market players from all over the world, united within the Telecom Management Forum (TMF), developed the Business Process Framework (formerly eTOM). This framework serves as the reference for the definition and renewal of the strategic and operational business processes. Besides the Business Process Framework, operators use ITIL for the process improvements focused on service assurance.

Prodapt Consulting supports telecom providers with their process innovations with the help of these frameworks and our extensive industry experience.

For defining and renewing the business processes, our consultants make use of a proven approach, an approach in which the processes are designed in close alignment with the business objectives and in conjunction with the design of the supporting data model and process automation (IT solution).

Within Business Process Management, we pay structural attention to the following aspects of business processes:

  • Analysis and redesign of business processes together with establishment of Key Performance Indicators
  • Modelling: process decomposition models, swim-lanes, sequence diagrams, state/transition diagrams
  • Methodologies: apply effective process design methodologies e.g. Design For Six Sigma (DFSS) for the introduction of new products /processes, Six Sigma DMAIC for improvement of existing products/processes, and Lean Value Stream Maps
  • Implementation: planning, training of employees, data migration, working stock and work in hand, aftercare, and handover to line organization
  • Monitoring and management: immediate measurement of KPIs and structured reporting during implementation
  • Automated support or implementation by means of modelling and simulation tools, workflow engines, and process reporting tools
+ IT

Trends in BSS & OSS

There is a large diversity in the IT application architectures of telecommunications and internet providers. However, the following common trends and issues can be distinguished:

  • IT applications require increasing agility to anticipate on changes in the market. Front-end systems should allow price changes within a few hours. New propositions should be configured within days. Changes in business processes and business logic should be implemented in a few weeks. Agile development methods like SCRUM can support organizations in filling this need.
  • Traditional telecom services and IT services are more and more converging. Unified communication and collaboration in the cloud services are typical examples.
  • IT application architectures originally designed to support high-volume single product silos (stovepipes) need to be migrated to integrated solutions to offer a large variety of product propositions and product combinations. Bundling of voice, TV/video, and internet services in the consumer market and the convergence of voice and mobile demonstrate this trend.
  • IT application architectures of telecom providers are increasingly integrated with the applications of their customers and partners/suppliers.
  • IT application architectures have expanded during the years and have become too complex. A rationalization or redesign of the IT application landscape is highly desirable. In practice, IT rationalizations are very difficult to execute. The business case for the replacement of IT applications is often difficult to achieve and not implicitly positive.
  • The information models are no longer uniform and up to date because of all kinds of changes that have been implemented over time. Data is often scattered over different databases with possible data inconsistencies. Furthermore, the integration of new applications with legacy applications is complex. The related data migration and the notion that the store must remain open are also complicating factors.
  • Conservation of IT knowledge is under pressure because of increased outsourcing to Managed Service Providers (MSPs).

Prodapt Consulting IT experience

Prodapt Consulting has the required experience and expertise to anticipate these trends and can provide adequate solutions for the mentioned issues. Our consultants are experts in the translation of business requirements into process and IT solutions and their implementation.

Our expertise:

  • IT strategy and business alignment
  • Application and vendor selection
  • IT redesign
  • Functional design
  • Process and IT implementations to support product innovation and process optimization
  • IT integration
  • End-to-end chain-analysis and optimization

Besides our generic process and IT expertise, Prodapt Consulting has the in-depth technical knowhow and experience to support organizations in planning, designing and managing specific application domains.

Business Support Systems / CRM

Business Support Systems (BSS) support the customer relationship management (level 1) process as specified in the Tele Management Forum Business Process Framework (formerly eTOM).

The main goal of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is to optimally support the customer (or potential customer) via all feasible communication channels (call centre, internet, email, direct mail, direct contact, etc.). CRM is an integrated approach in which strategy, process technology and people have an important role. It is not enough to implement a CRM application without supporting and training the people during the change process. It should also be validated whether the existing business processes are still applicable in the new situation where the customer comes first.

Besides strategy and processes, technology is an important part of a CRM implementation path. Areas in which technology can support the CRM vision of an organization include:

  • 360-degree customer view; a consistent and uniform view of the customer, products, tickets and all customer communication in one overview across all channels (call centre, internet, shop etc.)
  • Opening channels and implementation of customer self-service with a transparent customer experience
  • De-duplication of customers / improvement of data quality
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) for call centre support
  • Integration with front-end (portals) and back-end systems
  • Marketing support for campaigns, promotions and events
  • Reports and dashboards to support operational, tactical and strategic decisions

In the telecom sector, besides the traditional CRM aspects mentioned, there are aspects such as order orchestration, product modelling, product mastering, etc. These aspects, together with interfaces to billing and provisioning, form a complex whole, in which knowledge of IT architecture, solutions, market knowledge and experience with CRM systems can be crucial for the success of a project.

Besides generic and also telecom-specific BSS knowledge, Prodapt Consulting has gained much experience in package implementations of Siebel, Amdocs-Clarify, Salesforce, SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Huawei BSS and ecommerce applications like Intershop and Magento.

Billing and Revenue Management

At a high level, the billing process can be divided into “charging” and “bill invoice management.” Charging is the process to assign a value (charge) to every event. To support this process, network elements generate “event detail records” to register the usage of a service.
Charging can be performed online or offline. Online charging is executed in real time and is directly related to the actual use of a service. Through authorization and business policies, it is determined whether a user’s balance contains enough funds (prepaid) to continue the actual use of the service.

Offline charging is executed after the service has been used. Processing is not required in real time and is often related to a subscription.

Bill invoice management is the process of creating an invoice on a regular basis (e.g., monthly) and to send this invoice to the customer. The invoice is a compilation of usage, subscription fees, taxes, discounts, and adjustments.

Revenue (assurance) management is the process of collecting invoices and to trigger the appropriate measures in case payments are overdue.

In the billing and revenue management domain the following trends can be distinguished:

  • There is a shift towards converged billing. Converged billing implies that the billing process for all customers, networks and services is handled by one converged platform. This billing convergence is a logical consequence of the telco’s requirement to offer product bundles in the market.
  • There is an ongoing shift from offline charging to online charging. In the mobile market, insist on obtaining real-time insights on their usage. That demand is strongly encouraged by the growing mobile data usage. More mechanisms are emerging that warn users when limits of their bundle or subscription are reached. For international data usage, European legislations are even enforcing operators to inform their customers when the limit of €50 is reached (Bill Shock Prevention).

To enable online charging, a close integration between network elements and charging applications as a Policy Charging and Rules Function (PCRF) are being established, with an application called Diameter being the standard integration protocol in this domain

  • The introduction of one European payment market: The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) and the related implementation of the new International Bank Account Number (IBAN) was a big challenge for telecom and internet providers. Support for IBAN and SEPA needed to be incorporated in their billing and revenue assurance applications ultimately by February 1, 2014.  Furthermore, SEPA will enable automated collection throughout Europe.

Also, in billing and revenue assurance Prodapt consultants have deep knowledge and expertise. Key billing applications we have experience in:

  • Billing applications like CSG Single View and Oracle BRM
  • Online charging applications like DigitalRoute MediationZone, and NetNumber
  • Revenue assurance applications like McFocus

Operation Support Systems (OSS)

Operations Support Systems mainly support the TM Forum Business Process Framework (level 1) processes: Service Management & Operations and Resource Management & Operations.

The focus of OSS is in fulfilment and assurance. A limited set of OSS functionality is targeting the billing and revenue management vertical. The core of OSS provides the following set of basic functions:

  • Capacity management for the network (resource and network inventory management)
  • Service delivery (order management &amp end-to-end provisioning)
  • Proactive monitoring of the various network layers in relation to incident reports (fault, performance, and service quality management)
  • Collection, distribution, and usage data (mediation)
  • Workforce orchestration for installation and repair activities (workforce management)

It is crucial that OSS is established from generic and reusable building blocks. The building block approach is not limited to service delivery but should also be incorporated for processes as customer self-care and service assurance.

A thoughtful and comprehensive implementation of the product model and the granularity (number of decomposition layers) are essential. The network inventory should represent the layering of the network solution, service, logical connectivity, physical connectivity and equipment, sites, and at last geographical information. Prodapt Consulting is promoting the use of standardized information models like TM Forum Information Framework (formerly SID) to cover OSS architectural matters.

Our consultants have gained knowledge and experience for many years in OSS projects and programs in roles that varied from program manager to business analyst, designer and technical architect. They have experience with a great variety of applications and solutions:

  • BPM(S) and integration solutions like Websphere Fabric, Cordys, WebLogic, Tibco, and Web Methods
  • Network Inventory applications such as Netcracker, Amdocs-Cramer and NetAdmin
  • OSS solutions such as Comptel, TTI Netrac, Comarch, Amdocs, AxiOSS, Oracle OSM, Oracle Communications ASAP (MetaSolv), Huawei OSS, NetNumber, NetCool and ZSmart
  • Service Assurance applications like BMC Remedy ARS
  • Number portability solutions from PortingXs and Logica TPress/MPress
+ NETWORKS

Networks & Service Platforms

There are many ISPs in the market, and they provide services to clients via so-called access networks. Access networks are telecommunication networks which provide connectivity and access to services like telephony, radio, television and internet. Traditionally, these services are offered via copper, and coaxial cabling and are nowadays combined with fibre techniques and wireless networks. Wireless networks have traditionally been used for the reception of radio and television and for business applications such as radio-telephony services for police forces and fire departments. These radio networks have an important attribute in common as services can be delivered independent of the location. Today, wireless networks are not limited to radio, television and business use but are part of everyday life. The operation of appliances, automobiles and internet is also increasingly depending on wireless networks.

Digitalization and Traffic Growth

With the rise of digital technology in the ‘90s, more and more digital services became available with high quality. Examples include high-definition (HD) television, IPTV, and streaming audio and video over broadband internet. With the rise of cloud services in the office and home environment, data usage on access networks has grown steadily.

The figure below shows an overview of this growth in internet traffic on fixed networks.

Consumers and companies have grown accustomed to the continuous availability of broadband services. However, neither traditional copper networks nor wireless networks were originally designed and dimensioned for massive continuous broadband usage. To meet the increasing demand for capacity a technical network evolution is going on in both fixed and wireless networks.

In this evolution digital techniques are used to increase the capacity, and to benefit even further from combining glass and copper technology and by redesigning / segmenting networks. Other initiatives exist to replace the copper networks between service providers and customers with a fiberglass connection, which increases the capacity by many times for both business and residential customers. This way the network is no longer the bottleneck.

For radio and mobile networks, the capacity is increased not only by the use of digital technologies but also by providing more radio capacity (frequency spectrum) to service providers. An example is the introduction of digital LTE networks and the associated LTE frequency spectrum usage auction by a European country. The figure below shows the increase of internet traffic on mobile networks.

Fixed Broadband

The market of fixed infrastructure is on one hand characterized by consolidation of infrastructure and on the other using new technologies offering new opportunities. This implies the consolidation of the current copper network infrastructure, but also expanding the capabilities of this network with new technologies such as the various DSL/HFC versions and development of COAX and FTTH.

Broadband is a hot issue today with bandwidth increases and its reflection in total traffic across the globe. Strong growth in data traffic is better explained by the increased consumption per connection/user, rather than via increase in broadband penetration. In addition, the rollout of mobile broadband also contributes to increased broadband demand in fixed networks.

Business
Fixed networks provide reliable broadband connections in the business market, for mobile installation points and to other wholesale buyers. In the business market, there are developments in the field of Ethernet VPN, added services on VPN (Voice, PIN, Alarm) and hosted voice.

Consumers
Consumers demand more bandwidth and real-time services. As a result, the rollout of fibre has accelerated, and technologies like Docsis3.0 and VDSL make further use of the existing infrastructures of COAX and copper.

Over-the-top providers
The emergence of over-the-top providers like Google, Skype, and Facebook is the main threat for telecom operators and service providers. These OTT providers feed on the services of carriers and threaten them to be reduced as bit-pipes for their customers, who in turn use the public internet for these applications at their fingertips.

Mobile Broadband

Mobile broadband services have been offered by mobile operators for years, for example through 3G/HSPA (High Speed Packet Access) networks. Since 2011, several global operators have rolled out 4G/LTE (Long Time Evolution) networks as well. Following the successful auction of mobile frequencies in December 2012, operators are currently heavily investing in the rollout of the 4G mobile network.

With the arrival of LTE, the mobile broadband service becomes similar to the broadband internet services offered by DSL and cable. A big advantage of mobile broadband is that a fixed connection to a network is not required and therefore broadband internet access is available everywhere.

It is also expected that usage of mobile broadband services will increase due to the upcoming availability of new mobile data equipment. For example, consider the increased functionality on smartphones and tablets and the LTE support of the latest devices. Laptops will, in addition to Wi-Fi, contain an adapter for mobile broadband networks. Also, wireless video surveillance or remote operation of equipment will be used more and more in combination with faster and more reliable mobile connections. Cooperation of operators, ISPs and suppliers are accelerating this development.

The question remains to what extent the users of these devices remain loyal to their existing operator. Smartphones provide better user experience than traditional feature phones, and this takes the user experience USP away from mobile operators.

Because consumers and business users alike are particularly interested in LTE due to its high data rates, an important consideration for them should be how well the network falls back on National LTE Roaming, 3G or Wi-Fi coverage for example.

Mobile-based email, internet and work from home will increase even further in popularity with both business users and consumers. The mobile evolution towards IP-based networks and applications provides new converged services such as complete mobile office environments for computer and telephony. For consumers triple play offers are available in mobile versions in addition to the existing versions via fixed networks.

SIP-ENUM

Prodapt Consulting is active in many areas related to VoIP, hosted voice (IP Centrex) and IP interconnect. There are different standards for VoIP, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

SIP stands for Session Initiation Protocol and provides a VoIP environment for the initializing and ending phone calls. ENUM is short for Electronic Number Mapping System and is originally developed to link numbers of end users to various IP services; it proves to be a very useful protocol for linking interconnecting VoIP networks of carriers.

At this moment SIP and ENUM are both dominant and de facto standards for VoIP. There are good reasons for this:

  • SIP is future proof: in addition to voice, it can also be used as a protocol for video conferencing and instant messaging
  • SIP and ENUM connect to existing Internet protocols
  • ENUM is the standard adopted by 3GPP standardization to facilitate the translation from a phone number into a routable IP address
  • There is a wide range of peripherals available for SIP
  • Both major supplier / vendors of telecom equipment and the open source community provide different ENUM and SIP implementations

Prodapt Consulting has extensive experience in the implementation of SIP and ENUM projects:

  • Consumer and business SIP implementations
  • Peering based on ENUM and SIP-based platforms
  • Number portability and ENUM
  • Connectivity to network management and BSS/OSS systems

For a proof of concept of the peering platform for the members of the Joint Cable Campaign (JCC) – such as UPC, Ziggo, ZeelandNet and CAIW, Prodapt Consulting received a Global Telecoms Business Innovation Award.

Hosted Voice

Hosted Voice, also known as IP Centrex, is a business telephone service where the customer does not have a telephone exchange (PBX) on site but uses an exchange of a telecom operator as a cloud service.

For Hosted Voice Services a user group with special privileges is defined in the exchange. Users can call each other using abbreviated numbers and group numbers can be defined. Both fixed and mobile solutions are possible.

Some examples of Hosted Voice services are:

  • Group number (Hunt Group)
  • Speed-dialing
  • Receptionist circuit
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
  • Call Center
  • Teleconferencing

Hosted Voice gives the customer control over his connections. The advantage is that the customer doesn’t need to purchase or maintain a PBX. The downside is that for internal telephony the company is dependent on the service provider.

A practical service is based on a telephone link to the Microsoft Outlook application. This makes it possible to call from the Outlook address book or from a received email. Also, a phone call can be combined with an online presentation. Conference calls can start from the agenda and everyone is called on time. Combined with working from home, Hosted Voice provides added value.

Hosted Voice and Fixed-Mobile integration
A special form of Hosted Voice is the combination with mobile telephony. This allows people to use the same services as in the office, independent of their location. It does not matter anymore for the employee if he makes or receives calls via his fixed phone or from their mobile phone.

Within various telecom operators, Prodapt Consulting has contributed to the introduction of Hosted Voice services. Functional requirements and detailed designs for Hosted Voice service delivery and provisioning systems (OSS) were created. The designs contain fully automated workflows of application servers, the underlying IMS infrastructure and SBC (Session Border Controllers) configuration. With these projects, Prodapt Consulting has successfully deployed its IT-OSS and network provisioning expertise.

IPTV and Video on Demand

IPTV stands for Internet Protocol Television, watching television via a broadband (internet) connection. This TV technology was developed near the end of the 20th century and is used across the globe.

IPTV is often used to offer public television programs. A typical feature of IPTV is the user interaction. Where traditional one-way digital television services are offered to a large audience, IPTV enables new services that are user specific. Examples of user-specific services include Video on Demand, Tele-Voting, Online Gaming and Home Shopping. Access to these services is possible through so-called “Red Button Functions”. Through this type of function, the viewer can select a program, movie or extra service using his remote control. He can also perform functions like order products or vote on a favourite artist.

With the current platforms it is possible to offer special interest channels for specific target groups. It is also possible for a user to compose his personalized program offering and to get advice about upcoming programs based on viewing history and personal preferences. Services already available on the internet like sharing videos and photos become available on TV. Also, video calling, or remote video monitoring of small babies will become possible.

IPTV is suitable for network operators with a broadband IP network such as xDSL or fiberglass, but also mobile data operators are offering IPTV services. IPTV provides digital television over IP, where often MPEG-2, MPEG-4 or VC-1 video encoding is used for broadcasting TV programs. IPTV use by cable operators is limited because in cable generally other technologies such as DVB-C are in use.

To offer IPTV a platform is needed that digitizes the programs (video content) and distributes it to end users. Users can select and view their program of choice via a set-top box, remote control and video screen.

Prodapt Consulting’s experience with converged services

By using digital and IP technologies in the different access networks, the difference between fixed and mobile network connections is getting smaller and the need emerges to provide services on all types of networks (convergence).

This desire to provide combined (converged) services requires new solutions for delivery over different access networks. The available network is therefore no longer the determining factor for the customer experience but rather the services platforms, supporting customer processes and BSS / OSS systems.

In the converged services area, Prodapt Consulting has knowledge and experience in service implementations across all types of networks. In addition, Prodapt Consulting is involved in the design and implementation of the underlying service platforms and BSS/OSS systems. This combination makes Prodapt Consulting a partner that can contribute to network-independent end-to-end solutions for converged services.

+ ARCHITECTURE

Architecture & Design

Telecom and Internet companies are players in a very dynamic market in which a short time-to-market is essential. Designing an architecture that is flexible and focused on short-cycle innovations is a prerequisite. Focus on reuse of components and functionality is an important point of attention within Prodapt Consulting.

Prodapt Consulting is member of the TM Forum. The TM Forum is a global organization that focuses on process and IT standardization. Leading parties such as operators, suppliers and systems integrators are working together within the TM Forum to further develop the standards.

Prodapt Consulting has extensive experience in applying these standards and has the “best practices”.

Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture models can be used to translate the strategy and business vision of an organization into a business process implementation and associated IT application architecture, that fits the requirements, principles and goals of that organization. The challenge in this translation is to make the architecture implementation effective, efficient, agile and sustainable. An enterprise architecture is never ready but evolves with the requirements and vision of an organization.

Various enterprise architectures models have been developed. Most of these models use a layered framework. The following layers can be distinguished:

  • Business architecture:

This defines the business processes and their coherency. Furthermore, the responsibilities and roles are specified (RACI matrix). In addition, the interaction with external supplies and partners is described.
The business processes are directly derived from the strategy and mission of the organization (Some models use an extra layer for strategy).

  • Application architecture:
  • The application architecture specifies on a functional levelthe application architecture and the interaction between the applications. In addition, the internal and external interfaces are functionally described.
  • Information architecture:

The information architecture models the information needs and the associated information data. This information modelling is on metadata level, in which all information objects and the most important information object attributes are incorporated. (Data models are actual implementations of the information model and are detailed a few levels deeper).

  • Technology architecture:

The technology architecture defines the implementation principles of the infrastructure that is required to support the business processes and telecommunication services that are offered. This contains the hardware, the network infrastructure, the operating systems and the software.

The Prodapt Consulting focus is on the interaction in the triangle business processes – information – applications. An extra added value is our in-depth knowledge and experience of telecommunications and internet.

With Prodapt Solutions (www.prodapt.com) we also leverage deep technology skills on Telecom specific areas.

Reference models

Prodapt Consulting endorses and uses the most important reference models that are common within telecommunications.

Prodapt Consulting is member of the TM Forum and uses the TM Forum Frameworx standards as reference models. The TM Forum Business Process Framework (formerly eTOM) and the Information Framework (formerly SID) are deployed to tackle architectural design challenges. Also, for architecture evaluations, scope definitions, application selections (RFP) and process designs the use of reference models has added value. In addition, the Application Framework (formerly TAM) en the GB942-mapping document that describes the mapping between the frameworks, can have added value.
It should be noted that these models should be used in an appropriate way. The models are only a tool and should not become the goal.

In addition to the TM Forum Frameworx standards, Prodapt Consulting has knowledge and experience with TOGAF, Archimate and ITIL.

+ APPROACH

Methods & techniques

Telecom and internet companies are struggling with the increasing complexity of the realization of innovation. A quicker time to market is required, while business processes are increasingly dependent on IT systems in the chain. Prodapt Consulting has gathered extensive experience in implementing IT systems in different organizations.

Important areas of expertise in this respect are project management, Agile / Scrum, test management, and quality assurance.

Project Management

Why is it that only 30% of projects succeed in achieving their goals? The success of a project is not only determined by the realization of the predefined project objective within agreed conditions (scope, quality, budget, time). A project also needs to be realized in accordance with the agreed expectations and critical success factors of all stakeholders. In Prodapt Consulting’s view, a balanced mix of specific knowledge, skills and the project manager as a person are key to successful project management.

Project management involves clearly identifying the expectation and success factors of the stakeholders at the very beginning and making sure appropriate measures are taken to resolve conflicts. Especially during project execution, it is important to continuously monitor and identify changes in expectations on a timely basis and act upon such changes in an effective manner.

Our project managers are experienced, versatile professionals. Due to their years of relevant experience in the telecom industry, they can quickly recognize risks and take proper measures. Our project managers make use of recognized project management methodologies like Prince2, PMBoK, and IPMA.

The well-balanced mix of project management skills, subject matter expertise, and soft skills make them successful. These soft skills of our project managers include the creation of support, the motivation, stimulation, facilitation of project team members, and the management of expectations of customers, users and participants. Our project managers maintain regular communication with our customers and aim for close and intensive collaboration and issue resolution.

Agile/Scrum

Next to traditional project management, Prodapt Consulting also has extensive experience in Scrum. Scrum is a project methodology which originates from the Agile approach, which is generally used for product and software development. Through Scrum, it is possible to achieve the highest possible value in the shortest possible time. Scrum is a broad framework that can be applied to any project with aggressive deadlines and complex requirements. The main feature of Scrum is the development of a series of short iterations called “sprints”, with a duration of 4 weeks or less. In addition, the Scrum project team is self-organized, and assembled with the notion in mind that the required expertise to achieve the goal is present within the team. The team has the authority and responsibility, of course directly related to the business priorities.

Prodapt Consulting has several certified Scrum employees who can fulfil the SCRUM roles within projects such as the Scrum Master and Product Owner. Our staff have been involved in implementations of Scrum or transitions to Scrum and have led many sprints.

Test management

Poorly functioning IT systems have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and performance of suppliers and employees. It is the mission of Prodapt Consulting to make IT projects in the telecom and internet industry shorter, better, and more predictable. Test management is one of the areas in which we differentiate ourselves. Prodapt Consulting has developed high-quality test services during our experience of more than 20 years in the telecom and internet industry. Prodapt Consulting performs various high-end roles in several telecom and internet companies and has experience with test processes for these clients. Our test professionals have a telecom or internet background and are trained further through the Prodapt Consulting Academy.

Prodapt Consulting follows the business-driven test management approach: informed choices are made based on risks, result, time and cost. The Prodapt Consulting test approach is based on the V-model and the pillars of TMap (Staging, Organization, Infrastructure and Techniques):

Prodapt Consulting delivers the three basic test services:

  • Test Consultancy: Support for test process improvement
  • Test Resourcing: Test execution capacity at various levels
  • Test Products: Ownership for demarcated (sub)test products

Prodapt Consulting can also provide specific support to telecom and internet companies in the areas of: establishment of test processes, test governance, release and delivery management, test environments, and test automation.

Quality Assurance in projects

It often happens that an organization experiences major problem during or worse, after, the realization of projects and introduction of new applications. The consequence is the loss of expected benefits. Analysis of “failed projects” teaches us that many projects are doomed to fail in advance if:

  • Acceptance criteria for the product to be delivered and intermediate results are not explicitly named (demand and supply model)
  • Quality assurance with respect to both the product to be delivered and the process-to-be are not created in the beginning (the project preparation)
  • Quality of the project manager and key project staff assigned to the project is insufficient

Monitoring and focus on quality are an essential contribution to the project outcome. Prodapt Consulting believes that quality control should be independent of the project organization and project manager. This implies that:

  • An independent party should fulfil this role
  • This party is impartial, and is an object matter expert
  • The quality manager has his own direct reporting line to the client

Quality Management is all about the quality of the process on the one hand (i.e. the path along which the results are to be achieved), and on the other the product (i.e. the results that must be achieved).

In the field of quality management Prodapt Consulting has experience with de facto standards, such as Extended ISO 9126, COBIT, and ITIL. Prodapt Consulting also has knowledge of applying telecom standards such as eTOM, ITU, IEEE, IETF.

In addition to adhering to these standards, a continuous exchange of experience and knowledge takes place within Prodapt Consulting. This means that the knowledge base of quality management is continuously supplemented with the experience of our consultants. The result is a proprietary methodology of quality management which is based on practical experiences in quality assurance.

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?