Digital Transformation & Maturity

TM Forum’s best of 2017

In case you missed our wrap-up newsletter at the end of last year, here’s another look at our 2017 review by Aaron Boasman-Patel, Vice President, Content, Research & Media, TM Forum.

We can all agree that it’s certainly been an eventful year for telcos, vendors and digital transformation in general. We started 2017 with the understanding that firms needed to undergo a “real and radical change”, moving away from technology transformation and toward transformation of the business.

As the year progressed, we started to see this take shape in the form of using microservices for a more agile service delivery, and with more focus on customers through data and customer journeys, for brand advocacy and future growth.

At TM Forum Live! 2017 in Nice in May, communications professionals from around the world gathered to exchange experiences, ideas and inspiration. Here, we announced that TM Forum’s Deputy CEO, Nik Willetts was appointed CEO, who since taking the reins, has continued to advance the Forum’s ambitious agenda of providing even greater commercial value for our members

We ended the year with a shift away from traditional OSS/BSS architectures, and towards a new architectural vision called the Open Digital Architecture, which will be faster, enabled by data and automation, and is thoroughly ecosystem focused.

Of course this is a drop in the ocean of what we – TM Forum, and indeed we – the telecommunications industry has achieved this year through the incredible collaborative efforts of our members and staff. Please enjoy this wrap-up article for more 2017 run-downs and nostalgia as you gear up for what 2018 will bring:

Keynote Interview: Nik Willetts, CEO TM Forum

Watch Willetts discuss the commoditization of services and reimagining the industry following his keynote speech at TM Forum Live! Asia 2017.

Digital Transformation & Maturity

This was the year we launched our biannual Digital Transformation Tracker to help CSPs and their suppliers track sentiment and real-life progress of digital transformation. We also launched the Digital Maturity Model and CurateFx tool to help accelerate transformation, as well as learning how to ‘think bigger’ and win at being disruptive.

Future OSS/BSS

Though we started off discussing the potentially huge overhauls for OSS/BSS including Moving BSS to the Cloud, the latter part of 2017 saw this come into fruition with the development of an Open Digital Architecture (previously ODES) to tackle the monolithic complications of OSS/BSS.


It was clear that virtualization was a game-changer for firms, helping to make networks more agile and scalable, but it was also becoming way too complex to manage. This complexity was another thing that the new Open Digital Architecture (previously called ODES) could help with. We also witnessed the changing nature of service assurance in virtualized networks in the move towards 5G.

Digital Business and IoE

Monetization was still the main challenge in the burgeoning IoE industry which delegates to our IoE InFocus event in Amsterdam came together to tackle. We found that the billion dollar 5G opportunity could be enabled by platforms combined with IoE (read – 5G: Is platform the killer use case?). Blockchain meanwhile, while very exciting, is still finding its feet, but making interesting progress.

Data Analytics & AI

There is still huge value to be unlocked from big data, but with AI driving the future of communication and technology, businesses are getting smart to the fact that it is data that will enable this. Firms remain wary of GDPR, but we found it isn’t all bad.

Customer Centricity

The customer was King (and Queen) in 2017 as customer-focused strategies opened up new worlds of growth for firms. ‘Omnichannel’ took steps toward ‘omni-digital’ to appease ever demanding consumers, and we learnt more about the effects of customer experience on the bottom line. We even released  three  reports to further examine the customer centric phenomenon.

Open APIs

It seems as if 2017 is when the interest and even need for APIs was truly spurred, with platforms leading the way and with telcos playing catchup. 21 more companies signed our Open API Manifesto, we hosted two open hackathons, increased our suite of Open APIs to 52, and so much more.


    About The Author

    Vice President, Content, Research and Media - TM Forum

    Aaron Boasman-Patel is responsible for content across TM Forum’s research portfolio, the digital content platform, Inform, as well as leading content and research across the events and Digital Leadership Summits portfolio, including TM Forum Live! This is fed back to the Collaboration team to help drive the Forum’s strategic direction and collaborative program. He has chaired many international conferences and delivered presentations on smart cities, customer centricity, Internet of Everything, industry developments, market trends and strategy. Aaron has worked in the telecoms and associated industries for over ten years. He graduated with an M.A. (Oxon) from the University of Oxford. Aaron specializes in digital transformation, customer centricity, analytics and AI, and digital platforms and ecosystems.

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