TM Forum today announced at TM Forum Live! 2016 that nine of the world’s largest service providers – Axiata, Bharti Airtel, BT, China Mobile, China Unicom, NTT-Group, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone – have officially adopted TM Forum’s suite of Open APIs for digital service management. As key visionaries and contributors driving the Forum’s API and platform capability programs, these service providers have committed to adopt TM Forum Open APIs as a foundational component of their IT architectures; to promote global adoption of the API suite by their partners; and to expect technology vendors and systems integrators to support these APIs in their products and cloud-based services.
“One lesson from hyper-scale Internet companies is that APIs and platforms allow the creation of a standards-based ecosystem, whilst enabling innovation in the implementation,” said Dr. Lester Thomas, chief systems architect, Vodafone Group. “A critical advantage of platforms and APIs is that they provide an evolutionary path from the current telco operating model to the future Network-as-a-Service model. The collaborative work that TM Forum and my fellow members have been undertaking is shining a bright light on this important path.”
The new suite of 18 REST-based Open APIs have been collaboratively developed within TM Forum’s agile environment over the past 18 months, and proven through a series of Catalyst proof-of-concept projects. The APIs can be used in a range of scenarios, internally enabling service providers to transform their IT and operational agility and customer-centricity, while externally delivering a practical approach to seamless end-to-end management of complex digital services – including SDN and NFV.
As part of a broader digital transformation agenda, the APIs will enable a wide range of revenue growth opportunities for service providers, global enterprises, and public sector organizations alike, including:
- Dramatically improving business & IT agility: Common APIs allow digital service providers to establish a set of internal platform capabilities to radically reduce time-to-market for new services.
- Reducing the cost and complexity of service provider operations: Standardization reduces cost and simplifies operations across geographic regions, and on a global basis for deployment of new group-wide digital service offerings.
- Enabling a global wholesale connectivity ecosystem: By implementing Open APIs, operators can radically improve their provisioning time, flexibility and scalability of wholesale services.
- Reducing integration cost, risk and time for the entire supply chain: TM Forum Open APIs in combination with established Frameworx standards provide a pragmatic way to dramatically cut the time and risk associated with business transformation projects.
- Opening a global platform for CSP-based innovation: By exposing a set of CSP capabilities through common APIs, the broader global developer market becomes an opportunity for CSPs.
An essential building block
“TM Forum is bringing different stakeholders from across industries to work together and build key partnerships to create the APIs and connections,” continues Laurent Leboucher, vice president of APIs & ecosystems, Orange. “The reference architecture and APIs we are co-creating are critical enablers of our API program and open innovation approach for building innovative new digital services in a number of key areas, including IoT applications, smart cities, mobile banking and more.”
TM Forum’s Open APIs are also a critical component of the Forum’s new platform capability work, which is defining a common reference architecture and language whereby platform capabilities are exposed as services which can be orchestrated, re-used and reconfigured through policies on demand to support flexible business processes. This approach contrasts with traditional, static and expensive architectural approaches where multiple applications are custom integrated to enable end-to-end business processes.
“Flexible, standard APIs are an essential building block for our open integration platform. Telefónica has worked closely with other members to create TM Forum’s suite of Open APIs which enable fast onboarding of partners, deployment of new business models and a set of open services for developers to build innovative digital services.” said Chris Boyd, director of digital architecture and transformation, Telefónica. “Flexible integration is a key part of our IT strategy and we are already deploying new digital services globally using these standards, thereby reducing costs and time to integrate.”
Underpinning the Operations Center of the Future
Building on the core models and definitions of Frameworx, the Forum’s platform architecture project brings together multiple current work streams into a complete representation of the target architecture for today’s digital business. Such an architecture forms the underpinning of the Operations Center of the Future where automation and zero-touch operations enable complex services to be rapidly created and efficiently operated and managed.
In the case of BT Group, a major contributor to TM Forum’s collaborative work, Open APIs are playing a major role in its transformation. The company was able to reduce 4,500 systems to 26 platforms and 1,800 systems, as well as reduce new service introduction from eight months to mere hours in some cases.
“We are building more APIs that will be available soon and have plans for the future,” said George Glass, chief systems architect, BT Group. “I can tell you that if you use TM Forum APIs, they will work because we are using them ourselves in mass markets for our customers.”
“We have ambitious targets for our Open API program – by 2018, we want more than 200 service providers the world over to be using our APIs, thereby providing richer and more seamless services and experiences to their billions of subscribers worldwide,” said Nik Willetts, deputy CEO, TM Forum. “We further expect service providers to work closely with technology vendors and systems integrators to ensure that our APIs are fully supported in off-the-shelf software and cloud products, thereby easing procurement and deployment of these products. Strong member collaboration has driven this critical work, and our profound thanks go out to the individuals and companies who have contributed.”
For more information and to collaborate in TM Forum’s Open API program, visit www.tmforum.org/open-apis.
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