Laurent Leboucher is VP, APIs and Digital Ecosystem, Orange, a founding member of the TM Forum Open API program, along with BT and Vodafone. He recently talked to us about the origins and outcomes of this work.
“APIs at Orange is a long story – we started a long time ago with our own internal standards. We saw it was very important to help our countries transform their IT into much more modular systems using what we called SOA [service-oriented architecture]. Then we found it was a very good idea to share that with the whole industry in a community that included vendors and operators – our competitors. We wanted to share the meaning and the very definition of APIs and that is where we are today.
“We have had a lot of success internally because we leverage TM Forum’s open APIs. A typical set of applications for the APIs is when we develop global services for different countries in our group and when we have to interface those services for a particular region to the IT systems. The IT systems are very often local and they have to adapt and be integrated with the global services. When we do that we want to reduce the integration effort and the time to market.”
On partners, he said, “If you take the vendors who bring the foundations of our IT systems, we try to work with them now; we ask for compliant solutions. It’s the beginning of the journey. We recognize their solutions are not yet completely compliant, but we are trying to be much more clear in our RFPs. We have explicit explanations in them which ask for mandatory APIs and say which APIs are important on the billing system, the ordering system, the catalog system and so on.
“Of course we are also working with excellent partners who are using our own APIs and we have a portal at Orange for external developers to use and leverage some of our APIs. Some are provided by TM Forum, but we have others too which bridge other standards.”
Watch the full interview here: