The secret ingredient of a true transformation

The Role of Integration during a transformation project

Call To Food — Sep 2016 by CELFOCUS

The desire to make a difference in the telecommunications industry is a widely known struggle. However, the ability to do so many times depends on a few secret ingredients.

In permanent efforts to meet customers’ expectations, operators continuously approach the market with competitive new offers. These numerous attempts allows them to keep competitive player status in the aggressive telecommunications market.

However, many of these operators soon realize their Order Management solution will not support these changes, and many times deliberation on a transformation programme arises.

The solutions in place are many times bespoke solutions based on integration services, proven to be essentially an Asynchronous requests processing engine lacking fundamental order management features, like parallel requests or dependencies between multiple orders, and providing a limited set of configuration used to decide which backend systems should be called and the sequence of those actions.

A suitable Order Management solution, will need to allow customers to enjoy a more personalized portfolio, (e.g. share add-ons with other customers), which will ultimately translate into improved time to market, new revenue and a more desirable usage and contracting experience, as well as the ability for customers.

Having analysed and considered the market’s current solutions for Order Management, Celfocus’ solution is many times single-out.

The Challenge

Based on the experience of previous projects and the vast knowledge in Order Management, Celfocus always starts by identifying the customer’s biggest challenges:

  • High number of customers and transactions
  • One request from Order capture systems can execute changes to multiple mobile numbers and each number is treated separately on the Backends
  • Multiple systems can create orders for the same client at the same time, raising the need to sequence those orders requests to not overlap changes
  • Extensive product offer

How we do it

Celfocus’ vision of an adequate IT architecture for Order Management is based on a clear separation of each system’s roles and responsibilities.

Therefore, the Order Management process, as seen below, can be logically divided into three different components:

The Solution

The architecture solution used is based on CELFOCUS Order Management’s guidelines, and our past experience in 25+ clients around the globe. Combining Oracle’s Order and Service Management (OSM) and Celfocus’ built cartridge (TELCO Order2Fulfill).

Having the OSM as the central piece of all Order Management solutions, we’ve created the TELCO Order2Fulfill (TO2F) framework to be the link between OSM and all systems with which it interacts.

Thus, enhancing the OSM in the following functionalities:

  • Order Validation
  • Order Execution Visibility
  • On-the-fly configurable features:
    • Auto Complete
    • Auto Failed
    • Point Of No Return
  • Order Splitting
  • Order Sequencing
  • Fulfilment Services

Order Validation

In this component, the framework allows the Order Capture system to validate the order before submitting it to provisioning.

This is done by decomposing the Qualification Order in OSM, in order to calculate the validation scenarios. TO2F then gathers the generated scenarios and returns them to the source system. Thus, allowing the Order Capture System to run Extra validations and avoid Business errors.

This component also allows the Order Capture system to follow the execution of the Provisioning Order, permitting order status and information on each request made.

Order Decomposition and Orchestration

After analysing clients’ extensive product offer, we understand that there are multiple relations between the different products, which need to be respected in order to reach a correct provisioning. Identifying these challenges, means a scenario based Order Decomposition and Orchestration solution is the way to go. This solution allows us to determine which operations should be executed in each Backend, reducing the number of calls to each Backend system, and the Order Processing layer could then handle the relationship between the different product types.

Following Oracle’s guidelines, decomposition has been divided into 3 groups:

  • Operations: where we can find all the actions that can be executed
  • Scenario: where we associate all possible operations for a specific scenario
  • Granularity: where we can find the sub-scenarios of already identified scenarios

A scenario based solution also allows us to define a generic BPM to be executed by all Operations. This allowed to add some functionalities:

  • Point Of No Return: identifies the point from which the order ceases to be cancelled
  • Force Complete: sets the Operation to forcibly complete. This may be useful when a Backend system is down but the order needs to continue
  • Force Fail: sets the Operation to forcibly fail. Useful for testing teams, when they want to stop the order at some point

However, this solution isn’t always enough to solve the challenges projects bring along.

One of the biggest challenges continues to be the fact that one order requires changes to multiplemobile numbers. Considering each mobile number is treated seperatly in the Backends, we added a new piece to our framework to allow it, the TO2F Splitter.

The Splitter is responsible for transforming those big orders into smaller ones and manage all the order states as one. By determing the order scenario and running the corresponding transformation, the original order is split into smaller ones. They are then sent to OSM and processed in parallel. This way we reduced the associated decomposition time and had the possibility to activate/change mobile numbers independently.

Another challenge is always guaranteeing that orders are processed in the expected sequence, even when they are created from different systems.

OSM is capable of managing all dependencies between the operations inside each order (intra-order dependencies) and between different orders (inter-order dependencies).

To guarantee the correct order execution of operations within the same order, Celfocus’ team configures OSM intra-dependencies.

For inter-order dependencies, clients many times request the ability to perform dependencies based on configurable keys. In order to do so, another piece is added to the TO2F framework to help OSM accomplish it, the TO2F Sequencer.

TO2F Sequencer calculates the inter-order dependency using extracted information from the order and the target Backend. This information is given to OSM before sending the request to the Order Fulfilment Process Processing. For example, if the OSM starts to execute a change tariff operation on the Billing system, it asks the Sequencer if there is any operation running for the same mobile number and backend. Once the running operation is completed, the Sequencer informs the OSM that the change tariff operation can begin.

Order Fulfilment Process

The Order Fulfilment Process is responsible for converting the request done by OSM considering what the SOA Service is expecting, given by EAI framework. Based on the calculated Operation and Scenario by OSM, the corresponding Fulfilment Process is called and with the Scenario and order information, the necessary SOA input is filled.

This component also adds 2 important functionalities to the TO2F Framework:

  • Global data: permits information sharing between Operations. Useful when we need to extract information from the response of one Backend to the input of another. For example, when we need to send information from the Billing system to the Network
  • Pipeline: possibility to store Backend responses to reprocess. Useful when there is an error in a post-response operation and we want to reprocess the OSM Operation without affecting Backend.

This solution has proven to fulfil many client’s requests and challenges, and significantly improved time to market. Celfocus’ secret ingredients allows clients to fulfil and anticipate customer needs and increment its presence in the Telecommunications market.