OSS, BSS or Digital ICE?

Written by on May 20, 2015 in Guest Blog with 1 Comment

Three ice cubes on white background. Clipping pats.

There’s been a fair bit of discussion recently about the validity of using telecoms terminology like OSS (operational support systems) and BSS (business support systems). As networks and IT converge and the differentiation of OSS and BSS is becoming hazier than ever this is a vaild point. So if OSS and BSS need to be refreshed then what should the alternative be? At the recent ETIS revenue management event the term DSS, as in digital support systems, was mooted (albeit in the hotel bar). Digital is one of those magic words that instantly makes old systems new and shiny. Throw in a couple of descriptive terms like ‘web scale’ and ‘next generation’ and hey presto that’s the marketing done for the next two years. Digital is not new. In mobile comms digital has been around since 1991 when GSM was commercially launched. In fixed line telecoms, anyone remember DECT – guess what the D stood for?

Looking to the experts I then went to check out how the analysts describe our world of OSS and BSS. Heavy Reading call it SPIT (service provider IT), Stratecast go for O&M (Operations and Monetization), Gartner group is into ICRM (Integrated Customer and Revenue Management). Elsewhere in analyst-land, Analysys Mason use the term Revenue Management and Current Analysis are being traditional and still talk about OSS and BSS.

Other up and coming terms to describe our sector include ICE – Information, Communications and Entertainment technology and TOMS, which stands for telecom operations management system. This is not to be confused with TOM – telecoms operating map, or its younger sibling eTOM, which as anyone over the age of 29 will tell you the use of a lower case e made it cool and could apply to those new internet based business models. In fact in the late 1990s ‘e’ was the ‘digital’ of its day.

So we’re left with a myriad of names and acronyms to describe OSS and BSS. I think I’ll go for Digital ICE. So next time when someone asks me what I do for a living, I can tell them I work in Digital ICE, which will make them think I make toothpaste or cold energy drinks.

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About the Author

About the Author: With 25 years’ experience in mobile communications software, Martin has worked in mobile billing software since the early days of the industry. As such he’s been around long enough to have had numerous articles published. He has spoken at many conferences. He’s served on the boards of software companies and trade associations. At Openet Martin is responsible for marketing thought leadership and demand creation. .


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  1. Sergio da Silva says:

    Digital ICE or DICE! The industry is rolling the DICE with regards to the repositioning of its core activities. I do like the term DSS more since it allows to bridge the gap between two silos and lays the focus on the digital customer experience.

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