What’s in a name? TM Forum gets a new one

Written by on June 1, 2015 in BillingViews, Opinion with 2 Comments

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It seems, frankly, impolite to be even slightly negative about an organisation whose hospitality you are about to enjoy. But this negative may turn out to be positive. It is TM Forum week and thousands of people are off to Nice.

Just ahead of the show, new CEO Peter Sany revealed that the name of the Forum is about to change. The ‘F’ will remain Forum. The ‘T’ is transformation and the ‘M’ will either be Management or Monetization. So for the week we will refer to it as the Transformation Mmmm Forum.

It would not be complete heresy to say that questions were being asked about the continuing relevance of the Forum. Why, some asked, is the Forum continuing with its ever more complex frameworks and standards? The Digital Service Providers (DSPs) with whom operators will need to partner to survive are businesses built on simplicity and agility, not greater and greater complexity.

The agenda for the event itself seemed, well, fluffy. No more is there focus on revenue management – a subject close to our heart. Now, the agenda seems more pastel shaded, more about ‘digital life.’ True, there are more catalysts and a big focus on cloudy issues such as SDN and NFV, but where are the ‘nuts and bolts?’ There have been some show desertions too.

And yet, it is apparently the biggest show yet.

Could it be that the cynics – and we put our hand up here – will be proved wrong? That changing the name is genuinely part of changing the attitude and perception from a techy to a ‘twerky’ organisation?

As Sany says in an interview with Telecom TV, “we are working in hacker mode.”

Operators have to completely change. To survive, therefore, and provide leadership in a thoroughly different arena from even a year or so ago, the Forum, too, must change.

The first test that the building blocks are in place will be this week. Views will be aired and tested in the keynotes and the catalysts, the Press Room and the bars.

And the verdict? Time, and a very short amount of time, will tell. Let us hope the tide is turning and the TM Forum – whatever it ends up standing for – can continue to lead what used to be called the telecoms industry in the years of its greatest change.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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  1. Ed Finegold says:

    At the very least I applaud TM Forum for trying to change rather denying that it’s happening. Many leaders in the telco industry have resisted inevitable change. Surely the forum has every incentive to try to remain relevant if not also cutting edge. Still, change is difficult for large organizations as the forum surely learned while changing venues from Nice to Dublin and back again.

  2. James Pullen says:

    Let be *really* honest. TMF’s main contribution has been running one pretty good niche event and a few occasionally OK regional events. They also have what amounts to a reasonably useful set of acronym definitions in their Frameworx output. They haven’t moved the dial on standardization or best practices, despite their best effort. They have not led the way with operational technology or practical best-practices.

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